Impressively. imposing. Magical. Siena is a city that will definitely be remembered – we can reveal that much. Of all the cities in Tuscany and in all of Italy, Siena stands out in particular.
Why is that? The cityscape of Siena is unique. Once arrived, one feels transported directly to the Middle Ages. A sea of houses in terracotta tones, gigantic sights (especially the cathedral!) and the feeling of having landed in a film set – that is Siena.
In this blog article we not only show you the top sights in Siena, we also tell you our personal tips for the perfect holiday. We have discovered some insider tips that we are of course happy to share with you. 1. Siena in Tuscany: First information, travel tips & FAQs Exciting facts about Siena at a glance With good 50. Inhabitants Siena is comparatively manageable. The city is big enough to offer an incredible wealth of impressive sights. And yet small enough to reach everything on foot and find your way around quickly. When we describe the cityscape would it be: Middle Ages and Gothic. The streets of Siena with their tall, medieval-looking houses feel a bit like the film set. In any case, the old town is (how could it be otherwise) part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Very nice: The car traffic in the old town is heavily regulated, so that the center is almost car-free. You can look forward to a very relaxed stroll.Siena = Palio. At least according to the locals. Twice a year (July 2 and 16. August) the city is in a state of emergency. That is when the controversial and world-famous horse race takes place on the Piazza del Campo. Siena is a University City. More precisely, the University of Siena is one of the oldest in Italy. You can definitely tell from the range of cafés and restaurants that there are a lot of young people in Siena. How many days should I plan for Siena? The first question you should ask yourself is: do you “just” want to go to Siena for a day trip or would you rather spend several days there? We definitely tend towards the latter.
We ourselves stayed two nights in Siena on our round trip through Tuscany and found this time frame super. So we had enough time to visit the most important sights of Siena in peace and to stroll through the city without a plan.
If you also want to explore the area around Siena (e.g. Val d’Orcia, Volterra, San Gimignano), then we would recommend at least four nights recommend.
If you want to head for Siena as part of a day trip, then don’t worry: you’ll get a good insight after just a few hours. In any case, one day in Siena is sufficient for the most important sights and highlights.
What not to miss in Siena? For those who want it short and sweet, here is a small best-of list. (Of course, more information about these highlights will follow in the course of the blog article.)
Admire the Cathedral of Siena from the inside. A masterpiece – you will remember our words.Walk across the famous Piazza del Campo. View Siena from a bird’s eye view (e.g. from the famous Torre del Mangia).Have an espresso at the counter . Our tip: Torrefazione Fiorella. How do I get from A to B in Siena? It’s easy: On foot! In Siena’s old town you can safely leave your car leave it parked all the time because you can’t move with it. (We remind you: Siena’s old town is closed to regular traffic.)
All sights in Siena are within walking distance. In any case, you will take a lot of steps, we can promise you that.
Speaking of parking: Paid parking lots for all those who visit Siena on a day trip are located on the edge of the old town, for example the Parking Santa Caterina. From here you can take the escalator to the old town. If you are staying the night in Siena, be sure to clarify parking options with your accommodation in advance.
2. Sights in Siena Piazza del Campo Let’s start with the landmark of Siena and the heart of the old town, the Piazza del Campo. Unwritten law: one must not leave Siena without visiting the Piazza del Campo. (But that’s not too difficult anyway, because you always end up here.)
What immediately catches your eye? The square is semi-circular and is reminiscent (especially from a bird’s eye view) of a shell or a fan. And: It runs slightly downhill. It’s no wonder that young and old gather here at any time of the day to make themselves comfortable on the floor of the Piazza del Campo.
On the Piazza del Campo, the Palazzo Pubblico with the gigantic tower, the Torre del Mangia, attracts everyone’s attention . But the other historic townhouses are also great to look at and create an incredibly harmonious overall picture. On the north side of the square is the famous Fountain of Joy (Fonte Gaia). Siena Cathedral The sight in Siena that you should probably plan the most time for is the Duomo. And with good reason: It is not only incredibly impressive, but also consists of many different highlights – several sights in one, so to speak.
Tip #1: With the combination ticket (“Opa Si Pass”) you get access to all individual areas with the exception of the Porta del Cielo. You can buy your ticket in the ticket office on site. It is diagonally across from the cathedral. Alternatively, you can also reserve it online in advance (albeit at a slightly higher price than on site): Kombiticket Dom.
Tip #2: The ticket is valid for three consecutive days. This means that you don’t have to visit all the sights at once. For example, we would recommend visiting the viewpoint (Facciatone) in the late afternoon to experience a really nice light over the roofs of Siena.
