Nothing is more mind-opening than travel, or is it ‘eye-opening’? I find both phrases irrefutably fitting. There is something so absolutely magical about visiting a place your eyes have only glanced at in photos. That you have imagined spinning around in blissful circles within. I read an article once about, how, in this modern world, so obsessed with aesthetics, that we expect so much more of places we have never been, due to cinematography and retouched images plastered everywhere. That the real thing, real place, will never surpass the expectations we have in our minds and that because of this we will always be disappointed. This saddened me. And upon my travels I simply assumed this was true, due to this article written so convincingly, yet still I wondered…
Perhaps it was a matter of how I assumed this to be true that my eyes were glued open at every corner in utter admiration and that I was pretty sure my heart was singing at the views. More likely, this was definitely not true. Tuscany is a dream. ☁
My whole schooling life was spent at a school named after this town, Siena. From a six year old first grader through to a graduating senior at the end of last year. I’d always heard stories about the traditions and histories of this town in the north of Italy, a place I knew I would visit when I grew up, or sooner.
There was something so fulfilling about actually seeing that it was all real. My mind had always captured it all as a place within the screen, within the books and handouts, somewhere far away and unattainable. I never quite saw it as real. It was so different and so fascinating to learn about, that I don’t think my mind ever grasped how somewhere in the world all these so very different, enchanting traditions and beautiful buildings do truly exist.
Whilst I was in this captivating city I was so lucky to witness such traditions as the Palio, such an interesting and culturally rich tradition so unlike anything else in the world. It was so interesting to see everyone become so excited and enthusiastic about their districts racing one another, seeing all the outfits and asking my host family about it even more. Being with such a lovely host family was one of the things that made my experience so memorable. Italians in this city are so overly kind and welcoming despite the language gap.
St Catherine of Siena’s story has always had some kind of role in my life. I was always inspired by her story and loved the way she went about all the things that she did. She was courageous and as silly as this may be I remember sitting in my primary school classroom with my legs cross on the carpeted floor hearing her story for the first time with my mouth (again) open in awe. I found her story so cool and have always held a small piece of her in my heart. Visiting the places that she lived, walked, prayed and made a difference within, felt so important and amazing for me. Simply seeing the world in which she lived and being exactly where she was when such magical things happened was truly mesmerising and humbling. I recommend reading about her even if you aren’t a religious person, there is an incredible story there.
Thanks for scrolling through, I hope that these photographs I captured make you almost as happy as they make me, as I reminisce over this towns beauty almost a year later! Which is absolutely crazy as I was there for last years winter. I have over 10,000 photo’s from that trip so expect more blog posts from places like florence, pisa, venice, cesena, milan and rome to come.