Welcome to Siena, a beautiful city located in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. With its stunning Gothic architecture, rich history, and delicious cuisine, Siena is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Italy. From the unique shell-shaped Piazza del Campo to the breathtaking views from the Torre del Mangia, Siena is full of surprises and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
In this article, we’ll explore the 15 best things to do in Siena. From exploring the medieval walls to discovering the wines of Tuscany, there’s something for everyone in this charming Italian city. Whether you’re interested in art, history, nature, or food, Siena has something to offer every traveler. So, let’s dive in and discover the best of Siena.
Explore the Piazza del Campo
The Piazza del Campo is one of the most beautiful and unique squares in Italy. It’s a must-visit destination in Siena, and for a good reason. The square is stunningly beautiful and has a unique shell shape that sets it apart from other Italian piazzas. It’s surrounded by beautiful buildings, cafes, and restaurants, making it the perfect place to take a stroll, enjoy a coffee, or indulge in some people watching. The Piazza del Campo is also famous for its biannual horse race, the Palio di Siena, which takes place around the square. Whether you’re visiting during the race or not, the Piazza del Campo is a must-visit destination in Siena.
Climb the Torre del Mangia
For breathtaking panoramic views of Siena, climb the Torre del Mangia. The tower is 88 meters high and was built in the 14th century. It’s named after its first bell ringer, Giovanni di Balduccio, who was nicknamed “Mangiaguadagni” (money eater) because of his expensive habits. Climbing to the top of the tower can be a bit strenuous, but the views are worth it. From the top, you’ll have a stunning panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside. It’s the perfect place to take some photos or just soak in the beauty of Siena from above.
Visit the Duomo di Siena
The Duomo di Siena is one of the most impressive Gothic cathedrals in Italy. Its façade is made of white and green marble and is adorned with intricate carvings and statues. Inside, you’ll find stunning frescoes, mosaics, and works of art by famous artists such as Donatello, Bernini, and Michelangelo. The interior of the cathedral is breathtaking, with its ornate decorations and stunning artwork. The Piccolomini Library, located inside the cathedral, is also a must-visit destination. It’s home to some of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts in Italy and has stunning frescoes by Pinturicchio, depicting scenes from the life of Pope Pius II.
Discover the Piccolomini Library
The Piccolomini Library is located inside the Duomo di Siena and is a must-visit destination for book lovers. The library was built in the 16th century and is home to some of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts in Italy. The walls and ceiling are decorated with frescoes by Pinturicchio, depicting scenes from the life of Pope Pius II. The library is a peaceful and serene place, with shelves lined with beautiful books and manuscripts. If you’re interested in art or history, the Piccolomini Library is a must-visit destination in Siena.
Explore the Baptistery of San Giovanni
The Baptistery of San Giovanni is a beautiful octagonal building located next to the Duomo di Siena. It was built in the 14th century and is famous for its stunning bronze doors, which are considered some of the most beautiful in Italy. Inside, you’ll find beautiful frescoes and a stunning marble font. The Baptistery is a peaceful and serene place, with beautiful artwork and decorations. If you’re interested in art or architecture, the Baptistery of San Giovanni is a must-visit destination in Siena.
Take a Walk Along the Medieval Walls
Siena’s medieval walls are a testament to the city’s rich history. Take a walk along the walls and admire the stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside. You’ll also find several gates and towers along the way, each with its own unique history. The walk along the walls is a peaceful and serene experience, with beautiful views of the city and the surrounding landscape. It’s also a great way to get some exercise and soak in the beauty of Siena.
Visit the Basilica of San Domenico
The Basilica of San Domenico is a beautiful church located in the heart of Siena. It’s famous for its stunning Gothic architecture and its collection of art and relics. Inside, you’ll find works of art by famous artists such as Matteo di Giovanni, Guido da Siena, and Sodoma. The church is also home to the head of Saint Catherine of Siena, one of the most important relics in the city. If you’re interested in art, history, or religion, the Basilica of San Domenico is a must-visit destination in Siena.
Discover the Orto Botanico di Siena
The Orto Botanico di Siena is a beautiful botanical garden located near the city center. It’s home to over 7,000 plant species and is a great place to relax and enjoy nature. Take a walk through the garden and admire the beautiful flowers, trees, and shrubs. The garden is also home to a medicinal plant collection, an arboretum, and a greenhouse. If you’re interested in nature, the Orto Botanico di Siena is a must-visit destination in Siena.
