Siena is among the most intriguing medieval cities in Italy. Take in the moody environment, beautiful structure, and Italian tradition with our information to the most effective issues to do in Siena.
LAST UPDATE: 24 Oct 2023
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Siena is Italy’s medieval masterpiece. Darkish and moody; mysterious and noble.
With an extended historical past of battles towards Florence, Siena constructed elaborate metropolis partitions. Combating between households contained in the partitions required the development of large defensive buildings.
Because of this, Siena as we speak is filled with towering homes constructed on tightly packed lanes. Streets so enclosed that hardly any mild reaches the worn cobbled stones beneath your toes.
The maze-like setting has been acknowledged because the “preferrred embodiment of a medieval metropolis” by UNESCO.
It’s an exquisite metropolis stuffed with artwork, native life, tiny squares and energetic streets.
Our information to the most effective issues to do in Siena contains all the highest highlights, plus just a few native gems. We’ve additionally included a one-day itinerary when you plan on visiting on a day journey.
1 – SIENA CATHEDRA
The Duomo di Siena is a exceptional Gothic cathedral and one of many grandest in Italy. The façade consists of alternating layers of black and white marble, with intricate statues and grand bronze doorways.
The inside is an impressive mixture of sunshine and darkish, with black and white pillars rising to star-studded ceilings.
The constructing accommodates works by Donatello, Bernini, and Michelangelo. There’s additionally an intricately carved pulpit by Nicola Pisano.
The Siena Duomo is a dwelling monument to the unimaginable contributions of Italian artists and an unmissable factor to do in Siena.
High Tip – Cathedral Flooring // Should you can time your go to to see the Cathedral ground, it’s on view over the month of July and from mid-August to mid-October.
Learn extra in our information to visiting the Siena Cathedral.
2 – PICCOLOMINI LIBRARY
The Piccolomini Library was commissioned round 1492 to honour the reminiscence of Pope Pius II. It accommodates a wealthy assortment of books and manuscripts that the pope collected over his lifetime.
Stunning frescos line the partitions of the library as a celebration of the life and works of the pope.
They embrace a mix of landscapes, mystical imagery, and spiritual ceremonies.
The Picolomini Library is an instance of Renaissance symbolism that mixed scholarship with inventive expression.
3 – MUSEO DELL’OPERA DEL DUOMO
In 1339, an enormous extension to double the already big Siena cathedral was deliberate.
The work started, however the undertaking was deserted when cash ran brief. The Duomo’s Museum (Museo dell-opera del Duomo) is as we speak housed within the unfinished nave.
The museum accommodates a spread of artworks together with the cathedral’s unique statues.
The spotlight is the Maestá of Duccio; an altarpiece of forty-three small scenes which tells the tales of the Lifetime of the Virgin and the Lifetime of Christ.
It marks the start of the transition from Byzantine to Renaissance.
DETAILS | SIENA CATHEDRAL MUSEUM
hours – 9:30 am to 7:30 pm (1 Apr-31 Oct) / 10:30 am to five:30 pm (1 Nov-31 Mar) / 10:30 pm to six pm (26 Dec-6 Jan) | tickets – Opa Si Cross
4 – PANORAMA DAL FACCIATONE
In 1339 a movement was accepted to increase Siena Cathedral. Nevertheless, constructing works halted in 1348 as a result of financial recession triggered by the Black Loss of life.
Many of the new cathedral was demolished apart from the facade which nonetheless stands to this present day.
From the second ground of the museum, a staircase winds as much as the highest of the unfinished nave. A slim ledge (Panorama dal Facciatone) working alongside the highest of the facade gives fantastic views over the town and the remainder of the duomo.
The staircase consists of 131 tight spiral stairs and there’s not a variety of house on the prime. Nonetheless, it’s top-of-the-line issues to do in Siena.
DETAILS | PANORAMA DAL FACCIATONE
hours – 10 am to 7 pm (1 Apr-31 Oct) / 10:30 am to five:30 pm (1 Nov-31 Mar) / 10:30 am to six pm (26 Dec-6 Jan) | tickets – Opa Si Cross
5 – BAPTISTERY OF SAN GIOVANNI BATTISTA & CRYPT
The ultimate attraction to go to on the Siena Duomo is the Baptistery of San Giovanni Battista and the Crypt (separate accesses).
The Baptistery was constructed within the 14th century. It accommodates stunning frescoes surrounding a grand marble, bronze, and enamel baptismal font.
The ceiling vaults symbolize the 12 articles of Christian religion and are thought-about among the greatest examples of Sienese artwork wherever.
Don’t miss the six gilded bronze panels telling the story of John the Baptist.
The Crypt was solely excavated in 1999 and accommodates among the most essential archaeological finds from the town.
