25 Best Things To Do in Siena, Italy by JetSettingFools.com

25 Best Things To Do in Siena, Italy

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Siena, Italy is a quintessential Medieval town with narrow lanes, ornate palaces, vast squares, grandiose churches and soaring towers. Travelers can experience the best of the city with our list of the top things to do in Siena, Italy!

We visited Siena as part of our trip around Tuscany – and we were quickly smitten by the historic town. While a popular day trip destination, visitors staying longer can truly savor the charm of Siena.


Things To Do in Siena, Italy FAQs

Before we get to our list of what to do in Siena, Italy, we want to answer a few of the frequently asked questions.


Where is Siena, Italy?

If you are wondering, Where is Siena, Italy on a map?, you are not alone. Situated in Tuscany, Siena, Italy is perched among rolling hills at 1,000 feet above sea level. Siena, Tuscany is surrounded by valleys and lush landscapes directly south of Chianti.

That said, getting to Siena, Italy is fairly easy – as it is well connected to Florence and other Tuscan towns. We share advice for how to get to Siena later in the article under our Siena Travel Tips section. Additionally, we include a city map of Siena, Italy that is marked with our top picks of things to do.


What is Siena, Italy Known For?

The history of Siena is a lengthy one, with evidence of settlements as early as 900 BC. Through its long history, Siena has been known for many different things – including a legend, a saint, a bank and a horse race.


Siena Legend

An early legend is that Siena was founded by (and named for) Senius – the son of Remus and nephew of Romulus. When Senius left Rome, he brought a statue of the Capitoline Wolf – with suckling twins (Remus and Romulus) – and it became a symbol of Siena.


Siena Saint Catherine

St. Catherine of Siena, Italy – born and raised in the city – is a revered saint. Her devotion and eloquence earned her stature and influence over the pope. In 1999, Saint Catherine was named the patron saint of Europe – and Siena visitors can see her relics. (The church is on our list of Things To Do Siena!)


Oldest Bank in Siena

Siena, Italy is also known for operating the oldest bank in the world. The Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank opened in 1472 – and stepping into the square where the bank is housed is one of our Siena, Italy Things To Do.

Here is a fun Siena fact about banking: Prior to opening, money was borrowed and lent on merchant benches – which were called Banco…and that is where the word, Bank, comes from. We share more interesting Siena facts in the Travel Tips section, as well!


Palio Horse Race Siena, Italy

The Palio di Siena is the famous horse Race in Siena, Italy that has been taking place for more than 400 years. The enthralling race is staged in the city’s main square, Piazza del Campo. Each horse represents a Siena Contrade – or district.

With thousands of spectators packed into the square and jockeys riding bareback, it is an absolutely wild event. There are two races every summer – on July 2 and August 16.


Are There Things To Do in Siena with Kids?

Our list of tourist attractions in Siena, Italy is not dedicated to family travel – but there are things to do in Siena, Italy with kids. The squares, gardens, family-friendly tavernas and gelato shops are all places to visit in Siena with children.


Are There Free Things To Do in Siena?

Budget travelers looking for free Siena, Italy things to do won’t be disappointed. The entire walled city of Siena is a free sight – and visitors on a budget can easily spend an entire day just getting lost in the lanes.

That said, the top Siena tourist attractions – like the tower in the main square and the gorgeous cathedral – do charge entry fees. We share tips for ticketed sights and free attractions in Siena throughout our list.


Can I Visit Siena in a Day?

Visitors limited to just one day in Siena, Italy can certainly see the highlights. It’s a relatively small city – and you can use our list to make a plan for what to do in Siena, Italy in one day. 

We, in fact, only had a day in Siena to explore. We took a day trip from Florence to Siena by public bus – but it is also possible by train or on an organized tour.

Later in the Travel Tips section, we share sample itineraries to help you plan what to do in Siena, Italy for a day…or longer! 


Planning a Trip to Siena, Italy

There is more to planning a Siena trip than figuring out what to see and do. Therefore, in addition to our advice for sightseeing in Siena, Italy, we also share essential travel tips – like when to go, where to stay and what to pack.

Travelers planning to visit Siena from abroad will find our Tips for Planning a Europe Vacation to be useful, as well.

Traveling to other parts of Tuscany and Italy? You can use all our Italy Travel Guides to plan your best trip! 

