Siena is full of restaurants and most of these are either fully or partially outdoor. This is particularly true of those that ring the Campo. In summer outdoor dining makes perfect sense with umbrellas or awnings giving protection from the sun until the evening when they are removed and dining becomes truly al fresco.
We had often wondered how the same restaurants manage in winter. Many have little or no inside seating. Did they shut completely until the following summer? What was the plan?
Over the last week or two we have discovered the answer. Gradually glass partitions have appeared around outside eating areas. Umbrellas and awnings have been made into canvas roofing and all manner of electric heaters have been attached to walls, under umbrellas and onto awning edges. The heaters all seem to give off a warm red, inviting glow as well as considerable heat.
Does it work?
Last night we ventured into Siena for our last visit before heading south. It was about 14 or 15 degrees by the time we arrived. We had booked dinner at L’Osteria del Bigelli and had drinks prior to that at Al Mangia Bar. At both places we were toasty warm and even had to remove layers as the temperature rose. L’Osteria del Bigelli added one more nice touch with each seat having a throw rug over it for cold knees – if required.
Dinner was, as always, great. As we both had lamb chops it is clear what we are missing most from home, once again washed down by their excellent house wine.
I guess it should come as no surprise that after many years the restauranteurs of Siena have worked out how to keep business rolling in, whatever the season.
It was late when we bid farewell to the Campo and wandered back to the carpark though the old streets which, even then, were full of locals going about their lives.
For us it was time to move on. Ciao Siena – until next time.