Siena from Street Level


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Siena feels like a very secure place for children to be. Most of the time there are lots of people on foot. Even when there are not, there are likely to be eyes on the street.

Siena is a clean city, kept that way by modern compact street sweepers like this.

The pedestrian ways can be kept clean efficiently, because the roadways are the pedestrian ways.

Looking at an aerial map of the city, it may appear that blocks are narrow, but very long. Not so. The many narrow passageways cut through buildings, giving pedestrians lots of different route choices.

This one carries quite a stream of vehicle traffic.

This one is too narrow for vehicles, but is a public way, and nice for pedestrians.
Part way through this narrow "street" is the entrance to a hotel (albergo). These kinds of small hotels are retrofitted into existing buildings. They seem to do well, in spite of not being surrounded with parking lots.


There are cars in Siena, although their presence inside the walls appears to be tightly restricted, perhaps to residents and commercial vehicles.

This Mercedes Smart is a popular car there. A large U.S.-size car would be a burden, even if the gas were cheap. So there are very, very few large cars to be seen.

Adaptive Re-use

The Sienese seem not to care about the external appearance of their buildings. Or maybe they just treat them differently than we do, as a tribute to their history. Notice the three revisions of window placement and size. These displays are quite common, some of them obviously intentional.

Centuries-old buildings in these areas are in constant adaptation to new uses. Interiors are often in the process of modernization.

There aren't many private backyards. This one probably is atop interior space of some kind.

Without backyards, there needs to be open space. Siena has many different kinds.

Even within the wall, as in this photo, many of the slopes are covered with small personal gardens.

They are probably all within an easy walk for the resident gardeners.