When you plan your travel to Siena, organization is key! We recommend using our Printable Travel Planner – to keep track of all the details of your vacation!

Travel Planner Printables by JetSettingFools.com



Siena Italy Travel Tips to Tuscany and the Best Things to do

There are many things to see in Siena, but the city is also a wonder to wander. Our outline of Siena Things To Do includes it all – plus features a few of the best areas for just aimlessly roaming.


Sightseeing Siena, Italy Walking Route

We organized our list of things to see in Siena in an order that connects one sight to the next. In fact, it can be used as an outline for a Self-Guided Siena Walking Tour. Now, let’s go see the Best of Siena, Italy!

Pin, Save or Bookmark our Siena Travel Guide to plan your trip to Italy!


#1 Siena City Gate Camollia

Walk through the City Gate Camollia, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

As we already mentioned, the historic center of  Siena is surrounded by walls – and there are 12 remaining entrances. Not only are these gates a point of entry, but the most beautiful ones rank as top things to see in Siena, Italy.

Of the 12, the Camollia Gate is the most impressive – and it is where we recommend that you begin your Siena sightseeing. 

Close up view of the Siena City Gate Camollia, Italy, Tuscany, Top Things To See

The monumental gate has a history that stretches back to the year 1082, but the current design dates to 1604. The decorative brick and stone gate features three arches and welcomes visitors coming from Florence. The inscription above the highest arch reads, Cor magis tibi sena pandit – which roughly translates to ‘Siena’s heart is open to you’.


#2 Via dei Montanini Street in Siena

Walk along Via dei Montanini Street in Siena, Italy, Tuscany, Best Things To Do

Many of the ancient streets within the old town walls are Siena attractions – and Via dei Montanini is one of the oldest and most atmospheric. From the Camollia Gate, Via dei Montanini leads visitors into the town of Siena, Italy.

The elegantly curving street is lined with historic buildings and old palaces – some of which are now boutique shops, restaurants and bakeries.


#3 Piazza Salimbeni

View of the Piazza Salimbeni, Siena, Italy, Things To Do Tuscany

The prominent Piazza Salimbeni is a Siena must-see sight. Bordered on three sides by grand palaces, the picturesque square offers an important legacy to Siena’s banking history.

The 14th century, neo–Gothic Palazzo Salimbeni was built as the home of the Salimbeni family, but today is houses the oldest continuously operating bank in the world, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

Flanking the Salimbeni Palace are two 16th century palaces: Palazzo Spannocchi and Palazzo Cantucci.

In the center of Salimbeni Square is a statue of Sallustio Bandini who was an 18th century economist, politician and promoter of free trade.


#4 Piazza Tolomei and Church of St. Christopher

Exterior of the Church of St. Christopher, Siena, Italy, Tuscany

Many tourists walk right past Tolomei Square without paying it much attention, but we think visiting the square is one of the top things to do in Siena. The square opens on the east side of Via Banchi di Sopra (a continuation of Via dei Montanini) and is marked by a church, a palace and a She-Wolf statue.

The red-brick St. Christopher Church dates to the 11th century and boasts a neoclassical façade with unique brick columns. The church is free to visit – and the steps, specifically, are one of the places to visit in Siena, as the provide an outstanding view of the square…and the Palazzo Tolomei that faces it.

The Tolomei Palace – one of the oldest palaces in Siena – was built for the wealthy Tolomei banking family in the 1270s. The Gothic stone palace is quite imposing when seen from afar and features ornate windows. Pia Tolomei, who lived in Siena in the 1300s, is a character in Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

Find as many She-Wolf Statues, Siena, Italy, Tuscany Things To Do

Standing in the square is an ancient column that is topped with a Capitoline She-Wolf. The sculpture was designed by Sienese artist, Domenico Arrighetti.


#5 Eat a Ricciarelli Almond Pastry

When visiting Siena, visitors should get a taste of the local products and sweet treats. In fact, eating a Ricciarelli cookie is a must-do in Siena, Italy – and Pasticceria Nannini Conca D’Oro is the place to do it!

The famed Ricciarelli almond cookie was created in Siena in the 15th century – and Nannini Conca D’Oro has been selling their version since they opened in 1910. The classic confection (which can be found in the cases at the back of the shop) pairs well with their renowned coffee, too.

