The Most Beautiful Buildings in Siena, Italy

Siena is full of historical and architectural gems just waiting to be discovered
Siena is full of historical and architectural gems just waiting to be discovered | © rudi1976 / Alamy Stock Photo
Francesca Masotti

Siena is one of the most well preserved Medieval cities in Italy. South of Florence, it’s famous for its brick buildings, cuisine, art, museums and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. The historic city centre is a Unesco World Heritage site and has plenty of wonderful spots to see, but these are undoubtedly the most beautiful buildings in Siena.

Want to visit Siena? You can do so as part of a small group of culturally curious travellers by joining Culture Trip’s immersive 10-day Northern Italy trip.

1. Duomo of Siena

Church

The Duomo of Siena
© Valery Bareta / Alamy Stock Photo
The cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of Mary is one of the most beautiful buildings in Siena and Italy. This gothic-style church, built in the 13th century, is one of the most important historic monuments in the city, and although its facade is simply stunning, the best part is inside. There are too many artistic highlights in the cathedral to list here, including numerous frescos, paintings and sculptures by excellent artists such as Donatello, Ghiberti and Pinturicchio, but the most famous masterpiece is the inlaid floor realised with coloured marble mosaics. A short distance from the Duomo is the Baptistery of St John, another beautiful gothic-style landmark. Included in the complex is an interesting art museum that showcases artworks and architectural fragments that used to be a part of the cathedral.

2. Museo Civico

Museum

Public Palace, Siena
© DinoPh / Alamy Stock Photo

The Museo Civico (Civic Museum) is the most famous museum in Siena; it sits inside the Public Palace and is home to an amazing collection of Medieval and Renaissance art, paintings, frescoes and artefacts. Its Sala dei Nove, Hall of the Nine, is home to The Allegory of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. This huge fresco covers three walls of the room, and in essence, it shows how the city could be if it was governed by the right governance (the good one) or the opposite (the bad one). Another spectacular fresco is Simone Martini’s Maestà in the Sala del Mappamondo, World Map Room. If you are an art lover, you’ll adore these fine paintings.

3. Torre del Mangia

Architectural Landmark

The Palazzo Pubblico is also home to another unmissable landmark, the Torre del Mangia. Dominating the Piazza del Campo, considered one of the best Medieval squares in Europe and where the famous Palio horse race takes place, the red tower is one of the tallest Medieval towers in Italy. Once inside, you can ascend the 500 steps for dramatic views across the square and Siena. The entrance is in the courtyard; don’t forget to look up to admire one of the most beautiful patios in Tuscany.

4. Basilica of San Domenico

Architectural Landmark

Basilica of San Domenico, Siena
© Peter Seyfferth / imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

This marvellous church was originally built during the 13th century, enlarged in the 14th century and destroyed and rebuilt several times in the following years. Today, it’s one of the most beautiful buildings in Siena, sitting on top of a hill. It displays artworks by Tuscan artists and has several relics of Saint Catherine of Siena – one of the two patron saints of Italy, along with Francis of Assisi; her family house is also nearby. That’s why the church is also known as Basilica Cateriniana.

5. Sanctuary and House of Saint Catherine

Church

Sanctuary and House of Saint Catherine
© Vito Arcomano / Alamy Stock Photo

The native home of Santa Catherine of Siena was transformed into a sanctuary in 1464, and today, it’s one of the most important sights in the city. Its beautiful Portico dei Comuni was created two years after Catherine was proclaimed as the patroness of Italy, in 1939. The religious complex comprises the Church of the Crucifix, two oratories, a small cloister, the Church of Saint Catherine in Fontebranda and her house, which has paintings representing events from her life.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
close-ad
Edit article