Siena Favorite Tips by Trekki Top 5 Page for this destination
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Siena's tourist office: Terre di Siena
Favorite thing: Siena’s tourist office has an excellent location directly at the Campo (approx. in the middle of the half round opposite of Palazzo Communale). And they have an excellent selection of free information brochures about the city and its surroundings. Especially the brochures are a piece of art itself with marvellous photos and excellent text. I especially liked the ones Val d’Orcia, Le Crete and Terre di Siena – holiday with the bike. These are available in Italian, English, German and French.
Most of the information is also provided on their (excellent) website. From what I could see they also have more brochures than the ones I picked, available as a “flash flip-through” version. In addition, the website has short atmospheric videos about each region (each approx. 2-3 minutes) and much more specific details. A really good and well-thought-out site!
Piazza Campo 56, Phone: +39 – 0577 – 280551
Opening hours, winter: 8:30 – 13:00, 15:00 – 19:00
Opening hours, summer: 8:30 – 19:30
Terre di Siena
© Ingrid D., November 2010.
Dante Alighieri School, Siena
Favorite thing: Where I live we have the change to take 5 days “educational leave” per year (employee pays lessons, company provides free days), 10 days can be accumulated. I didn’t take advantage of this for a long time and this year (2010) I thought that it is time to polish up my Italian. However, my country being bureaucratic to the bone, we can only book lessons with a specific, listed reference number. This ruled out my teacher Edvige Galasso in Gubbio and Perugia’s school which don’t have applied for such a number. And I didn’t want to go to Tropea, Milano, Roma or Firenze where schools and teachers had this number. But with Siena’s Dante Alighieri School I finally found both: number and location. When I contacted the school to book my lesson (2 weeks, private individualised teaching), they sent me a 3 pages need analysis. I asked for private teaching, and that I need to talk, talk, talk, to make sure my daily conversation skills would be improved. When I arrived for my lesson, I was thrilled how perfect my needs were met. I had three teachers (Francesca, Letizia and Claudio), each for a specific part of the day. Each of them was different with different interests and teaching methods and this was really perfect to make sure that I don’t get “used” to one specific style. I had lessons from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with one hour lunch break. When it rained we stayed in the school, when the weather was better we went outside and talked there. At the end, not only my Italian was improved but all three showed me exciting parts of Siena which not everyone would notice without a local explaining and showing them.
The school has everything one needs: space enough for many groups, internet access, a fabulous secretary, a recreation room with a piano and soft drinks and coffee machines. The school is located in an old house in Siena’s south, a nice building itself. On the message board I saw countless evening and weekend events, the teachers offered, such as cooking, wine tasting, hidden Siena, trips to the surroundings, etc.
Thanks Dottoressa Alexandra (the boss of the school) for your brilliant idea with the three teachers, thanks Francesca, Letizia and Claudio for your lessons and our stimulating and inspiring discussions! And thanks Serena for your help with the car!
Oh, and since we also had “internet lessons”, it was easy to convince Letizia to become VT member.
Oh, I should mention that Toscana dialect is a bit difficult in the beginning for those who speak a bit of Italian. The pronounciation of "hard c" is soundless. That makes for example casa sound like "(h)-asa"...
Dante Alighieri School, Siena.
Adress: Via Tommaso Pendola, 37 - 53100 Siena (IT).
Tel: +39 - 0577 - 49533.
© Ingrid D., November 2010.
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