What to do in Siena in 1-2 days? The main attractions and interesting places of the Italian city you need to see, ticket prices 2023. What is the first a tourist should visit in Siena, where to stay and to go in the vicinity – in the material of good Time for Trip.
In Siena, a big by the standards of Tuscany and a surprisingly beautiful city, travelers do not stay long. One, maximum, 2 days, they set aside for a visit – foreigners traveling in Italy don’t intend to spend more time on some kind of “province”.
When the plans include a detailed sightseeing of Rome. A visit to Milan or Venice, the same Florence…
And this is unfair. Moreover, it’s just wrong, as there are a lot of things to do in Siena.
As you maybe know, this city was once an influential republic. A powerful competitor of Florence and the leader of banking in Europe. Original churches, houses and palaces were built here, art and trade flourished.
Today, one of the prettiest Tuscan cities is in a kind of tourist vacuum. Which, however, only did it good, allowing to keep a lot of buildings in almost pristine condition. As well as the wonderful peaceful atmosphere of antiquity.
Therefore – do not hesitate! Come and see Siena for a couple of days. And then linger just as long – this medieval city definitely treats mental injuries and restores energy reserves no worse than an elite sanatorium.
But before we begin our story about the main sights you should visit in Siena, let us give you an advice.
How to Get to the Old Town of Siena
The fact is that Siena stands on the hills. And in order to get to the old town from the train station, for example, you will have to sweat.
Well, or to know that there is a free travelator that lifts both from the bottom to the top, and descends in the opposite direction.
So right from the train station go to the travelator, a four-span escalator hidden in the bowels of the shopping complex. It will lift you to the top of the hill – otherwise you will be climbing up for a long time.
From the upper exit of the travelator to the Porta Camolia, the gate leading to the old town of Siena, less than 5 minutes on foot!
At the exit, just turn to the left and walk some distance along a pretty shady street. After 2-3 minutes, you will come to an ancient arch at a three-beam intersection. This is the Porta Camolia. The cherished ancient portal, behind which all the most interesting things in Siena are hidden.
On the way, you may go to the other side of the street and try the incredibly delicious Italian gelato. Which is sold directly at a street kiosk.
Top Attractions of Siena
In general, they are listed on hundreds of pages in the Internet. But we have our own opinion about what to visit in Siena in the first, second and other places!
To begin with, a tip – don’t pass by old churches that are literally everywhere. If you see an open door – go inside, in many cases it’s absolutely free!
There are usually few, if any, visitors inside Sienese churches that are not advertised by guidebooks. But there is a wonderful, soothing atmosphere, literally the aura of a place that you will probably meet only in Italy. Even today, they revere deeply rooted ancient traditions here.
Rows of wooden benches, Gothic pointed arches that are hundreds of years old, the sun, gilding walls – it’s worth it to linger for an extra 10-20 minutes. The statue of the Madonna, Christ on the cross in the center of the altar, glowing candles – no one and nothing will prevent you from communicating with God and looking inside yourself. And to come out a little different, a much more integral person…
Another memorable attraction of Siena on the way to its center is Palazzo Salimbieni, standing on the square of the same name. This palace is the ancestral home of an influential local family. Then it became the headquarters of a large local bank – Monte dei Paschi.
This credit institution considered to be the oldest in the world. And until recently, it was the most influential in Italy. The bank was ruined by the passion for investing in residential real estate – the crisis in this area, which happened at the beginning of the XXI century, instantly turned assets into unsecured and “bad”.
Well, now about the main thing – in Siena, you should definitely visit
Piazza del Campo
the central square of the city. It is not flat, like most of its “normal” colleagues, but is a cobblestone amphitheater tilted to the middle.
It is on Piazza del Campo on July 2 and August 16 that the famous Siena Palio, horse races on bareback horses, are held annually. A wonderful and amazing tradition that comes from the depths of the Middle Ages.
By the way, not just jockeys and horses compete in horse racing, but Sienese contrads. That is, 17 urban areas that have not needed to figure out who is better with fists or sticks for centuries.
At the base of Piazza del Campo stands the palace of the local (Republican!) authorities,
And the tower, the bell on which informed the townspeople about all important events, Torre del Mangia.
The palazzo was once the center of city and republican self-government, now it has a museum. Some original interiors and furniture have been preserved, as well as frescoes of the XIV century!
To be honest – to sit on the stones of the Piazza del Campo and to see Palazzo Publico – main things to do in Siena!
The ticket costs 6 €, visitors with children pass on a family ticket for 22 €: comune.siena.it/node/478. A visit to Torre del Mangia is prudently not included in the indicated price. A complex ticket costs 24 (40) €.
Apparently, you need to go inside, even if you planned to spend only 1 day on a trip to Siena. To see how republican institutions were organized in medieval Italy, admire the frescoes of the Pre-Renaissance period.
This fountain in Piazza del Campo will attract the attention of any tourist. After all, the “Joyous Fountain”, which is a rectangular pool, is a fine example of the quattrocento, that is, the early Renaissance (the beginning of the XV century).
Of course, we would recommend walking around the square with a guide. Moreover, Piazza del Campo is usually one of the points of the excursion program, which also includes visits to other Siena’s attractions.
By the way, you can also buy interesting Italian souvenirs here. For a slightly higher price, however, than in other, not so touristic, locations of the Tuscan city.
Where to Eat
Next, you should refresh yourself – with some original Italian dishes, and even pasta. There are plenty of restaurants where it is served in the streets near Piazza del Campo.
But you need to choose carefully! And by no means directly on the square.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants serving pasta and homemade pizza in the surrounding streets. The quality of the establishment is determined simply: if the tables on the terrace are occupied by Italians themselves, feel free to go inside!