DETAILS | BAPTISTERY & CRYPT
hours – 10 am to 7 pm (1 Apr-31 Oct) / 10:30 am to five:30 pm (1 Nov-31 Mar) / 10:30 pm to six pm (26 Dec-6 Jan) | tickets – Opa Si Cross
6 – SOAK UP THE ATMOSPHERE IN A SIENA CAFE
There’s no higher solution to get beneath the pores and skin of Siena, and Italian tradition typically, than by having a espresso in an atmospheric cafe.
Torrefazione Fiorella // This genuine Siena secure is a tiny café the place you’ll discover locals spilling out onto the road. There are two tables out the entrance however you’d be doing very effectively to get one.
Caffé A. Nannini // An enormous patisserie with pastries and sweets accessible for inspection on an extended bar. It’s much more touristy than Torrefazione Fiorella, however in our opinion, it’s really a greater espresso. Ordering at your seat incurs a hefty service price, so order on the bar.
Bar Pinacoteca // For traditional Italian service, pleasant baristas, and among the greatest espresso in Siena, Bar Pinacoteca is a good alternative. It is a neighbourhood bar with out the vacationer surcharge.
7 – HISTORIC CENTRE OF SIENA
Probably the greatest issues to do in Siena is to walk the slim laneways. There are three good areas to discover.
BASILICA SAN DOMENICO
Wander northwest in direction of Basilica San Domenico. The church itself is quite plain however the little alleyways alongside the best way have some nice outlets, delis, and cafes. The views again as much as the Duomo from the Basilica are among the greatest in Siena.
VIA DEI ROSSI TO PIAZZA SAN FRANCESCO
On the jap aspect of city, stroll down the buzzing through dei Rossi in direction of Piazza San Francesco. The medieval avenue has developed into one of the atmospheric strolls in Siena.
PIAZZA DEL CAMPO
Lastly, discover the world round Piazza Del Campo, the historic centre of Siena.
Through La Citta has some fantastic little outlets. Antica Drogheria Manganelli is a incredible previous pharmacy filled with tasty deli items. A couple of doorways down, La Bottega Senese has a spread of native wines and conventional sweets.
On Wednesday morning, don’t miss the Siena market laid out throughout Piazza Mercato.
8 – PIAZZA DEL CAMPO
Piazza del Campo is among the grandest squares in Europe.
Initially, it was constructed on the intersection of three roads the place three vintage hill cities got here collectively. The design was such that it may very well be impartial floor to have fun civic holidays.
The sq. is paved in crimson brick with a fishtail design break up into 9 sections by 10 traces of white travertine stone.
Every part represents certainly one of ‘The 9’ who ruled Siena on the peak of its medieval energy from 1292-1355.
The sq. is surrounded by harmonious crimson brick buildings in adherence to the strict constructing tips set down in 1297.
9 – PALAZZO PUBBLICO & THE CIVIC MUSEUM
Palazzo Pubblico is on the southeast aspect of Piazza del Campo.
Initially dwelling of ‘The 9’, the palace now homes the Civic Museum (Museo Civico).
Almost each room is filled with intricate frescoes. This was uncommon on the time as a result of they have been commissioned by governors quite than the church.
If the Duomo is Siena’s tribute to the divine energy, the Museo Civico is the tribute to its secular leaders.
Don’t miss the three frescoes collectively known as the Allegory of Good and Dangerous Authorities. Additionally, the carved picket choir seats within the chapel are magnificent.
DETAILS | CIVIC MUSEUM
hours – 10 am to 7 pm | price – €10 / €9 | tickets – skip-the-line (cheaper on-line)
10 – FONTE GAIA FOUNTAIN
The Fonte Gaia Fountain is positioned within the centre of the Piazza del Campo. The primary fountain on this web site was accomplished in 1342 with water travelling 25 kilometres through underground pipes.
The fountain is adorned with a statue of Madonna and Baby surrounded by allegories of the spiritual virtues. Two nude feminine figures symbolize Siena’s hyperlinks to historic Rome.
It’s a preferred attraction in Siena for a fast photograph alternative.
11 – TORRE DEL MANGIA
Proper subsequent to the Palazzo Pubblico, the Torre del Mangia is the second-tallest secular tower in Italy. It’s simply forward of the Asinelli Tower in Bologna at 102 metres.
Taking the 400 steps to the highest is a superb factor to do in Siena.
From the tower, tightly packed, red-tiled homes disappear in direction of Tuscan hills. See the format of Piazza del Campo surrounded by grand homes.
The gothic Duomo appears to drift above all of it.
Attempt to be on the prime of the tower as near sundown as attainable when the town will likely be wanting its greatest.
