This list of places to visit in Siena will help you prepare your trip and not miss out the beautiful cities in Italy, which we are sure will end up surprising you. This small town, always in the shadow of its neighbor and older sister Florence, is one of the essential places to see in Tuscany. Without having the tourist maps of Florence, in it, you will be able to know with tranquility its enormous historical and artistic heritage, in which time seems to have stopped in the middle ages.
10 places to visit in Siena
Based on our experience in the time we spent in this city during our trip to La Toscana in 4 days, we have compiled a list of what we think, are the 10 places to visit in Siena essential. We start!
1. Piazza del Campo
It is located in the heart of the historic center, are the icon of the city and one of the most beautiful places to see in Siena. Surrounded by historic buildings such as the Public Palace, this shell-shaped square has its worldwide fame for the celebration of the horse race of the Palio, a festival of medieval origin, in which each neighborhood of the city competes with a horse, and It is celebrated twice a year, on July 2 and August 16.
In the square also deserves special mention the Torre del Mangia, the highest in Siena, from which you will have fantastic views of the square and the entire city, giving you a unique perspective. Other highlights of Piazza del Campo are the Cappella Della Piazza from the late 14th century and the Gaia Fountain from the 14th century, located in the center of Piazza del Campo.
Hours of the Torre del Mangia: every day from 10 am to 7 pm
Public Palace Hours: every day from 10 am to 6 pm
The Duomo or Cathedral of Santa María de la Asunción declared a World Heritage Site and considered one of the most beautiful churches in the world, is another must-see in Siena. Built between 1215 and 1263, in Italian Gothic style, it impresses because it is all built in white and green marble and inside, on the marble floor with inlays and panels depicting biblical episodes.
Also inside you have several works of art such as the magnificent pulpit, the altar and several sculptures of several of the great masters of the time, among which stand out those dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, the work of Michelangelo.
Although for us the most special place in the cathedral is the Piccolomini Library, with impressive frescoes on the walls and ceiling, which will make you remember for a moment the Sistine Chapel.
The best option to visit the entire cathedral complex in Siena is the OPA Si Pass card or book this quick access ticket that includes the cathedral, the baptistery, the crypt, the Piccolomini library, the Museo dell’Opera and the Facciatone (Panorama Viewpoint) ).
3. Panorama Viewpoint
The Panorama of Facciatone viewpoint, located next to the cathedral, has the best views of the historic center and is another place to see in Siena. This viewpoint is part of the façade of what was to be the new cathedral of Siena, and that could not be finished due to an epidemic of plague.
To enjoy the views of Siena and Piazza del Campo, you have to enter through the Opera Museum and climb more than 200 steps up narrow stairs. Keep in mind that in high season, the queues can reach an hour, so it is advisable to go first thing.
Visiting hours: every day from 10 am to 7 pm from March to October,
The other months close at 5:30 p.m.
4. The Baptistery
The Baptistery of San Juan, built in Gothic style in 1390, is another of the jewels and places to visit in Siena. The interior is full of art, which highlights its frescoes, which cover ceilings and walls, and especially the impressive baptismal font of bronze and marble made by great Renaissance masters such as Donatello or Lorenzo Ghiberti.
Visiting hours: every day from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
5. Piazza Salimbeni
The small Piazza Salimbeni, located in the heart of the old town and surrounded by several historic buildings, is another of the most beautiful places in Siena. Among the buildings that surround it, the Palazzo Salimbeni is the most important and in which is the central office of the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, a bank with more than 500 years of history.
The other two buildings in this rectangular square are Palazzo Tantucci and Palazzo Spannocchi. We stayed at the Albergo Chiusarelli hotel, located near the Siena bus station, with parking, good breakfast, and a great quality/price ratio.
6. Basilica of Santo Domingo
The Basilica of Santo Domingo, built in the 13th century and enlarged in the 14th century, is another of the must-sees in Siena.
This huge church of Gothic style and sober aspect, in keeping with the spirit of the mendicant orders, stands out for the several frescoes on the life of Santa Catalina, which can be seen inside, closely linked to this church and Siena, and a tabernacle where the uncorrupted head of the Saint is preserved.
Visiting hours: every day from 7 am to 6:30 pm
7. Castle of Santa Barbara
Santa Bárbara Castle is a fortress built by the powerful Medici family in 1563 and in which a public park is known today as La Lizza is located, ideal for running or walking.
Although the aspect makes it one of the places to visit in Siena, is its magnificent views of the entire city with the Duomo, which are in the end the great protagonists.
8. Piazza del Mercato
The Piazza del Mercato, with a central arcade of the 19th century, known as Tartarugone, is one of the most important squares to see in Siena.
Located behind the Public Palace, this huge square fills with people during the market that is celebrated every Sunday, in which all kinds of fresh and quality products are sold. Also, the square has the peculiarity of being open on one side, which allows having a good view of the Tuscan countryside.
9. The historic center of Siena
Strolling through the narrow, cobbled streets lined with shops, restaurants and artisan workshops in the historic center. It is one of the best things to see in Siena.
Among historical buildings, squares and palaces, there are the streets Bianchi di Sopra, which together with the Citta street and the streets around Piazza del Campo, constitute the most interesting area of this ancient medieval city.
10. Palazzo Chigi Saracini
The Palazzo Chigi Saracini in Gothic style, built in the 12th century, is another of the most beautiful palaces to visit in Siena. Located on Via di Città, this medieval palace has an original curved façade and a beautiful backyard that is currently the headquarters of the Accamedia Musicale Chigiana, one of the most prestigious music schools in the world.
How to get to Siena from Florence or Pisa
To get to Siena by plane, it is best to land in Florence, located 80 kilometers away, or in Pisa, located 130 kilometers away.
If you do not want to rent a car, the best option to get to Siena is to take the train, which takes an hour and a half from the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence, while the train that leaves from the Pisa airport takes a little more than two hours.
The two stop in Empoli and leave you at the Siena station, located 2 kilometers from the historic center.
Another good way to get to Siena from Florence is by bus from the SITA bus station, located near Santa Maria Novella, on a journey of just over an hour.