Siena has a very long history, dating back to the Etruscan era. The main development of the city happened through the Middle-Ages. During that time the city grew and many of the most important buildings of the town were built. Today its peculiar urban skyline is visible from the hills which surround Siena; rich in monuments, palaces and churches, it is one of the most beautiful Italian towns.
Piazza del Campo is the heart of Siena, where you just must spend some of your time once in town. It’s a huge square and is also considered one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. You can enjoy it while sipping a coffee in one of the several bars located there.
Italy is home to many spectacular churches, there are so many buildings that to name all of them it is impossible, but the Duomo of Siena is one of the most beautiful and impossible to miss when in town. It is a Gothic building filled with many treasures. Not only is the church itself magnificent but be sure not to miss the interior and a floor decorated with mosaics.
It may not be famous as the leaning tower of Pisa, but the Torre del Mangia inside the Public Palace in Piazza del Campo is the most recognizable landmark in town. To reach the top of the tower you have to climb 400 steps, but the views of the town and surrounding countryside are simply terrific.
Generally, people in Tuscany love to stay in the open air. All the towns are only a few minutes from the countryside, so if someone is tired of the chaos and crowds of the city, it’s very easy to spend some time in nature. In Siena, people love to stroll around the city centre’s streets and go trekking in the nearby countryside.
Venice has the Carnival, Siena has the Palio. It is the main event taking place in the Tuscan town. The Palio is a horse race which takes place two times a year and is run in the beautiful Piazza del Campo, which is transformed for the occasion into a sand field.
Once you taste the traditional meals of Siena, well, you will fall in love with them. One of the best courses you can eat in town is the ‘pici’, a kind of pasta similar to spaghetti but quite bigger and served with pepper and cheese or with tomato sauce. Siena is also famous for its desserts; try ricciarelli, typical cookies made with almonds.
Every Wednesday, it’s market day in Siena. The biggest market in Tuscany is held at La Lizza, an area near the old fortress, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Vendors sell food, clothes and also souvenirs. Come here early in the morning, because the market is always very crowded.
It’s no secret that Tuscany is home to the best wine in Italy. Siena is no exception. The city is located between the Chianti region and Montalcino, so it’s like a heaven for wine enthusiasts. Wherever you go in the province of Siena, there are different wines to try; all the bars and restaurants offer a wide selection of them.
When you picture Tuscany, you imagine rolling green hills with a lone cypress at the top. This kind of breathtaking landscape is common in Val d’Orcia, maybe the most picturesque area of the region. Located just south of Siena, it is filled with medieval castles, hilltop towns, charming rural farmhouses, rows of vineyards and cypress trees.