Another Sienese treat to try is an almond biscotti called Cantucci. The traditional way to eat it is with a glass of the regional Vinsanto wine, which is said to bring out the flavor of the crunchy biscuit!

Top Tip: Patrons of the confectionary shop can use their toilets for free!


#6 Loggia della Mercanzia

View of the Loggia della Mercanzia in Tuscany, Siena, Italy

The Loggia della Mercanzia is an arched portico with lavish pillars and one of the Siena top attractions.

Designed in the early 1400s, the style of the Loggia demonstrates the confluence of Medieval and Renaissance architecture. It is situated at the intersection of three main throughfares: Banchi di Sopra, Banchi di Sotto and Via di Citta.

Looking up at the Loggia della Mercanzia, Siena, Italy, Tuscany

The loggia was originally built for the city’s Merchant Guild. However, since the 1700s, it has served as the home of the Circolo degli Uniti – a cultural club for Sienese men.


#7 Piazza del Campo Siena, Italy

Piazza del Campo Siena, Tuscany, Italy Things To Do

A must-see in Siena, Italy, Piazza del Campo is the Medieval city’s main square. The Siena landmark square marks the focal point of 11 streets and is enclosed by the congruent architecture of the Palazzi Signorili, where the town’s wealthiest families resided.

Stand in Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy, Tuscany

The sloping, clamshell-shaped square has been a gathering place for the public since its inception in the late 1200s and is the site of the annual Siena Palio Horse Race. The Palazzo Pubblic and rising Torre del Mangia, two of the top attractions in Siena, Italy, are situated at the lower end of the Piazza del Campo – and the famous fountain sits at the top of the square.


#8 Palazzo Pubblico

Best View of Piazza del Campo Siena, Italy, Tuscany Things to do

Located on Piazza del Campo, the grandiose Palazzo Pubblico serves as the town hall. Construction of the Pubblico Palace, which is slightly curved to mesh with the circular piazza, commenced in 1297.

The striking building features a blend of architectural styles (Gothic and Medieval) and various elements (stone and brick) and is punctuated by the crenellated roofline.

Visiting the Museo Civico (Civic Museum) inside the Palazzo Pubblico is one of the interesting Siena, Tuscany things to do. The museum exhibits ancient frescoes as well as other masterpiece paintings.


#9 Torre del Mangia

Torre del Mangia, Siena, Italy, Tuscany Must See Sights

The most dramatic aspect of Palazzo Pubblico is the towering 335-foot-tall Torre del Mangia. Built in the mid-1300s, the bell tower ranked as the tallest structure in Italy when it was completed. The spire got its name – Tower of Eater – from the tower’s first bell ringer. The man was nicknamed Mangiaguadagni – as he was known for ‘eating through his earnings.’ The name has stuck ever since!

One of the Siena top things to do is to climb the 400 steps to the top of the tower for 360-degree views. The tower climb can also be combined with visiting the Museo Civico for a discounted price.  

Secret spot view of the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Italy, Tuscany

Budget Travel Tip: While the tower and museum both require a ticket for entry, it is free to enter the courtyard of the Pubblico Palace. Walk inside and look up to see a unique vantage point of the soaring bell tower.


#10 Cappella di Piazza

See the Cappella di Piazza, Siena, Italy, Tuscany, Toscano

The Cappella di Piazza is one of the beautiful Siena things to see – and we suggest getting an up close look at the details. The white marble tabernacle sits at the base of the Torre del Mangia and is the only structure to disrupt the circular line of the piazza.

Statue on the Cappella di Piazza, Tuscany, Siena, Italy

Built in 1352 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the adorned chapel was an offering of thanks for sparing those who survived the 1348 Black Plague.


#11 Fonte Gaia

View of the Fonte Gaia, Siena, Italy, Tuscany

When water was piped into the Piazza del Campo Square in the 1340s, it was a joyous occasion – and the simple fountain was named Fonte Gaia – or Joyous Fountain. In 1419, the fountain was embellished with carved marble panels, turning the large rectangular pool into one of the Siena main attractions.

The marble artwork tells stories from the bible – and the wolf spouting water is the She-Wolf mother of Remus and Romulus.