The actual cathedral The heart of the cathedral complex is the cathedral itself. It’s already a architectural masterpiece from the outside – but wait until you see it from the inside. When we travel, we prefer to be outdoors, but this gem is a must-see.
A special feature of Siena Cathedral is its floor. It consists of ornately decorated marble slabs – a work of art that is unique in the world. It took an unbelievable six centuries to complete! Much of the ground is covered for protection most of the time and is only exposed from about mid-August to mid-October.
Via the main entrance of the cathedral you can also reach the next sight, namely the Piccolomini library located in a side wing. The walls and ceiling of this actually quite small room are so artistically decorated – just incredible!
Only with an extra ticket (and via a separate entrance) you reach the so-called Porta del Cielo (Gate of Heaven). A great bird’s eye view awaits you here over the nave of the cathedral.
Interior of Siena Cathedral Piccolomini Library Cathedral Museum & Viewpoint Facciatone The second area of the Duomo complex that you should not miss is the Duomo Museum (called Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Italian), through which you can also reach the famous viewpoint called Facciatone. The entrance is in a side building to the east of the cathedral.
In our opinion, the most impressive room in the cathedral museum awaits you right at the beginning, namely the dark salon lined with statues. At its end you can see the original stained glass window of the cathedral.
The museum extends over several Levels. A wide variety of paintings, sculptures and furnishings of the cathedral are on display. Probably very interesting for art connoisseurs – but to be honest, we visited it in particular to be able to experience the view from the Facciatone viewpoint.
And in our opinion, it’s definitely worth it, because you can enjoy a really great view of Siena from the viewpoint. You can find more information and photos in the chapter on the most beautiful viewpoints in Siena further down in this blog article.
Crypt Diagonally across from the Cathedral Museum, you can access the crypt via a separate entrance on the eastern side of the Cathedral. Curiously, you only have this 1999 discovered during a renovation. Here are ancient wall paintings from 13. Century to marvel at – but overall you don’t have to plan too much time for this.
Baptistery of San Giovanni Last but not least, you finally get there via the northern entrance (at the foot of the stairs). nor into the Baptistery of San Giovanni, i.e. the Gothic baptistery of the cathedral. Compared to the actual cathedral, the baptistery is of course very small, but still worth seeing. Crypt Baptistery of San Giovanni Palazzo Pubblico (incl. Museo Civico) One of the most famous buildings in Siena is the unmissable Palazzo Pubblico in the main square (Piazza del Campo). Even from the outside, the terracotta-colored building with the gigantic Torre del Mangia is well worth seeing. But it’s definitely worth taking a closer look.
You first enter the courtyard. Be sure to look up for a great photo opportunity! The Palazzo Pubblico houses the Museo Civico, the City Museum of Siena. Here you walk through the historic state rooms, whose walls and ceilings are decorated with ornate frescoes. If you are interested in art and culture, then you are in the right place.
A separate entrance gives you access to what is probably Siena’s best-known observation tower, the Torre del Mangia. We will give you more information about this in the chapter on the best views of Siena. Fortezza Medicea An attraction that we would rather recommend for a longer stay in Siena is the historical Fortifications of the Medici – called Fortezza Medicea or Forte Santa Barbara.
The historic fort is now a local recreation area for locals and tourists who meet there for walking or jogging. You can do your rounds on the walls of the fortress and enjoy a fabulous view of the old town of Siena from afar.
The Fortezza Medicea is about 20 Minutes walk from Piazza del Campo, north-west of the old town. Our conclusion: None of the big highlights, but definitely worth a visit. 3. Viewpoints: Siena from a bird’s eye view Terrazza Panoramica vicolo Campaccio Postcard motif! If there is such a thing as the perfect Siena panorama then it is here. In our opinion, one should not leave Siena without walking to this vantage point.
The vantage point per se is pretty unspectacular: Parked cars, a little manicured green area and a few restaurants. But the view – WOW, simply breathtaking!
Our tip: We have the place before sunset visited. You can’t watch the sun set here, but it’s beautiful to see Siena bathed in an orange glow. We have marked the exact location on the map at the end of the article. The viewpoint is located next to the Convento S. Domenico.
Torre del Mangia 87 meters the striking Torre del Mangia rises into the sky and brings you the probably best view from a bird’s eye view over Siena. Definitely one of our highlights!
Before you can enjoy the view from the top of the tower, you need to be in good physical condition. Namely, over 400 to conquer stages – Whew! Once at the top, the panorama is really fabulous. You look in all directions.
Our tip: We chose the last timeslot before sunset and that was the very best decision. The light was just amazing! During the pandemic, access has been restricted and only a certain number of people are allowed up the tower at any one time. We recommend that you stop by the ticket office first thing in the morning (particularly in high season) to secure a ticket for your desired period.
