Siena is a magnificent medieval town, a city within walls that has changed very little since the fifteenth century. When you visit, be sure to wear comfortable shoes, and make sure that your climbing muscles are in good shape. Wherever you go, it seems, you go uphill.

My wife and I rented a private room from Signora Maria Cristina Masignani, who assured us that we'd be getting a "very beautiful room" with "windows looking in the garden." The windows actually looked over the Tuscan countryside. The room, decorated with frescoes as ancient as the city, was priceless.

When you go to Siena - and go you must - be sure to stop by Il Cane e Gatto for dinner. (They're closed on Thursday.) It's run by Paolo and Sonia, and it is one of the finest restaurants in the world. There is no menu. You and the four or five other groups dining there will all be served the same exquisite 5-course meal. At the end of the evening, Paolo will present you with the guest book, where you can enter your comments.


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