Learn About the History of Siena at the Museo Civico
The Museo Civico is a must-visit for history buffs. The museum is housed in the Palazzo Pubblico and is home to a vast collection of art and artifacts from Siena’s rich history. You’ll find works of art by famous artists such as Simone Martini, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, and Duccio di Buoninsegna. The museum is also home to the famous fresco cycle, “The Allegory of Good and Bad Government” by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, which depicts the effects of good and bad government on society. If you’re interested in art, history, or politics, the Museo Civico is a must-visit destination in Siena.
Take a Cooking Class and Learn to Cook Like an Italian
Italian cuisine is world-renowned, and there’s no better place to learn how to cook than in Italy itself. Take a cooking class in Siena and learn how to make traditional Italian dishes such as pasta, risotto, and tiramisu. You’ll also get to sample the delicious food and wine of the region. Cooking classes are a fun and interactive way to learn about Italian culture and cuisine.
Attend the Palio di Siena Horse Race
The Palio di Siena is a famous horse race that takes place twice a year in the Piazza del Campo. The race is a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages and is a thrilling spectacle to witness. The race is a symbol of the city’s history and is a must-see if you’re visiting Siena in July or August. The race is a unique and exciting experience, with horses representing different neighborhoods in Siena racing around the Piazza del Campo.
Visit the Fortezza Medicea
The Fortezza Medicea is a fortress located just outside the city center. It was built in the 16th century by the Medici family and was used as a military prison in the 20th century. Today, it’s a cultural center and is home to art exhibitions, concerts, and other events. The fortress is a unique and interesting place to visit, with its imposing walls and beautiful courtyard.
Explore the Santa Maria della Scala Museum Complex
The Santa Maria della Scala is a complex of museums and art galleries located in the heart of Siena. It was originally a hospital for pilgrims and travelers and has been transformed into a cultural center. The complex is home to a vast collection of art and artifacts from Siena’s rich history. You’ll find works of art by famous artists such as Duccio di Buoninsegna, Taddeo di Bartolo, and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. The complex also houses a beautiful chapel and a fascinating underground maze of tunnels and rooms that were once used for the hospital. If you’re interested in art, history, or architecture, the Santa Maria della Scala Museum Complex is a must-visit destination in Siena.
Discover the Wines of Siena
Siena is located in the heart of the Chianti wine region, and there’s no better place to discover the wines of Tuscany. Take a wine tour and visit local wineries, sample the delicious wines, and learn about the wine-making process. You’ll get to taste some of the best wines in Italy and learn about the history and culture of winemaking in the region. Wine tours are a fun and interactive way to learn about the region’s wine culture.
Indulge in Delicious Italian Cuisine
Italian cuisine is world-renowned, and Siena is no exception. There are plenty of delicious restaurants and cafes throughout the city where you can indulge in traditional Italian dishes. Some must-try dishes include pici pasta, ribollita soup, and panforte dessert. Siena is also famous for its delicious wines, such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Whether you’re looking for a casual meal or a fine dining experience, Siena has something to offer every food lover.
In conclusion, Siena is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture. From the stunning Piazza del Campo to the delicious wines and cuisine of the region, there’s something for everyone in this charming Italian city. Whether you’re interested in art, history, nature, or food, Siena is a must-visit destination in Italy.
What is the best time to visit Siena?
The best time to visit Siena is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
How do I get to Siena?
Siena is easily accessible by train or bus from Florence or Rome.
What is the Palio di Siena?
The Palio di Siena is a famous horse race that takes place twice a year in the Piazza del Campo.
What are some traditional dishes of Siena?
Some traditional dishes of Siena include pici pasta, ribollita soup, and panforte dessert.
Can I visit Siena in a day trip?
While it’s possible to visit Siena in a day trip, it’s recommended to stay for at least a few days to fully explore the city and the surrounding countryside.
What are some other places to visit near Siena?
Some other places to visit near Siena include the town of San Gimignano, the city of Florence, and the Chianti wine region.
Is Siena wheelchair accessible?
While some parts of Siena’s historic center may be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair, many attractions and public areas are wheelchair accessible.
What is the currency used in Siena?
The currency used in Siena is the Euro.
What language do they speak in Siena?
The official language of Siena is Italian, but many people also speak English and other languages.
Are credit cards accepted in Siena?
Credit cards are widely accepted in Siena, but it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases and tips.