Siena is situated in the south of Tuscany, enclosed behind its medieval walls Siena is proud of its local traditions. Most visitor attractions are located within the city walls; everything is walkable from the main central square Piazza del Campo. This great shell shaped square is where the annual Palio, an exciting and spirited bare-back horse-race is run.
Siena is worth considering if you are looking for a short city break, many of the key attractions can be found as you wander and explore the cities maze of fascinating streets and alleys. The streets are steep if you have difficulty in walking Siena may not be suitable for you.
If you enjoy shopping Sienna won’t disappoint, the shops open Monday-Saturday from 9.30 to 1.30pm and reopen again around 3-7pm, though some remain closed also on a Monday morning. The main shopping street for clothes is Via Banchi di Sopra and for souvenirs and food try Via di Citta which is lined with shops. You will find workshops producing high quality crafts as you stroll and explore the city’s streets and side alleys.
Nightlife in Siena is set around the bars particularly in the Piazza del Campo area. You will find pubs, wine bars and some live music venues to keep you entertained. The evenings are especially nice the facades on the medieval buildings are lit with many lights this makes a wonderful atmosphere for you to enjoy a stroll.
Similarly through the daytime the Campo attracts locals and tourists alike to meet at one of the open-air coffee shops, bars, cafes or restaurants around this bustling square. You should go to a trattoria if you would like to sample some Siena cuisine.
The Palazzo Pubblico which dates back to 1250 is a fine example of Italian Gothic architecture. This is a wonderful building where many of the medieval rooms are open to the public houses some significant frescoes. The main Civic Museum is located in the municipal building and amongst its exhibits are masterpieces by Italian artists. This museum is one you should make time to visit. The 14th century Torre del Mangia stands next to the Palazzo Pubblico with its 88mtr bell-tower, the tower has a long narrow staircase it is well worth the climb of several hundred steps (if you are feeling fit) to the top of the tower, for superb views of the city and beyond.
The12th century Duomo is one of the most attractive Gothic Style churches in Italy with a splendid mosaic floor (floor is covered to protect it) the interior of the Duomo is very ornate the exterior and interior are constructed of striped marble. The chapel contains works by Bernini, Guido da Siena and Donatello. The Piccolomini Library which adjoins the cathedral houses important frescoes and choir books; it is simply stunning, full of light and a variety of colour, note the amazing ceiling, a visit is recommended.
Near to the Duomo you will find the Battistero di San Giovanni which dates from the 14th century. The walls are covered with colourful frescoes; the baptism font, a centrepiece and a great art treasure it is decorated with gilded brass carvings.
The Santa Maria della Scala was the city hospital for over 900 years and was one of the first hospitals to be built in Italy; a former ward is covered with 15th century frescoes. The building also has exhibition spaces for local and international artists.
It is recommended that you book accommodation prior to your holiday break the accommodation choices may be limited in the popular holiday months Hotels in the city tend to be functional although there are one or two luxury ones in Siena, there are also some luxurious ones around 1-3km away from the city. You may prefer self-catering rooms, there is a campsite approximately 2km north of Siena which opens around mid March to November. If you would like more information and current details on any of the attractions or accommodation contact the Tourist Office on the Campo in Siena. Siena is a good place to enjoy a break, absorb the atmosphere of this fascinating town, enjoy its attractions and perhaps visit the surrounding Tuscany countryside.