We spent four nights at this B&B. We had the superior Fresco room, so didn't have the negative experiences a couple of previous posters had. The Palazzo Bruchi is located in a 17th cetury building. It is identified only by a small brass plaque, and is behind a huge wooden door which enters into a court yard. Unfortunately its not a romantic garden courtyard but rather one where horses were tethered in the past, and where three or four autos are now parked. The B&B is located two floors up. Our room was quite large but the most unique feature was the (approximately) 20 foot fresco ceiling. We had excellent unobstructed views of the Tuscan countryside. The room had a table with chairs and a fridge, which was handy because we ate a couple of meals in.
Breakfast is included, also in a high ceiling room with frescos on the ceiling. We thought the selection at breakfast was above average, except that the coffee was strictly not for North American tastes. The proprieter was most cordial, and helpful In getting us settled into the city and in helping us make arrangements for tours and to get the correct bus information. The downside is she leaves at 4:00pm and there is no one on duty until the next morning, so if you arrive after 4:00pm, or need something after 4:00 pm, you will be in difficulty.
The location of the Palazzo Bruchi is a strength and a weakness. It is located in the old city about 200 metres from the campo. It is close to several take out food places, a self serve laundrymat, ATMs, shops, a couple of restaurants and is only a 15-20 minute walk to the bus depot for the buses to San Gimignano. Its weakness is that it is on a very unpleasant, busy, supposidly pedestrian street, but there are vehicles galore making their way through the crowd of pedestrians. The brochure says it is for service vehicles, but we saw plenty of private cars including one woman delivering, then picking up, her laundry. It was like running a gauntlet every time we had to leave the B&B. Even without the vehicles it is crowded with pedestrians since it is also a main pedestrian access to the central area.
The other weakness is that the bulk of the nearest restaurants are on the campo which our guide book says were over priced and staffed with wait staff who were aloof and didn't feel the need to hustle nor be polite. On our one and only experience at a restaurant on the campo we left before placing our order because of disinterested wait staff. On our second attempt at a restaurant we stuck close to the B&B because it was raining heavily. The male waiter at Il Vicolo Osteria Ristora made it obvious he didn't care for North American tourists. He gruffly motioned to us from the back of the room to take a certain table, even though better ones (later filled by Italians) were empty. He rushed the meal, refused to bring clean cuttlery between courses, even though the female waitress was bringing fresh cuttlery to her customers, and "plopped" the food on the table without a word or pleasantry. We noticed that we weren't being singled out - the other table of tourists was being treated the same way. It got to the point he was beyond rude to being just plain ignorant. We would have left except for the poring rain. The last step was when he flipped the bill onto our table. That must have been too much even for him, because the young woman server took over from there.
So we started out with a very unpleaant opinion of Sienna, and didn't like the place. Then we had dealings with very pleasant and helpful locals in the grocery store, two take outs, a bakery, the bus depot, the shops, and even one other restaurant. I guess it was because of our location on the unpleasant street and the bad experience at two early restaurants that we left generally disliking Sienna. Yet later on a cruise we sat with two women from Chicago who loved Sienna and couldn't wait to return. So, we'll concede it all depends on location and personal experiences.
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- Also Known As:
- Palazzo Bruchi Hotel Siena