Siena attractions include Gothic architecture, a grand Cathedral and one of the most impressive squares in Italy. Siena is one of the jewels in Tuscany‘s crown.
Siena is one of the most famous sights in Italy, imbued with a uniquely Medieval atmosphere. The whole historic centre is a UNESCO site, and with good reason: its impressive red stone palazzi, plentiful churches and scenic squares are very well preserved, and make the city a delight to visit.
Walk around Siena and you’ll run out of ways to describe its beauty. And being that it’s set on three hills you may well run out of breath as well, though the steep streets only add to the charm. If you’re on a tight schedule, a day can be enough to appreciate the main Siena attractions and maybe fit in a museum. But spending a night allows you to do something really special: walk in the famous Piazza del Campo in the evening. Once the groups of tourists have left, the illuminated square fills with a magical atmosphere. Also, if you appreciate Medieval art, you’ll need at least 2 days to enjoy all the interesting things the city’s museums have to offer.
Siena attractions – the best of Siena:
Piazza del Campo is well-known for the horse race “Il Palio” that happens twice a year during summer. The square is surrounded on all sides by some of the most spectacular Gothic architecture in Europe. And it’s the perfect place to sit and soak up the atmosphere.
The other focal point of the city is the town’s Gothic Cathedral. This contains some of Tuscany’s most talked about treasures: the Gothic pulpit by Andrea Pisano, an intricate marble pavement, and the stunning Piccolomini Library decorated with frescoes by Pinturicchio.
Find out about the ‘Gate of heaven’ tours, that are among the Top things to do in Siena.
MUSEUMS and CHURCHES
If you want to get to grips with some Gothic art , head for the Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza del Campo. Here you’ll find splendid examples of 14th century secular frescoes. For an impressive collection of Medieval paintings, with a special focus on Sienese art, visit the Pinacoteca Nazionale.
You can enjoy a taste of the city’s history at the unusual Complesso Museale Ospedale Santa Maria della Scala, an ex-hospital with vivid frescoes, amazing architecture and local archeological artefacts. If you’re feeling spiritual, follow in the steps of Santa Caterina in the house where she was born and the Church of San Domenico that contains relics of the saint.
Where is Siena in Tuscany?
Siena is 80km south of Florence, and from there it can be easily reached by car in an hour. If you’re travelling by public transport from Florence, the bus is more convenient that the train.
From Siena you can explore the Sienese Chianti, the dreamy landscapes of the Val d’Orcia, and the Crete Senese to the south. You’ll see why these areas are, for many, the most rewarding parts of Tuscany.
For more suggestions, check out our post about the best day trips from Siena.