The city of Siena is built around the Piazza del Campo. It is the world’s largest square for civic and social public gathering which is renowned for its artistic and architectural magnificence. The famous and dangerous horse racing game enjoyed by the citizens, the Palio is hosted here twice a year. There are many other attractions adjacent to the Piazza del Campo.
Built in the 14th Century, this tower is located in the Piazza del Campo. This 289 feet tower was one of the tallest secular structures in the medieval Italy. As a sign of equality of the church and the state, this tower was built to be the same height with the Metropolitan Cathedral. Cappella di Piazza, made of marble, on the top of the tower was added to the structure as an honourable vow to the Holy Virgin. There are 400 steep and narrow stairs up to the top but the view from the top is awesome and definitely worth the climb. You can see the whole of Siena spread around from the tower.
Siena is a country side where Kids are always welcome! Although there are no amusement parks and fun-fairs in Siena your kids are going to have a wonderful learning experience and a thrilling vacation time. Siena’s town centre, Piazza del Campo is a Car-free space with many medieval alleyways, the Fonte Gaia and enumerable pigeons. Your children can play and run around the square, play hide and seek with local children around the renaissance fountain, chase pigeons, enjoy Italian ice-creams and pizzas while playing, or even a climb up the tower (Torre del Mangia) will be exciting. There is a recently restored playground close to Piazza del Campo. You can take a short walk towards the Palazzo Pubblico in Vicolo della Fortuna which is near Siena’s Synagogue. This playground is small but very beautiful and attractive for children. While you are sightseeing, the frescoes on the walls of the museums, library and other major sites are of amazement to adults and children alike. The grandeur and vibrancy of the walls will surely capture your kid’s attention as well. At the Santa Maria della Scala museum, there is an arty interactive space especially dedicated to children’s art education and expressions. For further fun engagements for your kids you could take them to Il Paese Dei Balocchi, a small but wonderful toy store where you can find some amazing Italian toys and local handmade toys and crafts.
Well known as Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, this is a medieval church built in the 13th century. The structure bears a form of Latin Cross with a projecting transept and comprises of a dome and a bell tower. The Cathedral is constructed of black, green and white marble which makes alternating stripes on exterior and interior and a red marble on the facade. One of the most ornamented marble mosaic floors in Italy, covers the floor of the Cathedral. Valuable pieces of art in the cathedral include masterpieces by artists like Donatello, Bernini, Michelangelo, Simone Martini, Lippo Memmi and many more world known artists.
This is the first gothic style church, abbey of San Galgano which was built in the 13th Century and is set in the countryside of Siena. Stuck by a lightning in the 18th century the bell tower collapsed on its roof, it is now roofless and only the walls stand, with the starlit sky above as its roof. Unharmed by the weather, this church stands strong and tall and is a photographers’ delight. A short walk up the hill from Abbey of San Galgano, is a small chapel where you can hear choirs sing Gregorian chants.
There are various parks and gardens in Siena, among which there is Siena’s historic Botanical Gardens (Orto Botanico), Orto De’Pecci, La Foce, La Lizza and Parco Delle Rimembranze. The Orto Botanico which was established in 1784 covers a vast area and houses many tropical, aquatic and exotic varieties of plants and fruit trees and is open for visitors from Monday to Friday 8:00 to 17:30 (closes for a break & clean up from 12:30 to 14:30) and on Saturday from 8:00 to 12:00. The entry to this garden is free.
The countryside of Tuscany, outside the city of Siena is extremely beautiful and unparallel. A bicycling venture into the countryside is worth a try. You can also get a view of the greenery of the countryside from the hot-air balloons.
Piazza del Campo, Torre del Mangia, Achivio di Stato, Fonte Gaia, Facciatone,Oasi Naturale Lago di Montepulciano, Fontebranda, Loggia della Mercanzia, Castello della Magione, Fonte delle Fate, Orti ei Tolomei, Convento di San Lucchese and Porta Nova are some of the most famous landmarks in Siena.
