Attractions and Sights in Siena
Just strolling around cobbled streets in Siena and knowing the atmosphere of the pulse is an experience in itself. But there is of course plenty of other things to take a closer look at in Siena. Naturally, most of the attractions and sights are centered around Piazza del Campo.
- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Siena, Italy. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
Piazza del Campo
Siena’s huge centerpiece is Piazza del Campo, a huge square where people have met for a chat and a trade since the 1300s. The square is cobbled and if you look closely you notice that the space with the red bricks is divided almost like a pizza.
Nine lines give the space ten sections. The lines are based in front of the Palazzo Pubblico. There are probably nine lines to symbolize the power of Noveschi or IX, the name of a commercial banking regime that ruled Siena from 1287 to 1355.
Palazzo Pubblico is the red palace you quickly notice at Piazza del Campo. This was the headquarters of IX in the early 1300s and is today the seat of the Governor of Siena. There is a museum (museo Civico) inside the beautiful Palazzo Pubblico which is open from 1000 to 1900 during the high season (1800 out of high season). Here you can see, among other things, frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
With the address Piazza del Campo, 1, Palazzo Pubblico Siena has the crudest address!
Torre del Mangia
Next to the Palazzo Pubblico you will find the eye-catching tower of Torre del Mangia (see picture first in the article). Torre del Mangia is 88 meters high.
The name is funny enough named after the tower’s first guard, Giovanni Duccio. Duccio was known for spending all his money on food and drink at Siena’s many eateries. He was called Mangiaguadagni, the “money eater”. The tower was therefore called Torre del Mangia (Mangia’s Tower).
Cathedral of Siena
The black and white Cathedral of Siena is magnificent and beautiful. You almost get a sacred feeling when you look at this gem of a cathedral. And even more beautiful is the inside. There you will also find historical treasures of each other.
Note especially the four statues in front of the Piccolomini Chapel that Michelangelo himself made during the period 1501 to 1504.
The address is Piazza del Duomo
Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana
Siena’s most beautiful museum is probably the Museo dell’Opera. It belongs to the Cathedral Complex and is one of the oldest private museums in Italy and opened its doors in 1869. The museum offers statues, paintings, glass, furniture and a host of other spiritual treasures.
As you understand, the Museo dell’Opera has nothing to do with opera. The address is Via di Monna Agnes 17, right by the Cathedral.
Baptismal Chapel in Siena
You may not have thought it possible, but Siena has another church treasure that is quite on par with the Cathedral. The Battistero di San Giovanni from 1325 must be visited and seen inside. Here you will find some wonderful frescoes dating back to the 15th century. The artists include Lorenzo di Pietro and Benvenuto di Giovanni. However, the most magnificent is the baptismal font made of bronze and marble and located in the center of the church.
The address is Piazza San Giovanni.
The town hall of Salimbeni dates to the 1300s and the place it stands on is of course named after the building, ie Piazza Salimbeni. The bank Banca Monte dei Paschi is located here. This is the world’s oldest commercial bank.
The Palazzo Salimbeni has been renovated in the 19th century and therefore appears in a neo-Gothic style today.
A great museum in Siena is the Pinacoteca Nazionale. The museum offers art from Italian Renaissance and medieval artists. The address is Via S. Pietro 46.
Basilica of San Francesco
The large and magnificent reddish basilica of San Francesco dates back to 1228. Originally built by Romanesque architecture, it has been given Gothic-style additions in the 13th and 14th centuries. The address is Via Baldasarre.
Botanical garden and herbarium
You will find a beautiful botanical garden and a herbarium (museum of plants) in Siena. You will find both local and exotic plants in the garden called in Italian called Orto Botanico dell’Università di Siena.
This is a great place to bring children or simply get away from the downtown life. There is free entrance into the garden. Closed Sundays and public holidays. NB! The garden usually closes as early as 1500 on weekdays and 1230 on Saturdays. Check the homepage
The address is Via Pier Andrea Mattioli, 4.
Tourist in Siena
As a tourist in Siena, there is a lot to visit, see and experience. But the city is no bigger than that a longer stay should be spiced with excursions to vineyards or other famous Tuscan cities.
Siena has approx. 53,000 residents and although the city has many attractions, there are not as many as nearby. the big city of Florence can offer.
Transport and Siena
There are both buses and trains to Siena. The bus station is at Piazza Gramsci within the city walls. Buses run regularly to and from Florence and other cities in Tuscany. But there are also bus routes that take you all the way to Milan, or Rome for that matter.
The railway is just outside the city walls and there are good train routes to Florence and Pisa. Remember that there is train exchange in Empoli depending on where you are going next.
The city of Siena itself is so compact that you use the apostles’ horses, ie your legs. It is not far from one attraction to the other.
Tourist office in Siena
The official tourist office in Siena can be found right by the cathedral, ie at Piazza del Duomo, 2. It is open year-round, but outside the peak season there are siesta between 1300 and 1500 as well as Sundays closed.
At the tourist office you can buy a tourist pass which gives you half the price of the main tourist attractions, ie entrance to various museums and in the churches where they charge entrance fees. Siena passports will also give you preferential access to queues, which is well worth thinking about if you visit Siena in July or August.
Hiking and biking in Siena
The nature experiences are wonderful in Siena. Just remember that the area consists of hillsides up and hillsides, so you should probably be in good shape if you are going to ride far. But if you are, you will get memorable impressions from a landscape that really takes your breath away. If the hotel cannot help you with bicycles then know that there is bicycle hire at Centro Bici on Strada Massetana Romana 54 street.
Alternatively pack a backpack and take a hike. Talk to your hotel about which routes to go.
Siena and Palio
If you plan to visit Siena in early July or mid-August, you should know that it may be just when the Palio horse race is organized. If you have not pre-booked the hotel then you are probably not a vacant room to build up.
Also, all restaurants are full and you will not have a chance to get close to Piazza del Campo. This is where the race takes place. A Palio experience is a memory of a lifetime, but should be booked in advance.
Siena and personal finance
Siena is not the least expensive city to holiday in. Pleasant enough you get affordable accommodation, the quality taken into account. It should also be said that the restaurants give you great value for money in terms of food and drink.
But since you are in a prosperous region in Italy after all, you have to expect that it is not much cheaper than in Norway. For example, shopping in Siena is not much cheaper than in Oslo. But we think the product range is much more exciting then. Read more about this in Shopping in Siena.
Out of high season prices are naturally lower. Not only can you do shopping, but restaurants and hotels also tend to reduce prices somewhat.