Siena, information and advice on one of Tuscany's most beautiful hill towns


Siena is a small, friendly city, easily walkable. It makes a great base for exploring this part of Central Tuscany.


We have a wide range of fantastic Siena villas,in or very close to the city to suit all tastes and budgets. Browse our site or get in touch if you need our advice choosing your perfect villa in Tuscany.


Here is a map of Siena and its surroundings.

Siena is set in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, approx. 70 kms from Florence. Although today, tourism is the main activity, in centuries past, during the middle ages, it was a proud, wealthy, and warlike independent city-state. Today visitors from all over the world can peacefully stroll through its narrow streets, exploring each of the "Contradas" or local neighborhoods. The "contradas" really come to life during the “palio”, which is a horse race, which takes place twice a year (2 July and 16 Aug) in the main "Piazza del Campo". But be warned! This is no tourist pageant. There is serious rivalry between the 17 competing Contradas. It is a not to be missed spectacle. This video really shows the raw emotion involved.


Siena is probably the only city in Mediterranean Europe where parking is not a massive headache (there is ample parking all round the city walls), The centre of Siena is accessible only on foot and except for police cars, ambulances and a few small buses, which cover some streets the city has a quiet atmosphere of times gone by.


Siena is a beautifully preserved medieval city, even walking the streets is a treat. Its main attractions are -

- The Piazza del Campo, the unique shell shaped piazza at the centre of the city, and twice a year the racetrack for the Palio. Is a great place for people watching, whilst enjoying an ice cream or glass of wine.

- The Palazzo Pubblico, Siena's City Hall for almost 800 years, contains (amongst many other things) the famous frescos on good and bad government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, frescoes by Simone Martini and Duccio, and access to the Torre di Mangia, from whose top you can view a beautiful panorama of the Sienese countryside.

- The Duomo, Siena's magnificent black and white Italian Romanesque cathedral including the Libreria Piccolomini, Baptistery (separate entrance and charge), and an attached Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (separate entrance and charge), which includes the famous Maestà by Duccio. After you've seen all the art, you can also treat yourself to a beautiful panorama from Il Facciatone in the museum.

- The Pinacoteca, full of Sienese painting from the city's Medieval heyday.


- Palio Horse Race - a horse race like nowhere else, between the 17 contrade of Siena, is run in The Campo of Siena on July 2 and August 16. All Sienese are affiliated with one of the contrade, to which a typical Sienese feels loyal with a strength perhaps surpassed only by their loyalty to their family. Since the 11th century, the Sienese have conducted festivals every year where the contrade compete for renown (and in times gone by, actual political power) through contests such as flag throwing, horse racing and even fist fights. The fist fights no longer happen but the spirit of competition between contrade is still fierce.

- Classical concerts during the summer at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and at various locations in the city during the Settimana Musicale Senese.

- Siena Jazz Festival during summer.


- Excellent “Gelato” can be found just off the Campo at two great ice cream shops called "Il Gelato" and "Brivido".

- For something more substantial, "La Chiacchiera" next to the House of St Catherine is an excellent source of typical Tuscan cuisine; the pici (thick, homemade noodles) are superb.

- Osteria Nonna Gina, Piano dei Mantellini, 2, +39 0577 287247. This osteria, outside the Due Porte, is recommended.

- Osteria del Gatto, Via di San Marco, 8 (San Marco quarter), +39 0577 287133 12:15-14:30/19:45-22:00. This cosy osteria in Via di San Marco, not far from the above Nonna Gina, is also recommended. Menu will be in Italian but the waiters and the cooks will be available for a translation "on the fly".

- Osteria Sotto le Fonti, Via Esterna Fontebranda, 114, 0577-226446, Restaurant off the beaten path, with owners who serve you personally; the waitress speaks fluently English and knows how to recommend you wine, as she is also a wine tour guide. Is a pleasant walk downhill shortly outside the gates of the city, allowing you to look up at the top of the Duomo.

- Nannini, Banchi di Sopra, +39 0577 286050. A bakery/cafe with an excellent selection of Tuscan pastries: Ricciarelli, Cavalucci, Cantucci, Panforte (a unique kind of dense cake, made of honey, flour, almonds, candied fruits, a secret blend of spices, etc, etc.

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