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. Click on the image or villa name for more information. If you don't see a villa that suits, please get in touch, we have lots more.
VILLA SANT ANGELO
- Relax in the peace and quiet of the Tuscan countryside, enjoying
the breathtaking views from your pool, maybe even sipping on a glass of
local wine. Then, when you have the urge to explore, hop in the car or
train and you can be in Siena in a matter of minutes. We have a wide
range of villas near Siena. Click on the nav bar on the left for more
– If you'd prefer to be in the centre of things then stay at a hotel in Siena city centre,
(here are some of our favourite Siena Hotels available from our hotels partner)
. leaving your car in one of the many car parks round the walls. You’ll
be able to enjoy its unique Italian hill town atmosphere and then go on
day trips exploring the wonderful Tuscan countryside nearby.
Whichever you choose, Siena Villa or Siena Hotel, you're sure to enjoy this stunning part of 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,