Siena is the perfect Italian city. Bear with me on this. No, it doesn't have Rome's ancient treasures and grand boulevards, Florence's glut of galleries or Venice's maze of waterways. What is does have is an almost eerily well-preserved medieval centre (it blessedly escaped bombing in the second world war) which somehow, despite the number of tourists shuffling around its piazzas, still manages to function as a modern, youthful city but with less of the problems affecting Italy's largest metropolises (crime, traffic, the usual).
Siena is built across three Tuscan hilltops, and surrounded by several miles of ramparts. There's a lot of wandering going on in Siena. Teenagers in box-fresh high tops circling the Piazza del Campo at dusk for la passeggiata, university students lugging bags of books to their favourite coffee shop and rich Tuscans drifting between boutiques.
Once we'd explored the fabulous Duomo, Siena's 13th Century baroque cathedral, which borders on kitsch thanks to its black and white humbug stripes and utterly OTT entrance (you have to see it at dusk when the sunset is reflected in the glass and the gold turns a soft rose colour), we joined the ranks of the wanderers, too. And so passed an indolent few days of espressos and apple cake at pavement cafes, the richest wild boar ragu at Le Logge (formerly a pharmacy), bottles of Chianti and tubs of late-night dark chocolate sorbet. We ate our sorbets huddled on the steep brick slopes of the Pizza del Campo, watching the flirting teenagers, fur-clad dog walkers and boisterous groups of work colleagues at outdoor tables. The coach parties had gone for the day and Siena was fully returned to itself. As I said, perfect.