Facciatone The third vantage point in Siena, which of course cannot be missed, is the so-called Facciatone. It belongs to Siena Cathedral. To be more precise, the viewing terrace is located on an unfinished cathedral facade.
Access to the Facciatone is via the Cathedral Museum. From there it goes up a narrow spiral staircase that feels like it is getting narrower and narrower. The vantage point consists of several floors, of course – oh wonder – the highest offers the best view. We were particularly impressed by the view of the cathedral itself.
4. Restaurant tips for Siena L ‘Orto & Un Quarto: Hello insider tip! This restaurant is in a tiny suburb of Siena in a beautiful, idyllic location. We stopped here on our trip to Siena and had a delicious lunch. A big plus: there are many vegetarian and even vegan dishes on the menu. Highly recommended!
La Napoletana 2.0: This place just outside the historic center is very popular with locals and serves excellent Neapolitan pizza at very fair prices. The ambience inside is modern (too modern for us personally), but you can also sit outside in the small garden. Conclusion: rather nothing for a romantic, quiet evening for two, but really delicious pizza.
Torrefazione Fiorella: The absolutely greatest Cafe in the old town for a quick stop! It’s very authentic here. In other words, the café is tiny and offers hardly any space. You drink the espresso at the bar. It’s excellent, by the way, and costs just one euro. And a delicious brioche to go with it. perfecto!
Gelateria Il Masgalano: Incredibly delicious ice cream is available in this unassuming gelateria. They even offer vegan ice cream flavors (pistachio!) – highly recommended. A little tip: With the ice cream in hand, walk around the corner and enjoy the vantage point described above (Terrazza Panoramica vicolo Campaccio).
5. Excursions: Sights around Siena Should you stay longer stay in Siena, then there are of course some really great places around Siena that are ideal for a day trip. (We ourselves spent several days in the locations described below on our road trip through Tuscany, but of course that is a matter of taste and is up to you.)
Montepulciano, Pienza & Montalcino in Val d’Orcia The Val d’Orcia in The south of Siena corresponds pretty much exactly to those images that one always has in mind of Tuscany. cypress alleys, earth-colored hills and medieval towns – all this awaits you in the Orcia Valley.
The region is so big that we would actually recommend at least one night. Nevertheless, you can of course discover a lot on a day trip from Siena. The journey time is about one hour. You can visit for example:
Montepulciano: A slightly larger, very beautiful town. Wine is grown all around. Pienza: A picturesque medieval town and probably one of the most beautiful places in the south of Siena. Montalcino: Around this The famous red wine Brunello di Montalcino grows in pretty little towns. If you want to do a wine tasting, Montalcino is the place for you.And last but not least the countless photo spots here in the south of the province of Siena Here you get to our detailed blog article: Val d’Orcia
San Gimignano The medieval town of San Gimignano is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tuscany. You can reach it from Siena in about 50 minutes by car – so perfect for a day trip.
Warning: Although the townscape of San Gimignano with its countless medieval towers is simply breathtaking, especially in the high season the Charm marred by the crowds of people squeezing through the alleys. San Gimignano is definitely one of the most touristy places in Tuscany.
You can find all sights & tips here: San Gimignano
Val d’Orcia San Gimignano 6. Our insider hotel tip for Siena We’re long behind We were looking for the perfect hotel for our stay in Siena – and we found it! In the dreamlike Casatorre dei Leoni you not only spend the night very stylishly, but also incredibly centrally. Highly recommended!
The accommodation (one could also say boutique hotel) is located in a historic house, about two Minutes walk from the famous Piazza del Campo. Old and new are combined here in a wonderful way. A ll rooms and the common areas are incredibly tastefully furnished.
Speaking of rooms: There are only six of them (3 suites, 3 apartments). Therefore, the ambience is very personal and informal. The rooms are incredibly comfortably furnished. Our highlight was the oversized bed, in which we slept fantastic.
The breakfast is of a very high quality (excellent espresso, great cakes), we personally would have liked a little more choice. The parking service, is also really great, which can be reserved in advance: you head for a parking garage just outside the old town and are then taken to the hotel by valet parking without any stress.
Our conclusion: A really great place to stay with a special charm in the heart of Siena in the immediate vicinity of all the sights. We would stay here again anytime.
Here you can book the hotel: Casatorre dei Leoni
7. Map: Sights & highlights at a glance Last but last but not least, you will find an overview of all of our recommendations on this map. We have drawn the most important sights of Siena for you, as well as our café and restaurant tips. Simply click on the rectangle at the top right to conveniently open the map in the Google Maps app on your smartphone.
Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Hands up: Have you ever been to Siena? Did you like Siena as much as we did? Which sights would you like to add? We look forward to your additional tips in the comments.