Sadly, the original marble pieces did not fare well and what visitors see today is a replica that was commissioned by a local sculptor in 1859. The original marble is on display at the Museum of Santa Maria della Scala, which we feature later on our list of Things To See and Do in Siena, Italy.


#12 Lunch in Siena, Italy on Piazza del Campo

Eat Lunch at Te Ke Voi, Siena, Italy, Tuscany, Panini, Sandwich

One of the fun things to do in Siena, Italy is to eat lunch in Piazza del Campo…however, most restaurants get less than stellar reviews.

Instead of sitting down at restaurant on the square, we recommend picking up lunch at Te Ke Voi and finding a place to sit in the square to enjoy your meal. The sandwich shop is located right next to the Loggia and they make quick and delicious focaccia sandwiches.


#13 Contrade of Siena

Flags on the Contrade of Siena, Italy, Tuscany

During Medieval times, the old city of Siena, Italy was segmented into contrade – or districts – for both military and clerical purposes. The contrade in Siena became tight-knit communities and often developed a specific trade. Although only 17 of the original 59 contrade still exist today, each one operates as its own tribe, with a symbol, flag, museum, church, fountain and motto.

The Palio Horse Race is a competition between the Siena contrade – and the winner earns bragging rights for the entire year.

Two of the Contrade Symbols of Siena, Italy, Tuscany

One of the unusual things to do in Siena, Italy is to seek out the different districts based on the contrade symbols. Look for plaques by street names, sculpted animals and the colorful contrade flags of Siena, Italy.


#14 Palazzo Chigi-Saracini

View of the Palazzo Chigi-Saracini, Siena, Italy

The Gothic Palazzo Chigi-Saracini dates to the 12th century and the building follows the crescent curve of Via di Citta Street. For centuries, the palace served as a residence, but in 1965, the building was left to the Siena Chigiana Music Academy.

Concerts are often held inside the palace’s rococo concert hall and visitors can join guided tours of the palace interior. However, the quaint courtyard within the palace is open to visitors for free and it’s one of the hidden things to see in Siena, Tuscany. A cafe operates within the courtyard, as well, and it’s a nice escape from the crowds.


#15 Piazza del Duomo and the Siena Cathedral

See the Piazza del Duomo, Siena, Italy, Tuscany Things To Do

Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Siena, Tuscany is to visit the famous Cathedral (or Duomo). Fascinating both inside and out, the cathedral in Siena is a sight to behold (even though part of it was never completed) and it’s filled with fabulous treasures.

View the Siena Cathedral Façade, Italy, Tuscany, Things To Do

The façade of the cathedral is intricately carved, while the rather unadorned bell tower is striped with black and white marble (a nod to Siena’s town colors).


Inside the Siena Duomo

View looking up from Inside the Siena Duomo, Italy, Tuscany

The interior of the cathedral in Siena, Tuscany is decorated in an abundance of bewildering artwork, leaving many visitors wondering which way to look. The distinctive white-and-black striped pattern extends to the giant columns along the nave – and heads of former bishops peer down at parishioners.

Inside view of the Siena Duomo, Tuscany, Siena, Italy

Even the floor features artwork in the form of colorful, etched marble slabs (the Massacre of the Innocents paints a vivid scene). Other artwork that is not to be missed is the statue of St. John the Baptist by Donatello, the statue of St. Paul by Michelangelo that stands in the Piccolomini Altar and the carved marble pulpit by Nicola Pisano.

The highlight of the duomo, however, is the library, which we detail next on our list of Siena, Italy Things To See.

Note that a ticket is required to enter the church. Visitors can purchase single-sight or combo tickets to the Cathedral of Siena sights.


#16 Piccolomini Library at the Cathedral Siena, Italy

View the art in the Piccolomini Library at the Cathedral Siena, Italy, Tuscany, Things To Do

Located inside the Siena Cathedral (and included with the basic admission ticket), the Piccolomini Library is one of the best Siena sights to see.

The small library room houses a collection of ancient choir books (their large size ensured the songs could be seen by all the singers). Even more impressive, however, are the detailed and vivid frescoes that bedeck the walls and tell the story of Siena born Enea Silvio Piccolomini – who is better known as Pope Pius II.


