Beyond the Piazza del Campo and Torre del Mangia, Siena has an abundance of atmospheric bars, serving piping-hot espressos and crisp white wine. Here are the Tuscan city’s finest watering holes.
Bars in Italy are so much more than a place to grab a cold beer. They are central meeting places, providing everything from breakfast to after-dinner drinks in an atmosphere all of their own. Above all, they are where Italians drink their coffee. Here you can witness this daily and complex ritual in action.
Although recently renovated, Bar Impero, situated just outside Siena’s historic centre, retains some of the original elegance which has made it a favourite for over a hundred years. This is a place for real coffee connoisseurs, serving only the Neapolitan Passalacqua brand, which you can sip at the bar, just like a local. A leisurely pre-dinner drink will go down perfectly here.
With a name meaning “I drink” in Latin, you’d expect the clientele here to be an educated bunch. Indeed, Bibò is one of the most popular bars with Siena’s student population, happily situated right next to the main university building. Here you can hobnob with Italy’s future elite and pick up anything from your morning coffee to an afternoon gelato or after-dinner nightcap. They’ll even whip you up a panino if you’re hungry.
Located near Siena’s Medici Fortress in the San Prospero district, it doesn’t get more local than this. The exterior, complete with red postbox and public telephone sign, will transport you back to more innocent times. See all Italian life here – whether sitting outside with a cold beer to watch the world go by, or staying inside to eavesdrop on a lively discussion. On top of that, the stunning quality of Silvana’s sandwiches is the stuff of Sienese legend.
Near an elegant park, Antico Bar La Lizza is the place where everyone knows your name. There’s as great a selection of pastries as you’ll find in any bar in Siena, with a large range of local wines, too. A big plus is that it happens to be near a bus stop used by many wine tour companies, so it’s a great place to wait and warm up for the trip.
The owner of this bar is not called Charlie, but Riccardo. However, if you want to know where the locals drink their cocktails, this is the place. Riccardo is passionate about his work and has been voted among the 10 best barmen in Tuscany – as well as serving you a glass, he offers a range of innovative cocktails in a can, developed during lockdown to keep the bar alive. No need to look at the menu – they do a kicking moscow mule.
Although styled as a British pub rather than an Italian bar, Il Maudit is always full of Sienese in for an evening of entertainment. As well as a wide range of beers, Maudit boasts some great pizza and ciaccini — local stuffed flatbreads — to keep you going.
If you still need convincing, discover the reasons why you need to visit Siena. For those looking to extend their Italian trip, head to Florence for some must-visit attractions and a gastronomic tour of the city. Rest in one of these places to stay, or one of the best luxury hotels in Florence, now bookable via Culture Trip.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Maria Menegaki.