About Stained Glass
Siena wins the prize for stained glass art. While paintings fade and soil over time, the stained glass windows in Siena's duomo could have been new.
An artisan showed us how it was done. It takes considerably longer to master the craft, and many people come here to Siena to learn it.
Siena is made up of 17 highly competitive contrade each represented by an animal, like turtle, etc. Ten of these neighborhoods participate in the Palio, a bareback horserace around the huge town square, Il Campo. The winner brings glory to the contrade winning the race. The horses, not their riders, are walked into the church and blessed just before the race. We were wined and dined by the Forest contrade, represented by the fierce and mighty rhinoceros, an animal which is unlikely to have been seen by many Sienese way back when.
I decided not to buy a copy of the video of the horse race, but there's a bit of it at the beginning of the 007 movie Quantum of Solace, or just go to YouTube. The race itself is pretty crazy, but it's the 50,000 people who packed themselves into the piazza and who see the Palio on par with the World Cup, who truly amazed me.