Yesterday we had our third language lesson in Siena. The day started out sunny but with thunderstorms rumbling around the hills in the distance. By 4pm our lesson had finished and we adjourned to a bar in the Campo for a well earned drink or two. The thunder was closer and the sun had been replaced by clouds although the temperature remained in the low 20s. Clearly the locals expected unsettled weather as the awnings and umbrellas that protect the bars and restaurants around the Campo from the sun had been kept in place.
At 5pm the heavens opened and the rain came down. Big, fat drops and unusually for someone from Wellington who expects rain to fall horizontally, they came straight down.
The crowded Campo emptied immediately as tourists rushed for shelter, some in shops but the majority straight to the nearest bar – all forced to buy drinks they didn’t really want at Campo prices. The Sinese locals produced umbrellas and continued going about their business as if nothing had happened. After 10 minutes the rain eased, the skies lightened and tourists flooded back into the Campo. All about €10 poorer for their drink.
We took this opportunity to make our way back to the Peugeot congratulating ourselves on our timing. Not so fast, about halfway to the car the rain started again and, like everyone else we headed for the nearest shelter. In our case it was a bag shop in one of Siena’s small side streets. But for the period of the rain it sold umbrellas – as did every other shop in Siena. Bins of brightly colored umbrellas had appeared from nowhere and were prominently displayed just inside the shop doors. We took two – €16, Grazie.
However Siena is described it is, above all, a city of merchant traders.
Please note: photographs used have been digitally enhanced to highlight moody weather.