#17 Cathedral Museum, Baptistry and Crypt

The Museo dell’Opera, Baptistry of San Giovanni, and subterranean Crypt are a few more places to go in Siena within the duomo complex.

The Museum Cathedral, which was founded in 1869, hosts a collection of fine artwork, tapestries, jewelry and manuscripts. The Baptistry is festooned in Renaissance frescoes, yet the magnificent marble Baptismal Font is the centerpiece. In the crypt, visitors can see 13th century frescoes that were only discovered in 1999.

All of these sites can be visited with a combination Opa Si ticket that is available for purchase at the cathedral ticket office.


#18 Unfinished Façade Panoramic Vista

View of the New Siena Cathedral Unfinished Façade, Tuscany, Italy

The Siena Cathedral was completed in the late 1200s…but by the year 1339, there were already plans to expand the church to double its size. The competition between Siena and Florence was fierce – and Siena wanted a church that was bigger and better than the one in Florence.

A grand plan was designed and building commenced, but in 1348, the Black Plague struck Siena, nearly cutting the population in half. The city never fully recovered – and many of the survivors believed that their competitive attitude was what brought the plague upon them.

Therefore, the grand Facciatone di Duomo Siena, Italy – the New Cathedral Façade – was left in an unfinished state and the expansion project was completely abandoned.

Today, however, the incomplete façade is where to go in Siena, Italy for phenomenal panoramic views. Visitors can access the elevated viewpoint with a Cathedral Ticket Opa Si Pass.


#19 Santa Maria della Scala

One of the oldest hospitals in Europe, Santa Maria della Scala opened in the year 1090 (but possibly has origins that date to 898). The hospital was dedicated to feeding the poor, caring for orphans and housing pilgrims on the Via Francigena route from Rome to Canterbury, England.

Throughout the centuries, the hospital amassed a collection of masterpiece artworks and artists were commissioned to paint frescoes on the walls (many of which are well preserved).

In 1995, the hospital was converted into a museum showcasing its historical, archaeological and religious artifacts. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is one of the museums in Siena, Italy that is part of the Santa Maria della Scala complex.

Visiting the Santa Maria della Scala Museum Complex is one of the Things To Do Siena, Italy that requires an additional ticket.  


#20 Via del Costone Pedestrian Path

The Via del Costone walkway is somewhat of a hidden gem and one of the best things to see in Siena. Along the downhill route, you’re greeted with fabulous views and the hulking Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico Church (which we feature later) looms large on the side of the hill.

Via del Costone was often used by a young Saint Catherine. It’s said, when she was walking along the path, she had her first spiritual vision of Jesus.


#21 Fontebranda Medieval Fountain

View of the Fontebranda Medieval Fountain, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Located in the Contrada dell’Oca District (the Goose neighborhood), the ancient Fontebranda is the city’s most beautiful fountain. The Medieval brick fountain is not necessarily one of the Siena top sights, but it is definitely one of the interesting places to visit in Siena, Italy.

Built in 1246 by the Wool Makers Guild, the large brick structure covers a pool of water that is brought in via aqueducts from a natural source 15 miles away. There are three Gothic arched entrances to the water – and originally, three basins into which the water was distributed.

Historically, each entryway was dedicated for a specific purpose: the first was drinking water for people, the second provided drinking water for animals and the last was for washing clothes.

Fontebranda is also mentioned by Dante in The Inferno.


#22 Santuario Casa di Santa Caterina

The Shrine to St. Catherine is not another church in Siena, Italy, but rather, the home where she grew up and lived. The cheerful yellow complex, with its long, arched portico, is one of the best places to see in Siena, Italy for travelers who want to learn more about St. Catherine.

The chapels within the home were created after her death and the shrine is meant to be a place of quiet contemplation. It is free to enter the complex and visit the rooms and chapel.


#23 Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico

Impressive exterior of the Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

There are many, many churches in Siena, Italy – but none quite as intriguing as the Basilica of San Domenico. The church dates to 1226, but it was renovated in the Gothic style in the 14th century.

The large brick church is dedicated to St. Catherine, and while the vast interior feels a bit cavernous, the church hosts one of the top things to see in Siena: the head of St. Catherine…and her finger, too.


#24 Fortezza Medicea

Looking up at the Fortezza Medicea, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

The massive Medicea Fort was built in the 1560s as a defensive measure to protect the city of Siena – and it was used for military functions until the late 1700s. In 1937, the fort was restored and reopened as a public park.

