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My roommate and I decided to take a day trip to Siena. I had read that there was a church that housed the relics of St. Catherine, namely her head and a finger, and for some sick reason I felt like checking it out. Besides, Siena is also known for its pastries and sweets, the duomo and the piazza where a biannual horse race is run. It ended up being a tasty. Albeit short, little trip. We ended up trying a Bacio di Siena, which is a chocolate-shelled, cream-and-fruit-and-nut-filled cool treat.
We saw the piazza where they ran the race, the tall tower where the town hall once was, as well as the duomo. Built around the same time as the Orvietan duomo, the duomo of Siena has stripes and decoration similar to ours. But when I think of the duomo of Orvieto, it is “my” duomo, “our” duomo, the duomo I walk past every single day, so naturally Meghan and I were a little competitive about the duomo of Siena. “Ours is prettier,” one of us said, the other agreeing vehemently. “This one is nice, but ours is better.” The marble floor, covered 11 months of the year, has depictions of events important for Siena, for Italy, for Western Civilization, but I couldn’t’ tell you what they were. My favorite thing about the duomo was the ceiling. There are few ceilings of note from my life: the Sistine Chapel, the ceiling of Assisi, and the ceiling in Siena. The blue background and golden stars studded the dome, but weren’t muddled by competing images of angels or creation of man or whatever. Just the stars.
Shopping. Then we ate a cheese plate with bread and wine, also tasty. The church of S. Domenico, where St. Catherine’s relics are, was totally anticlimactic. If someone’s head is supposedly a relic, I want it there in all its grotesque glory, but alas, her finger looked like the ones we use at Halloween and the head was either nowhere to be found or supposedly a wax one…

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