HOW TO GET TICKETS
E book tickets in particular person on the Palazzo Pubblico at first of the day. Timed entrances happen each 45 minutes and permit for 45 minutes to get to the highest and down once more.
The steps are tight and slim and is usually a little claustrophobic. Nevertheless it’s a really rewarding Siena exercise.
12 – VIA CAMOLLIA
Aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink and one thing of a cultural ritual in Italy.
Often between 6 pm and eight pm, Aperitivo is a dry alcoholic drink designed to get up the digestive system and get you prepared for the meal forward.
There are many locations to have an aperitivo in Italy and Siena isn’t any exception.
Our favorite space is alongside Through Camollia, which has a powerful number of bars to attempt.
We went to 53100 Road Meals & Wine, a comfy unassuming bar with an important number of Aperitivo drinks and snacks. The chilly cuts are scrumptious, they usually have an intensive wine listing.
13 – SANTA MARIA DELLA SCALA
Santa Maria della Scala is a museum complicated set in a medieval hospital that cared for deserted kids and the poor.
The museum has a group of frescoes, sculptures and work protecting the historical past of the hospital. There are additionally trendy artwork installations and Etruscan and Roman artefacts.
The constructing itself is gorgeous, whereas the eerie crypts have an attention-grabbing assortment of works.
DETAILS | SANTA MARIA DELLA SCALA
hours (15 Mar-31 Oct) – 10 am to 7 pm every single day | hours (1 Nov-14 Mar) – 10 am to five pm (Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri) / 10 am to 7 pm (Sat, Solar) / Closed Tuesday | price – €9 / €7
14 – CITY GATES
Siena has 12 remaining gates which give the town it’s enduring medieval really feel. Some solely have traces remaining, others are extra clearly seen.
Constructed after the town partitions have been first prolonged, Porta Camollia was Siena’s most safe entrance. It’s a grand gate with three arches and a protect representing the Medici.
Porta Tufi was constructed between 1325 and 1326 by architect Agnolo di Ventura. It’s one of many best-preserved gates in Siena. The gate has 3 rounded arches with a number of icons and marble reliefs depicting the Roman Catholic church.
Porta Romana is essentially the most complicated gate of Siena. It options two separate portals separated by an inside courtyard. The gate was constructed between 1327 and 1328, additionally by Agnolo di Ventura.
15 – TAKE A DAY TRIP FROM SIENA
Siena is a good base for exploring Tuscany and there are a bunch of fantastic day journeys you’ll be able to take. It’s certainly one of our favorite areas of Italy that we’ve visited many instances. Listed here are a few of our favorite day journeys.
- Florence – Take pleasure in Renaissance masterpiece on a day journey from Siena. Our Florence information has extra particulars.
- San Gimignano – The UNESCO World Heritage Web site of San Gimignano is only a 45-minute drive from Siena.
- Val d’Orcia – Expertise the picturesque rolling hill, vineyards and medieval cities of Val d’Orcia, simply 1 hours’ drive away.
- Volterra – Volterra is a basic Tuscan hill city with rustic medieval structure. It’s a 1-hour drive from Siena.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN SIENA
For a small metropolis, the medieval gem has tons to do. In case you have extra time, listed below are another sights in Siena.
Siena’s Pinacoteca covers the grandmasters from the thirteenth to 18th centuries. Many of the well-known stuff is on the highest ground. Hold an eye fixed out for Vasari’s Resurrection, the works of Il Sodoma and the cartoons that have been used to design the inlaid marble flooring within the Duomo.
ORATORIA DI SAN BERNARDINO
The Basilica of San Francesca has a towering crimson brick façade and moody gothic interiors. However the actual motive to come back right here is the Oratorio di San Bernardino subsequent door. Head upstairs to the higher oratory chapel to see a wealth of Sixteenth-century frescoes.
THE PALIO OF SIENA
The Palio is a horse race held in Siena on July 2 and August 16 yearly. Ten horses and their riders wearing colors representing the 17 metropolis wards, race round Piazza del Campo.
The race has taken place because the 17th century, and it’s deeply ingrained within the tradition of Siena. Should you occur to time your go to to one of many occasions, it is going to be an unforgettable expertise.
SIENA ITALY MAP
We now have included our listing of the most effective issues to do in Siena on the under map so you’ll be able to plot your course whereas visiting the medieval coronary heart of Tuscany and the soul of medieval Italy.
WHERE TO EAT IN SIENA
Grabbing a slice of pizza and discovering a spot on a medieval sq. for an off-the-cuff lunch whereas watching the world go by is a superb factor to do in Siena. However listed below are another locations we advocate.
Osteria da Divo – Mentioned to be the oldest restaurant in Siena, Osteria da Divo delivers modern delicacies in an atmospheric stone home.
