So the Fortezza Medicea is towards the north of Siena and was built in the 16th century. After getting back from Firenze on Friday, Juliette and I decided to go for a run and explore the Fortezza a little bit. On top of the Fortezza are walking paths where people exercise or just take in the breathtaking views. After our run, we decided to come back that evening to watch the sunset. Sunday I went to the birthday party of my host family’s nephew. The party was "Carnivale" themed and all the kids were dressed up. Ludivica was dressed as Elsa and Lucce was a strawberry. On Monday, we saw the Bottini di Siena. Because there is no river in Siena the Bottini was built as an aqueduct system under the city to transport water to Siena. Getting to the Bottini was the strangest experience. While the buildings in the center of Siena look old on the outside for the most part they have relatively modern looking interiors. We met our guide outside the public library, he ushered us in, and it’s just a normal looking library until we get to these old metal gates and inside is the passage to the Bottini. The tunnels we were in had very low ceilings and you had to watch your step so you didn’t accidentally step in the water. The only light there was came from the flashlights we were all carrying. With the dark, small passageways the Bottini is not a place to visit if you are even slightly claustrophobic. Wednesday we took a quick trip to the market which is set up around the Fortezza every Wednesday. I can’t wait to go back! Anything you would want to buy was there, from purses, leather boots and clothing, to home goods, books, fresh fruits and veggies. After we watched a documentary on the Palio and visited the museum of the Contrada dell’Istrice. Every Contrada has its own museum where they show the banners from the Palios which they won as well as other artifacts from their Contrada. There were Palio banners dating back to the 18th and pottery and art dating back to the 1600s. Today we finished off our orientation with wine tasting in the Tuscan countryside.
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<p>Jessica Heymach is a junior at Lehigh University with a double major in International Relations and Sociology and Anthropology. She cannot be happier to be studying abroad in Siena, Italy this spring. Jessica is from Long Island, New York and loves adventures, whether it is hiking in the Adirondacks or scuba diving in Maui. She has a passion for photography and art. Traveling has always been her dream, and she cannot wait to explore and experience as many cultures as possible.</p>