Siena is the capital city of the Province of Siena, situated in the romantic Tuscany region of Italy. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this medieval city has enchanted visitors for many years. Well known for its delicious authentic Italian cuisine, distinguished art collection, beautiful museums and the romantic ageless cityscape, this ancient city is one of Italy’s most visited tourist destinations.
People must have wondered many times what lies behind the timeless walls that envelope the city of Siena, and tourists in this city can explore and experience what the picturesque old city has to offer. Visitors from around the globe can fly in and get comfortable shuttles from Ampugnano Airport in Siena, Marconi Airport in Bologna, as well as through the flights services at the airports in Florence and Pisa. Those coming from the nearby countries can take the Sita buses or ride the train and stop at Empoli station. Other visitors who prefer to travel by car can take the route from Chianigiana from the north going to Florence or take the Autoway from Rome.
Siena offers an impeccable view of living in the old times with its amazing and breathtaking medieval edifices and landscapes. Some say all you really need to do is walk up and down the streets to enjoy a lovely Siena visit, as its buildings and monuments are in itself a great historical and artistic treat. Of course, since you are already there, a trip to a number of its majestic museums must be on top of your travel itinerary. Begin your tour with the Museo Civico that includes the city’s best painting collection. Then wander off to the Pinacoteca Nazionale for more beautiful paintings, dating back to medieval days, and for one of the best examples of Italian Gothic architecture. And do not forget to visit the Museo dell’ Opera Metropolitana! Bear in mind that a visit to this quaint Italian city is in itself one unforgettable immersion in the arts that even when you visit their city hospital, Santa Maria della Scala, you will be enthralled by the many frescoes that adorn its 900 year old halls.
Of course any visit to Siena is never entirely complete without visiting the cathedral which has made this Italian city a world famous attraction, the Duomo. The glorious black and white cathedral of Romanesque design also includes a number of attractions that are worthy of your visit: the Baptistery, the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the Libredia Piccolomini. You can also enjoy a breathtaking view of the city from the museum. Just a few blocks away from the Duomo is another distinguished Siena attraction, the birthplace of St. Catherine of Siena, one of Italy’s principal patron saints. Other must visit attractions include the shell shaped Piazza del Campo, the race track for the famous Siena festival, the Palio; Piazza Publico with the 800 year old city hall that also houses famous frescoes and offers a stunning view of the Siena countryside; Palazzo Salimbeni which contains interesting documents about the history of banking as well as an assortment of marvelous art pieces. Lastly, you can never go wrong if you visit the home for Siena’s official archives, the Florentine designed Piccolomini Palace built in 1459.
Apart from its numerous wonderful buildings and arts, Siena is also known for its authentic Italian cuisine. Guests should not leave this city without dining in one of its many lovely restaurants. To start your gastronomic experience, start with Trattoria La Torre, located in the heart of the city. This lovely restaurant has been offering delicious Tuscan specialties for over 50 years. Their menu includes gnocchi, a number of delectable pasta dishes and tortellini dela torre. Do not forget to sample their excellent roast dishes. For those who would like to learn how decadent Siena dishes are made, you can always visit Ecco La Cucina for a delightful cooking lesson.
Some other interesting items to experience while vacationing in Siena is its popular festivals starting with the Palio Horse Festival, an unparalleled horse race held at the Campo on July 2 and August 16. Those musically inclined will definitely enjoy the classical concerts at Accademia Musicale Chigiana, as well as the Siena Jazz Festival, held during summertime.