What to do, see and taste in Siena
If you are planning a trip to Siena, you cannot miss these 10 tips
Listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, Siena is the Gothic Dream in the heart of Tuscany. Surrounded by its medieval walls, with its history, art and local traditions, Siena is one of the most visited cities in Tuscany. If you are planning a trip to Tuscany, you cannot miss Siena. And if you are coming to Siena, these are the things to do, see and taste in Siena in order to experience the city as a local.
The first thing to do in Siena is…
1. …to see the Palio!
Twice a year, the most famous historical horse race takes place in the beautiful Piazza del Campo. So if you are planning to come during summer, write down these two dates: July 2ndand August 16th. Actually, the race lasts only 2 minute, but you will be immersed for 4 days in a magical atmosphere, surrounded by drums, flags, traditional songs, and dinners along the city.
2. Torre del Mangia
Still in Piazza del Campo, if you have good lungs to face 332 steps, you have to climb up to the top of the Torre del Mangia. With its 88 meters, it’s one of the highest towersin Italy. From here you will enjoy a fantastic view over city.
3. Duomo di Siena
With its black and white marbles, it doesn’t need an introduction. The Cathedral, dedicated to the to the Assumption of Mary, will leave you breathless. Don’t forget to visit the Libreria Piccolomini, with its frescoes painted by Pinturicchio. The access to the Library is a small door on the left side of the church. You will discover a real treasure!
4. Santa Maria della Scala
This is one of the oldest Hospitals in Europe, emblem of the great hospitality tradition of Siena. Right in from of the Duomo, the Santa Maria della Scala is now a museum, spread over four floors. It is still possible to visit the old part of the hospital.
5. Taste typical local excellences
Each period of the year has it own delights to taste. We open the year with the “frittelle del Savelli”. These round fried pastries are typical during the Carnival and you can find them right in Piazza del Campo. With the sunny days it’s also ice cream time! You can find the best gelato in town in Via San Pietro, near the Duomo and Santa Maria della Scala. In Autumn it’s a real must for all the Sieneses to eat “Pan co’ Santi”, bread with Saints, from “Il Magnifico” bakery. Last but not least… “ciaccino del Poppi”. Everyone in the city will tell you where to buy this white pizza!
6. Contrada’s parties
From the beginning of May to the end of September, all the 17 Contrade organize partiesto celebrate their Patron Saints. Music, dinners and parades, will drive you through the Sienese summer. All are welcome to these events, no matter the age, religion or the political preferences… as long as you don’t belong to the enemy Contrada!
7. Selfie with the “Cipressi”
What else is there to do in Siena? You cannot come back home without the “Cipressi picture”. Famous all over the world, these are the photos that best represent the Sienese countryside. You can discover the Tuscan landscape, joining an organized Vespa scooter tour, riding a bike or taking a hike.
8. Spa baths
Among the many things to do in Siena, don’t forget to take your time to relax! Only half hour from the city lie many thermal springs, the ideal place to regenerate yourself. So, if you are looking for some relax, Terme di Rapolano or Terme di Petriolo are the right tips for you.
9. Wine tasting
Here is what to taste in Siena… From the Chianti area, to the Brunello and Nobile di Montepulciano: you are spoiled for choice of where to do your wine tasting, so choose your wine and lets toast!
10. Cooking Lessons
Before leaving, the last thing to do is learning some culinary secrets of all the dishes you have tasted during your stay in Siena. What about a cooking class? “Pici cacio e pepe”, “tagliatelle al ragù”, “spezzatino di cinghiale”, “pappa al pomodoro”, “cantucci” … they will not hold any more secret from you!