Pizza Margarita costs there from 6 €. Pasta, the like of which you will never buy in a store, is about the same. Drinks – from 5-6 € for a bottle of water (1.5 liters) or beer (0.5).
In general, food prices in Italy are quite moderate. If, of course, you buy products in chain supermarkets, and not in local family shops.
Siena Cathedral and Piccolomini Library
After you get some rest, it’s time to pay a thorough visit to the Cathedral of Siena. After all, it is literally beautiful, the whole outside is decorated with white and pink marble, a kind of giant handmade jewelry box.
Such an architectural solution is not original for Tuscany. For example, the same Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence is covered from the base to the roof with white-green marble from the outside.
Inside, the Siena Cathedral is organized very interestingly: the arches are supported by bundles of 4 black-and-white (these are the colors of the city) columns.
To the right, in the course of the visitors’ movement, there is a door through which you can get to the famous Piccolomini library, all painted with frescoes by Pinturicchio, the “little artist”. There are several chapels on the left side of the central nave. And, in particular, the one dedicated to the patroness of the city, St. Catherine of Siena.
A visit to Siena Cathedral and the library will cost only 4-6 € (2023) – even poor citizens will not find a reason to save. A complex ticket, including a visit to the museum, costs from 8 (winter) to 15 (summer) €: operalaboratori.vivaticket.it/en/tour/complesso-monumentale-del-duomo-di-siena/2589.
San Domenico and Medici Fortress
From the cathedral we recommend walking to the Basilica of San Domenico. Whose simple but grandiose building rises 5 minutes’ walk from Piazza del Campo.
The brick hulk, devoid of architectural delights, makes a colossal impression with its power and asceticism.
Inside, everything is different than in Siena Cathedral: a lot of free space and a minimum of columns. Only the ceiling soars high, candles crackle softly in the chapels of the altar space. There are especially many of them in the chapel of St. Catherine.
A 3-5-minute walk from the basilica is the Medici Fortress, built according to all the canons of fortification art. The walls inspire respect with their thickness, it is not easy to find an entrance. Therefore, we inform you that it is located on the right, if you go from San Domenico.
There is nothing to look at inside the fortress: only a space where parades and divorces were held, and beautiful fountains that no longer beat. Admission is free and you can relax on the benches…
And from the height of the walls, take a tired look at the beautiful Siena or the Tuscan hills in the distance. And next to them, at the bottom, just sit on a bench near the fountains. Resting after a busy day and enjoying solitude – tourists rarely come to this part of the city.
Where to Stay
From all of the above, it can be concluded that in Siena you should stay more than one day. Tourists who are not burdened with personal or rented vehicles can afford to do it right in the old town.
However, this is not too cheap – a room even out of season costs from 100-120 euros per day. But for such a location, which is different, for example, B&B Il Corso, which is situated just 50 meters from Piazza del Campo, it is not a sin to pay! Moreover, everything else in it is at a “height”: from wooden ceiling beams to staff.
For autotravellers we advise to stay in a suburban hotel. This is unlikely to save significantly, but it will reward you with an interesting experience of living in the Tuscan “wilderness”.
Bus service, by the way, is well established here. Since many locals go to the city to work.
What to Do Near Siena
If you don’t come on palio days: on July 2 and August 16, the city will certainly charm with its indescribable aura and soothing tranquility.
Everyone should wander around Siena. Soak up the atmosphere, eat simple but incredibly delicious foods in local restaurants, drink real chianti, overeat gelato – it’s fantastic here!
Doing nothing will take a day or two. And we assure you – you will remember this episode of your life, as well as dream of returning, for a long time!
There are some incredibly romantic old basilicas near Siena. A visit to each of which is like a day spent in a sanatorium – so it heals a soul wounded by everyday running around.
Let’s mention, for example, one of the most significant buildings, the Basilica dell’Osservanza, standing on top of a green hill. It is worth watching and photographing at dawn, when the rising sun paints the brick walls in amazing colors.
Of course, you need to drive your own or rented car – the distance is small, and there is an excellent chance to see Tuscany. The “natural” one, which they like to give as an example, talking about “real Italy”.
This region is very sunny and extremely sincere, the most introverted person flourishes here. By the way, such people as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarotti were born in Tuscany.
Going north from Siena to see Florence, a road traveler can turn off along the way to pay a visit to San Gimignano, “The City of 14 Towers”. A perfectly preserved monument of the XV-XVI centuries, beloved by organized tourist groups.
If you choose the option with a train, it becomes difficult to get there (train plus bus). But along the way you can explore the town-station Poggibonsi, literally charming in its simple beauty.
Not so loved by travelers, that is, Montalcino is just less well-known 40 km south of Siena. Where the most expensive wine in Italy is produced, Brunello di Montalcino. The place, however, is pretty in itself and definitely worth a visit!
How to Get
Day tourists arrive here mainly by train or bus – it’s more convenient. It is also possible to get to Siena by car, but this requires being a fan of autotravellings – the paths here are winding and steep.
It takes less than 1.5 hours to get to the city from Florence by train. From the Siena train station to the center at first glance is very far away, but in fact you will spend no more than 15 minutes to get there. We have given details on this subject from the very beginning of our material.
From Rome, a regular train takes almost 4 hours. Of course: two transfers: in Orte and Chuisi-Chianciano Terme! The Frecciarossa express will save 30 minutes, but it will cost more. And, by the way, in any case, he will first “run” to Florence.
The most correct transport for a trip from Rome to Siena is a bus!
The vehicle of the famous company Flixbus will cover the distance in 2 hours and 40 minutes, a ticket for an adult costs a little more than 30 €. You can view the schedule and book seats on the official website of the company.
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