Inside the fort, there are walking paths, fountains, a theater and a bar. The tops of the thick, brick walls have been repurposed into grassy parks – and one of the top things to do in Siena, Italy is to stroll along the elevated walls.


#25 Vista Panoramica de Siena

Enjoy the Vista Panoramica de Siena, Italy while in Tuscany as one of the best things to do

One of the top things to see in Siena, Italy is the city from afar – and the Siena Panoramic Vista provides the best viewpoint. The terrace is separated from the rest of Siena by a deep valley. In addition to the terrace providing a phenomenal viewpoint, it also hosts artistic sculptures and a pleasant café and bistro.

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More Things To Do in Siena, Tuscany

Walk under the arches along Via della Galluzza, Siena, Italy, Must-Do in Tuscany

We have shared our top picks for the best things to see in Siena, Italy, but there are a few more sights that fellow travelers might be interested in seeking out.


Via della Galluzza 

The sloping Via della Galluzza provides another dramatic entrance to Siena. Walking beneath the series of picturesque arches leads up to Via Diacetto and Piazza di Indipendenza.


Piazza di Indipendenza

The Independence Piazza in Siena, Italy was only designed in the late 1800s. The centerpiece of the square is a yellow, three-arched loggia – and Palazzo Ballati rises behind it. The prestigious Teatro dei Rozzi theater also stands on the square.

While we don’t think Piazza di Indipendenza is one of the must see places in Siena, Italy (it’s mostly a parking lot now), it is another fine example of Sienese architecture.  


Siena City Gates

We already mentioned Porta Camollia Gate as one of the top things to visit in Siena – but there are eleven other remaining gates in Siena. The oldest gates on the inner walls are scarcely defined, but most of the outer wall gates are easy to locate.

Porta Tufi (built in the 1320s), Porta Pispini and Porta Ovile are three well-preserved Siena gates that are fascinating to find.


Siena Botanic Garden

One of the peaceful places to see in Siena, the Orto Botanico dell’Universita di Siena is a quiet, shaded garden that can be a nice escape on hot days. The garden was established in 1588 and its collection of plants (located on the grounds and in greenhouses) are clearly labeled.


Pinacoteca Nazionale

Founded in 1932, the Pinacoteca Nazionale Museum is one of the best places to visit in Siena, Italy to see Italian Renaissance art. Housed in a former palace, the National Art Gallery of Siena Museum has a large collection of paintings from Sienese artists dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.

While not a must-do in Siena if you are short on time, the museum is one of the highly rated Siena, Italy tourist attractions. A ticket is required for entry.


Wineries in Siena, Italy

Situated in one of the most renowned wine making regions in the world, there is no question that sampling the local wine is one of the top things to do in Siena, Tuscany. There are several vineyards in Siena, Italy that are just beyond the historic center.

The best way to experience Tuscan wine is to join a tour. This 3-hour tour features a wine tasting in Siena at a local winery and includes exploring the vineyards, touring the cellar and tasting local food products, too!

Alternatively, visitors can join a full day tour that features one of the top wineries near Siena, Italy. The small-group expedition includes touring the facilities, tasting the wine, eating a local lunch and discovering a Tuscan village.


Cooking class in Siena, Italy

Travelers can learn the art of Tuscan food by taking one of the cooking classes in Siena, Italy. During this highly rated class, which is led by a professional chef, participants learn how to make a few regional specialties.


Shopping in Siena, Italy

Via Banchi di Sopra has long been one of the best places to visit in Siena for shopping. The street is lined with the best shops in Siena, Italy – from clothing boutiques to leather bags to fashionable shoes.


Walking Tour Siena, Italy

We’ve highlighted the Siena must-see attractions – and listed them in order so that fellow travelers could easily arrange a self-guided walk for Siena, Italy sightseeing.

That said, there are guided walking tours in Siena, Italy, too. Travelers who would rather let a local guide lead the way – and provide insider information about the attractions – should join a top-rated tour, like this one! 


Day Trips to Places to Visit near Siena

Travelers staying in Siena for more than one day might consider taking a day trip to explore more of the region. One of the top things to do near Siena is to discover the nearby Tuscan villages.

