What to see in Siena?
Anyone who comes back from Siena says that the memory of this city will never abandon you, and even if the magic of this place is hiding everywhere, there are certainly some things not to be missed.
- Piazza del Campo: it’s famous for its peculiar shell shape and for the brick colour of the surrounding buildings, which gives a sense of warmth to those who are there to admire it.
- Torre del Mangia: 87 meters high, with 400 steps, the civic tower offers at its highest point, a breathtaking panorama, which will repay the effort of the immense staircase.
- Piazza del Duomo: it’s like a casket that contains the most precious treasures of Siena. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Cathedral of S. Maria Assunta, of dazzling beauty on the outside, and not least from the inside, it collects works by the illustrious Donatello, Nicola Pisano, Michelangelo and Pinturicchio.
- Not to forget the Baptistery, built in 1300 as an extension of the Cathedral, and entitled to S. Giovanni, it’s decorated inside with wonderful Renaissance frescoes, and a source baptismal, work made by Jacopo della Quercia, Lorenzo Ghilberti and Donatello.
- For museum lovers, the Cathedral Museum on the right side of the Cathedral, is one of the oldest private Italian museums, where you will find the original statues of the facade of the dome. This museum, however, offers you so much more: you’ll have the opportunity to admire one of the most beautiful views of Siena.
Where to stay in Siena?
Choosing where to sleep in Siena is quite simple as you’ll mainly have two alternatives: the historic centre or the peripheral areas.
As with all travels, you will have to take into account your budget, and the experience you want to live with your stay.
For those who want to stay overnight, at moderate prices, receiving a warm welcome, are always available holiday homes managed by local religious orders, which they offer, as in the whole Italian peninsula, familiar, characteristic properties full of history, art and spirituality.
What to eat in Siena?
Hams and cheeses are definitely the strong points of the Sienese cuisine, and the city has small characteristic shops where anyone can buy local products to take away at the time of departure.
At the end of the meal, however, it is time for dessert. And for those who can’t resist it, Siena offers simple and traditional desserts such as the “ panforte” or the “ cantucci”, almond biscuits, perfect to taste with a good Italian espresso, or a cup of tea.
As mentioned above, however, if you arrived in Tuscany, it is possible that you want to taste one of its famous wines: for the lovers of red, the Brunello di Montalcino, considered one of the most popular wines in the world, it will be the one for you! For white wine lovers, on the other hand, it is suggested the Vernaccia, or the Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine, which will perfectly accompany your “cantucci”.
How to get around Siena?
To be able to find your way in the city of Siena, it must be remembered that it’s divided into three thirds (Terzi) , as it’s built on three different hills. The historic centre is Piazza del Campo, from which you can access it through the open doors of the walls that delimit it.
- Terzo citta`: original nucleus of the city, where the dome and S.Maria della Scala are located.
- Terzo di Camollia: “ Cor magis tibi Siena pandit” which means “Siena opens a bigger heart to you” is the Latin incision you’ll find on Porta Camilla, which gives access to this part of the city. Here you can visit the Basilicas of S. Maria in Provenzano, S. Francesco, S. Domenico, and the Sanctuary of S. Caterina da Siena.
- Terzo di S. Martino: here there is Piazza del Campo, Torre Mangia and the Palazzo Pubblico. This third takes its name from S. Martino, considered the protector of the pilgrims who passed by them along the Via Francigena.
All Siena’s car parks are subject to charges, the most recommended one is the stadium car park, which will allow you to be near the centre.
Travel comfortable and light: being a city with many pedestrian zones, be prepared to walk a lot and to go up and down hundreds of steps!
Take some time to savour the typical dishes in the so-called “ trattorie”: that’s where you will find the beating heart of the Sienese traditions.
If you plan to visit Siena during summer, it will be useful to remember that twice a year, precisely on July the 2nd and August the 16th, the Palio di Siena, an equestrian event in honour of the Virgin Mary, held between the various districts of the city, will take place. It represents one of the most famous sporting events in Italy, and certainly the main one of pride for Siena.