Monday, March 01, 2004

Social Life in Siena (by Sarah)

SIENA (#30)

So, everyone knows about school, and all the cool historic places that we have visited around Siena, but what do I do for fun around here? Read about my friends and late night adventures!

Il "Corso" by night
Saturdays are the big days to go out. The main thing to do on these nights is to walk on the main street – the corso. Since everyone is there, you can meet up with people and then go get dinner.

The first time I went out with my friends was after my first day of school on the 16th a Monday. I didn’t really know anyone yet, but they asked me if I wanted to come out with them. Why not!?! Roberta called me and told me the details. We were going to meet at Piazza della Posta. There were only a few kids there because it was a school night. I could tell the corso was not that busy. I was planning to go home for dinner because dad was cooking. That actually was okay anyways because they had to wait until 9 to eat because they had to wait for some classmates who were playing in a basketball game. The guys that were in our group were very funny. We walked up and down the corso for a while, talking about where to go. I talked to a lot of them about the town and school. Of the kids I was with, practically none of them lived inside the city walls. They were all very impressed when they found out I was living in an apartment in the Duomo! We talked about school, and people and just about everything.

In Siena, there is a big horse race in July and August and each horse represents one neighborhood, or contrada. The Palio is a very big deal.

My friends wanted to know which contrada I was in, so I said Bruco, because that’s what my dad is in. Roberta wants the Torre to win this year, so that was good because Bruco and Torre are allied. Simone is from the Giraffa contrada. He said that Bruco and Giraffa used to be enemies, but now they are okay with each other, so it would be okay to be my friend. Hahaha.

That night, we also went to Nannini! Nannini is Siena’s most famous bar. It is so fancy inside, and just walking into the store gives me a warm feeling. We got drinks and ate the free finger foods that were provided at one end of the counter! I noticed that my friends politely polished off the plates of food. Heh heh heh.

We then left and wandered around for somewhere for them to eat. All of the good restaurants that they usually go to were closed because it was a Monday night, so they never get any good business. We finally found one, but it was closing at 9:15 so it wouldn’t be enough time for the basketball players. We went all the way back up to around the Duomo. Since they were on their way to dinner, it was a good time for me to leave. I came home, right in time for dinner with the family!

This past Saturday, I went out with some of the girls in my class. The plan was for me to meet Roberta at the Libreria on Porta Camollia, and then we would meet everyone else to see a movie. My dad and I got there right on time, and it started snowing like crazy! Being in a snowstorm with an umbrella is quite an experience – everyone should try it sometime. That night happened to be the same night of a big soccer game between Siena and Reggina.

Just a quick explanation that Roberta gave me – there are three leagues in the soccer here – A, B, and C. A is the best, and this is the first year that Siena has ever been in the A league. You think the Palio party would be humongous, but when Siena made the A league, the party was like 10 times bigger than any Palio celebration. Even people that didn’t like soccer came out to join in. Unfortunately, Siena is not doing too well and needs to start winning, so this was an important game.

Because the soccer stadium is near the center of the city, Roberta was stuck in all the traffic trying to get to me! When she met me, we ran back (through the snowstorm which still going on) and into her car. We rushed to the theater, and the movie was just starting when we got there! We saw “Scary Movie 3”, which is basically a parody of recent movies (“8 Mile”, “The Ring”, and “Signs”). It was really cool, because the first movie that my dad saw with his friends was “High Anxiety”, which was a parody on Hitchcock films. Even though the movie was all dubbed in Italian, I was still able to understand a lot and laugh along with my friends.

After the movie, we walked back into town. We went to a little shop with yummy crepes! I got one filled with nutella and it was so delicious. We then walked on the corso. It was not a regular Saturday night because of the big game, so the street was pretty empty compared to normal. We met a few people from class on the street and stopped to talk with them for a while. We then went into the Piazza della Posta and went to none other than McDonalds. It was too early to really eat, so we just got fries and talked. It was weird being in a McDonalds where everything was priced in euros, and the only language being spoken was Italian. It was someone’s birthday party there, and so it was filled with like a class of kids who were all around ten years old. It’s so great in Siena, because every age group is out on the town. You can look over and see the troublemaking teenagers, and then look to your other side and see old men meeting up with each other having a nice chat.

After McDonald’s, we walked to the soccer stadium. If we stood on the fence we could see a good portion of the field! All the lights were so bright and the grass so green, with players running all over. We couldn’t see the scoreboard or hear the announcer, so we called another classmate who was watching the game at home, and she told us what was going on! At that point, two girls had to leave, so we were down to four. We walked around for a while longer and then gradually it was just Roberta and I. We didn’t really have to be anywhere, so she took me to her favorite Pastelleria! We walked through the corso again and met more people – Roberta knows everyone! We got to her shop, and it was just closing, so they let us in! We got these little pastries which had crème inside them! They were so good I only ate half of mine because I wanted to save the rest for Alex. We walked back to the Piazza Del Campo, and then Roberta got a call form her mom telling her she had to go home. So, I called Alex and he was in a restaurant with his class at the birthday party for Piera.

Here are some other things I might want to write about: tourists differences, how people walk, clothing, things to do. Italians are always so busy!

COMMENTS from the original blog

2004-05-05 11:15:25 Barbara
Re: Social Life in Siena (by Sarah)
Sarah, I loved your account.  We were in Siena in late March and we were so sorry we missed meeting up with your family (I was sending email to the wrong account and just now got onto your web site) and we too experienced snow showers, but that didn't dampen our enthusiasm for Siena.  We had gelati at Nannini's and had a wonderful tour guide named Roberta who was so excited about the Palio.  She said one contrada hasn't one in 42 years and the neighborhood is so ashamed of its record.  I commented to our other American tourists, "Just like the Red Sox."  Roberta heard me and said, "Yes, just like the poor Red Sox."  I had no idea our Boston team was so well known throughout the world. Incidentally, the Red Sox had a great start this season but they just lost four games in Texas and last night's in Cleveland.  Just like that unlucky contrada in Siena.

Incidentally, we stayed two nights at a lovely hotel outside the walls called Villa Patrizia, but it would have been better to be inside the walls, like where you are living.  How fortunate you are.

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