While in Siena, you can enjoy the country side of Tuscany as well. A hike or drive to the countryside is an adventure and relaxation in the lap of nature, all at once. You can explore the picturesque rolling hills, a full day hiking tour arranged from Siena. For adventure seekers, a full day rigorous hike through the beautiful Chianti region, amidst luscious vineyards and olive groves and antiquated villages, a little relaxation over a classic Tuscan picnic is just the thing. You can thereafter visit San Gimignano, a medieval hill town, for a walk around in the late afternoon. Do not forget to checkout the local shops for some good Wine, Cheese and Saffron spice produce. You would get the best here!
Further, if you are ready to gain some knowledge of Italian style cooking and wine tasting, you can join the classy English speaking chefs who would an insight on traditional Sienese and Italian cuisine in their own kitchen. Wine tasting is even more fun when you get up close with the experts and get to know their hidden secrets, aromas, processing and preserving and the art of aging and of course you get to drink from some of the best wineries.
Are you a lover of Italian Cuisine and Medieval settings? Well Siena is a foodies’ paradise! Best of Italian Coffee, Pastry, Wine, Cheese, Smoothies, Truffles, Pastas and more from the localities of Siena are sure to give your tastebuds a heavenly experience. As a food lover you must stop for a while, shop and devour on from the array of speciality spreads in some of the best eateries here.
In Consorzio Agrario di Siena you can find the best fresh produce from the farmers of the country including fresh bakes, fruits and vegetables, and cheese.
A very famous of the region is a coffee and pastry shop called the Nannini. At Nannini service is in approximately 3-4 minutes. You can take a table separately or stand at the eating bars with the locals and make acquaintances with some of the most cheerful and hospitable people of the world. Do not forget to taste the Ricciarelli, Panforte and panpepato, the famous sweet dish of Siena.
Another good place to dine is Antica Drogheria Manganelli which was established in 1879, where you also get nicely packed take home goodies. This is a place where you will be seated in the middle of the classy medieval settings from the historic centuries of this Tuscan city, and traditional culinary delicacies, at a moderate pocket.
Being a city of History and Culture, Siena tends to have quieter activities in the evenings, like taking long walk or meeting up over drinks or coffee. There are various pubs and bars around. But Siena is also a college town, so there are musical shows, theatre performances and dance performance which could enrich your evenings as well. There are live performances, musical concerts, jazz concerts and many more hosted in various venues here. There are a few disco bars in the city which include Caffe del Corso, Barone Rosso, Al Cambio and Il Bombo. These places are open till 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and crowd is generally tourists and college students. So be sure to meet some young and adventurous people from different parts of the world.
You may visit Siena for its History and Art or for the Palio but for a person in love with fashion, Siena is one of the best places in the world to be in. Best shops are spread around the Piazza del Campo, the centre of the city and some are also scattered around the major streets and corners. You can shop for anything, ranging from warm Italian leggings to survive the cold in winter, to a bikini or any other swim wear to hit the beaches of Italy in style during the summer. There are various speciality shops and some brand shops which you are familiar with, in walking distance from the Piazza. Do check out the Brand shops such as Benetton, Dixie, Scout, Replay, Cortecci, Minotti Rugiardi, Mag Boutique, Dolcitrame and be ready to get surprised by the merchandise and the interiors. You can shop for bags, shoes, scarves, expensive outfits and swim wears. In some other traditional and comparatively smaller stores of this city, you will find fine Tuscan artisan tableware, linen tablecloths, Scarperia’s knives, collection of Wine from local wineries, handmade colourful plates, bowls, ladles, trays, mugs and jugs, famous Palio inspired toys and souvenirs for your kids, contemporary Italian furniture and lamps which will fit in your travel luggage and many more. Shops like these normally open at 9 a.m. and are open to serve your senses till 8 p.m. Most big stores stay open on Sundays but the smaller ones generally remain closed.