I was thinking about some recent posts regarding Rome day trips and it occurred to me how different our reactions can be to places, which often make no sense. I have been to most places in Italy except the mountains and north of Venice about 10 or more times. Yet how is it that I don't ever care if I go to Florence again (despite initial awe since it was so different from everything in France that I was used to) yet would love to go back to Siena, only a short distance away?
What makes a place special to us? What turns us off? Oddly, after my first three times in Florence, it suddenly felt like a 'dark place' to me. I didn't like Pisa or Pistoia much either, so I might have a slight distaste for Tuscany other than the hilltop towns and Siena and San Gimignano. Maybe too much teaching and reading of Dante. The top photo and second row left are Florence from Piazza Michelangelo across the Arno; the other three are in order Siena, the streets leading up to the church of San Domenico and the city; the Palazzo Pubblico and piazza where the palio is run every summer; and one of the photos from the Piccolomini library inside Siena's magnificent cathedral. (I think I answered my question at least for these two cities: Florence is Renaissance and Siena is medieval.d
Siena, a much more truly medieval and smaller city (that may be key), by contrast continues to attract me and I would always welcome the chance to go back. I could multiply these examples across Europe, but am curious what others think? I truly can't explain it since the things I love -- history, art, gastronomy, wine -- are at least as present in Florence as Siena. My pictures will probably make you want to go there. Odd.