Among the many cities of art in Tuscany, Siena is one of the most appreciated by travelers from all over the world. A city on a human scale, rich in art and history that shines in its perfect medieval balance. Visiting Siena is a unique emotion. Walking slowly through its narrow streets you will discover a lively city. A cultural center rich in history and art with strong traditions, linked above all to the districts of the Palio. In this article we recommend what to visit in Siena to make your tour in this fascinating city even more interesting.
1. Piazza del Campo
The first stop on your tour can only be Piazza del Campo in Siena, the symbolic place of the city. Its shell shape and its slope make it unique in the world. It is accessed from the picturesque alleys and the square opens beautiful and majestic with a surprising effect that will leave you breathless. Piazza del Campo is the beating heart of the city where the famous Palio di Siena is held.
2. The Town Hall and the Mangia Tower
Many stately buildings overlook Piazza del Campo and the most beautiful of all is the Town Hall with the splendid Mangia Tower. Here you can spend a couple of hours visiting the Civic Museum which houses artistic masterpieces including the Allegory of Good and Bad Government.
Next to the Town Hall you can visit the Mangia Tower. With its height of 88 meters and 400 steps it offers an enchanting view of the city.
3. The Duomo of Siena
Wonderful. After seeing Piazza del Campo it is difficult to expect to be astonished again. Instead, when you are in front of the Duomo of Siena with its beautiful facade with white and black marble you will be amazed. But this is not the best part. The best is inside: the floor decorated with precious mosaics is stunning.
According to the initial project, the current Duomo should have been only one wing of the church. Today the “Facciatone” (facade) remains visible and open to testify that this colossal project remained incomplete.
4. The Baptistery
Just behind the Duomo of Siena is the baptistery. For centuries the Baptistery contended for the Duomo as the most important religious place in the city. Inside there are works of rare beauty. The protagonist is the baptismal font in bronze and marble, the best artists of the period worked on this masterpiece.
5. The Piccolomini library
A very suggestive place. It is accessed from the left aisle of the Duomo. Precious books from the fifteenth century are still preserved here. The frescoes by Pinturicchio that color the walls make this place really stunning, giving the impression of having entered a Cathedral of culture.
6. The Fortress
The fortress is a very important place for the Sienese. A fort built in the sixteenth century located near the district of San Prospero, next to the stadium. Today it is the scene of important events and cultural initiatives. Around the fortress there’s the beautiful Parco della Rimembranza with its fountain, ideal for a relaxing break.
7. Sanctuary of Santa Caterina
Another place we want to recommend is the Sanctuary of Santa Caterina. A treasure chest of sacred art. It is accessed by the spectacular neo-Renaissance portico from which you gain entry to the two symbolic places of the complex: the Church of the Crucifix and the Oratorio della Cucina.
8. The Botanical Garden
A large green space in the heart of the city. Housed within the medieval walls, the botanical garden of Siena is very old, dating back to ‘500. Walking through its paths, among rare plants and artificial lakes you can see the profile of the city all around.
9. The museum of Contradas
When we thinks of Siena, the Palio immediately comes to mind. This event is held twice a year, on 2 July and 16 August. To experience the magic of the Palio at other times of the year you can visit the museums of the districts. You have to book in advance and you can not visit them all in one day. But it is worth visiting some, you can see memorabilia, images, testimonies and of course the Palios won.
10. San Domenico
Just outside the fourteenth-century walls this is one of the most beautiful churches in Siena. The reason why it is famous is because here is preserved the head-relic of Santa Caterina, patron saint of the city. A seemingly bare church with only one nave, actually full of priceless works of art. Even the view from the outside of the church is beautiful, with a view of the Duomo and the Torre del Mangia.