Better To Be Left in the Dark

Siena is one of those medieval towns

in Italy that makes your heart pitter-patter with the anticipation of new love. I too, fell victim to the romance Siena has to offer…it was easy to walk around with a giant smile on my face as I admired the rustic stone buildings, the gently crumbling window sills and pediments, the worn-down cobblestone paving and the super-hideously-ugly light fixtures.


That’s right, the light fixtures along the main streets in Siena sit like blemishes on the Medieval town’s fair skin.  I quickly snapped a picture of the first fixture I saw, assuming it was some ridiculous art installation that was unique to that specific building, but unfortunately, I was wrong. Soon enough I noticed that every light fixture was the same kind of ugly – the only variations being in colour (which were also jarring and unflattering to the town’s surroundings).

People of Siena: I apologize in advance for exposing your heinous excuses for street lamps to the general public. Surely these embarrassing fixtures will not deter the general tourist pubic from visiting your lovely town. At least, I hope not.

This street lamp looks like a twisted candy cane (that is orange?) that you'd expect to see in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Photo taken in Siena, Italy.

Q: what's worse than one ugly street lamp? A: many ugly streetlamps in varying colours. Photo taken in Siena, Italy.

I have no idea why these lamps are affixed to the beautiful buildings in Siena. I don’t know *too much* about Medieval architecture, but I am pretty sure there weren’t too many octopus-head motifs used…so why are they being used now?

I am assuming the lamps were implemented as some kind of crazy art initiative throughout the town, but to be honest, these appaling excuses for streetlamps are not even worth my time in research. If you happen to know the origin behind these bad boys, please do leave a comment and fill me in!

Here is a photo taken from my visit to Siena, Italy during the town's celebration of their patron saint. I am including this photo so you can get an idea of how out of place the street lamps look - can you see them along the left hand side of the alleyway? Poor street. Perfectly ruined.

I do hope you’ll visit Siena and have a great time exploring it’s lovely Cathedral (which remains one of the most impressive and beautiful Cathedral’s I’ve ever seen), enjoying a pizza in the town square (home to the famous Palio horse races) and sampling some of the local gelato (including my new favourite: peach-flavoured Prosecco). Hopefully you can look past the streetlamps…fingers crossed.

Happy Friday everyone, have a good weekend.

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  1. lovely colours

  2. Wow! Those are pretty awful!

  3. Amen to that, Staci!


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