Enoteca I Terzi – Set in a medieval vaulted constructing, I Terzi does masterful Tuscan dishes. They’ve an intensive native wine listing.
Tar-tufo – For high-quality eating in Siena, it’s exhausting to go previous Tar-tufo. There namesake truffle dominates the menu.
Pizzeria Gurgu Kebab – Seize the most effective pizza on the town at Pizzeria Gurgu Kebab. If there are not any tables, you’ll be able to order pizza by the slice to go.
ONE DAY SIENA ITINERARY
If you’re visiting Siena on a day journey, right here is our 1-day itinerary:
- Begin with a espresso at Caffe A. Nannini
- Go to the Duomo adopted by the Duomo Museum, the Panorama and the Baptistery and Crypt.
- Have lunch at Enoteca I Terzi
- Do our stroll across the historic centre as talked about in quantity 7 of this information.
- Take in the environment in Piazza del Campo.
- Go to the highest of Torre del Magnia because the solar is beginning to set.
- Have aperitivo on through Camollia.
WHERE TO STAY IN SIENA
Should you resolve to remain over and revel in extra of the town and the Tuscany space, listed below are some options for the place to remain.
A well-priced B&B with clear, snug rooms and wonderful services. There’s a shared kitchen in the primary constructing and self-catering flats, preferrred for households.
Simply 20 minutes outdoors Siena, this resort is ready in stunning Tuscany countryside. The home has conventional options and there’s a spa, outside pool, and golf course.
TIPS FOR VISITING SIENA
- Entrance for the Civic Museum prices €10 and the Torre del Mangia one other €10. However when you intend to do each you should purchase a €15 joint ticket.
- For €20 you may as well see the Santa Maria della Scala.
- A €40 household ticket covers The Civic Museum, the Torre del Mangia, and the Santa Maria della Scala for two adults and a pair of kids.
- We aren’t conscious of any solution to guide Torre del Mangia tickets on-line upfront. So go to Palazzo Pubblico to purchase tickets in particular person as quickly as you arrive in Siena.
- Should you solely wish to go to the Museo Civico you’ll be able to guide upfront by way of Get Your Information.
HOW TO GET TO SIENA
The closest airports to Siena are Florence, Perugia, Pisa, Bologna and Rome. Pisa is the preferred airport for European guests, nevertheless when you’re touring from Canada or the US, you’ll more than likely arrive into Rome.
The Siena Practice Station is a 1.3-mile stroll, uphill to the centre of city. So you might wish to contemplate getting a taxi in case you have baggage or if the stroll goes to be an excessive amount of.
From Florence Airport, take the shuttle bus to Santa Maria Novella Practice Station. From right here, direct trains run to Siena each hour and take half-hour.
Driving time from Florence – 1 hour, 10 min (78 kilometres / 48 miles)
From Pisa Airport, take the airport shuttle to the central station. Trains from Siena take 1 hour and 40 minutes with a cease at Empoli.
Driving time from Pisa – 1 hour, 45 min (120 kilometres / 75 miles)
From Bologna airport, take the shuttle bus to Bologna Central Practice Station. From right here, the practice to Siena takes about half-hour.
Driving time from Bologna – 2 hours (168 kilometres / 104 miles)
There are not any direct trains from Rome to Siena, however you’ll be able to cease off at Florence, which is a good factor to do anyway. Trains to Florence from Rome depart immediately from Rome Fiumicino Airport.
Driving time from Rome – 3 hours (267 kilometres / 165 miles)
PARKING IN SIENA
If you’re driving to Siena, park within the large Parcheggio Il Campo automotive park. It’s a 10-minute stroll from the Piazza del Campo however most significantly, it doesn’t contain driving by way of any slim medieval streets. It prices €2 an hour.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SIENA
Siena is a good year-round vacation spot. The wealth of indoor websites and tightly packed outside lanes are as moody in winter as they’re superb in summer time.
Peak Season // Temperatures could be sizzling and the vacationer websites busy in the course of the peak season of July and August. Nevertheless, the Siena Duomo inlaid flooring are uncovered in the course of the month of July and from mid-August to mid-October. It is a nice time to go to Siena.
Shoulder Season // The shoulder seasons of spring and fall deliver the nicest climate. Particularly, September to mid-October is a good time to come back. The Duomo flooring are uncovered, and the height crowds have disappeared.
The Palio // The well-known Siena horse race, The Palio, takes place on July 2 and August 16 yearly. Ten horses and riders, dressed within the colors of their metropolis ward, race across the Piazza del Campo. Tickets could be reserved on-line. Even when it’s totally booked it’s price turning up the day earlier than when most of the locals costume up of their neighbourhood colors.