Just a few hours away from Florence, Siena is a medieval gem located in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. It’s quite full of medieval charm, gorgeous artwork, and delicious Italian food. And if that weren’t enough, there’s still a horse race that goes on every year in the town center that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here’s how to spend one day in Siena!
Start at Piazza Del Campo
Start at Piazza Del Campo. Regarded as one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares, the architecture surrounding this square is simply stunning, and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site! If you come during the right time of year (the 2nd of July or the 16th of August) you can witness the Palio di Siena here, which is a good old-fashioned horse race!
One of the buildings surrounding Piazza Del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico is the perfect way to start off your trip to Siena. Back in the middle ages, this served as the Republic of Siena’s government building. Now it houses their civic museum and fresco collection, which you can tell is very impressive.
This museum houses art that used to be in the Duomo of Siena, including a number of statues by Giovanni Pisano. As you can tell from the photo, the works of art in here are absolutely stunning.
Panorama del Facciatone
For a phenomenal view over the city, climb 131 narrow, spiral steps up to this view-point. Access to the viewpoint is included in the ticket to the Museo dell’Opera, and you can access this from one of the higher floors of the museum.
Eat Lunch in the Piazza
After climbing all those steps you’re probably hungry, so I recommend going to eat lunch in the Piazza you were in earlier for the best views. I highly recommend Bar Il Palio and the gnocchi they serve there, it was absolutely delicious.
The Piccolomini Library is also known as the Siena Cathedral, because with gorgeous frescos plastered on the walls, this library is more of an art museum than a bibliophile haven. Nevertheless, it is quite well worth the visit!
Battistero di San Giovanni
Interestingly, since Siena is built on a hillside, the baptistry is actually built right underneath the Siena Cathedral! Just like the Cathedral above it, the Baptistry displays stunning architecture.
The quaint little streets of Siena are filled with shops ranging from high-end fashion brands to family-owned boutiques. Explore them all and maybe purchase a little souvenir to take home with you!
In every Italian city, one of the must-do activities is always to eat gelato. I highly recommend Caffe la Costarella for the exceptional gelato selection. While I was there they were also offering delicious mulled wine which I also highly recommend.
Roam the Streets
Last but not least, I recommend that you spend an hour or so just exploring on foot the narrow, winding streets of Siena. They are all quaint and photogenic and could definitely lead to some great photos.
Have you ever been to Siena? What did you see? What did you eat? Let me know in the comments below!