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A Day in Siena, Italy
Spend a day in Siena to experience this compact town. We enjoyed a full day in Siena back in 2012 and then during our 90-day stay in Florence in 2017, we decided to spend several nights in Siena; just to experience the town like a local. It is quaint and charming and a true Tuscan town. The main piazza is surrounded by restaurants and shops. Each small shop is packed with olive oil, tourist trinkets, and ceramics. Beautiful ceramics with sunflowers all over them.
You can check out our previous post on Siena
Here are our six must see’s when visiting Siena in no particular order:
1. Piazza Il Campo
Located in the center of Siena is the fan-shaped square, or piazza, known as Piazza Il Campo.
This historic piazza and one of Italy’s most visited attractions has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. You might recognize this piazza from the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Along the outside border of the piazza are great restaurants to enjoy lunch, dinner, or a spritz in the mid-afternoon during warmer months. A great place to sit, relax and people-watch.
If you happen to be in Siena on either July 2nd or August 16th you will witness the famous Palio horse race. The 17 historic “contrades” (districts or neighborhoods) participate in this race. It is on our bucket list of things to see and do.
2. Torre del Magnia
The Torre del Magnia, or tower, is located in Piazza Il Campo and dates back to the 14th century. It is worth the 500 steps to climb to the top as it has amazing views of the city. You can recognize this tower from a distance by its distinctive white crown.
3. The Duomo
The Cathedral (Duomo) was built during the 12th century and is a true masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. You will want to spend time walking through this huge place admiring the black and white marble structure and the beautiful floors.
Inside the Cathedral is the Piccolomini Library which is dedicated to Pope Pius II. It has breathtaking frescoes painted by Pinturicchio and his pupils, including Raphael Sanzio in the early 1500s.
Also inside the Cathedral is a crypt which is located under the Cathedral. Here are many extraordinary frescoes of the thirteenth century representing scenes of the Old and New Testament.
4. The Baptistry
The baptistry, Battistero di San Giovanni another building in the Cathedral complex rich in the artwork. The early Renaissance art includes frescoes by Lorenzo di Pietro.
Tickets cost €4, or for the excellent-value €13 cumulative ticket you get to visit the Cathedral, the Piccolomini library, and the crypt.
5. The Facciatone
The Facciatone remains as an unfinished facade of the cathedral. If completed, the addition would have nearly doubled the area of the cathedral. You can go inside and climb up this narrow walkway for amazing views of the city.
6. Palazzo Salimbeni
The Palazzo Salimbeni, located in the piazza of the same name, is the Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of the oldest banks in continuous existence in Europe. There is nothing really to actually see but the building is beautiful.
Some views of the city…
We strongly recommend you save some time to just stroll through the streets of the city and browse the shops.
When wandering the streets, notice the different colors and emblems of the various contrade districts that you’ll find hanging from the doors and windows of houses. It’s a friendly town and one we would consider making our home.