Visitors can plan the trip on their own – or join an organized full-day tour that features a few of the best things to do around Siena, Italy: Visiting the towns of San Gimignano, Chianti and Montalcino!


What and Where to Eat in Siena, Italy

Where to find the Best Places to Eat in Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Eating in Siena, Italy is just as important as sightseeing! Tuscan cuisine is delectable – and Siena visitors should certainly get a taste of the regional specialties. Therefore, we are sharing a few tips on local dishes, as well as sharing some of the best places to eat in Siena.

Want to combine Siena sightseeing with the local fare? Join a local guide for a Walking Food Tour!


What To Eat in Siena, Italy

We already shared one of the specialty sweet treats – the Ricciarelli di Siena – but what about the best food in Siena, Italy for a meal?

  • Siena Pici – a chewy pasta traditionally made with just water and flour (but may also have oil or egg). Often served with wild boar ragu.
  • Gnudi di Siena – a ‘naked’ pasta that resembles gnocchi that typically features spinach and ricotta and served in a tomato sauce.
  • Tuscan Bread, Cheese and Meat – For a classic Siena sandwich or tasting board, look for Cinta Senese Pork Salami, Pecorino from Pienza (near Siena) and Sciocco (unsalted Tuscan bread).


Best Restaurants Siena, Italy

We recommended the grab-and-go Te Ke Voi sandwich shop for a quick lunch on the main square – but there are several Siena restaurants where visitors can sit down for a local meal.


Antica Trattoria Papei

Ranking as the oldest restaurant in the city – and hailed by many as the best restaurant in Siena, Italy – Antica Trattoria Papei is known for their pasta dishes. Order the pici!


Osteria Permalico

Regularly rated as one of the best restaurants Siena, Italy, Osteria Permalico specializes in Tuscan cuisine. It’s a good place to try the Cinta Senese cured meat.


Pretto Prosciutteria e Convivio

Offering typical Tuscan meats, cheeses and sandwiches, Pretto Prosciutteria e Convivio is a favorite spot for a ‘Cutting Board’ meal. They also get rave reviews for their Lampredotto sandwich – a Tuscan specialty!


La Vecchia Latteria

A top pick for the best gelato in Siena, Italy – especially their fruit flavors that feature real pieces of fruit!


San Paolo Pub

One of the best bars in Siena, Italy, San Paolo Pub has balcony tables that overlook Piazza del Campo…plus they have some craft beer on tap!


Map of Siena, Italy

Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Siena map. The map is marked with our top picks of what to see in Siena, Italy. Want a paper tourist map of Siena, Italy? You can pick up a map at the TI Tourist Info Siena, Italy Office in Piazza del Campo.

Map of Siena, Italy Things To Do by JetSettingFools.com


Siena Travel Tips

Siena Cathedral in Tuscany, Italy, Best Things To Do

Now that you know what to see in Siena, we want to share a few Siena travel planning tips that will help make planning your trip easier.


What To Know about Siena, Italy

We have provided a lot of practical and important information, but we want to share a few fun facts about Siena, Italy, too!


UNESCO World Heritage Site City

One of the interesting Siena, Italy facts is that the entire historic center is listed as a UNESCO site. The entire city is considered to be a work of art and it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995.


James Bond Siena, Italy

A scene from James Bond Quantum of Solace was filmed in Siena. The movie scene takes place during the horse race and (naturally) 007 takes chase across the Siena rooftops!


Sienna Color

Well, what do you know, the color Sienna is named for the town of Siena, Italy! It actually refers to the earth pigment found in the region and was first used to define a reddish-brown color in the English language in the year 1760. Burnt Sienna is also one of the Crayola crayon names!


Best Time to Visit Siena, Italy

Siena is a destination that welcomes visitors in every season.

Although the summer tourist season is the most popular time to visit Siena, we don’t recommend it. Not only is the town crushed with other tourists, but the weather in Siena, Italy during summer can be stifling hot.

Autumn can be a fabulous time to visit Siena. The temperatures begin to cool and autumn marks harvest season.

Winters can be cold, but visitors can align their travel schedule to coincide with the Siena Christmas Market. Although the market is just one weekend (usually at the beginning of December), we imagine spending Christmas in Siena, Italy would fit in nicely with some of the other Best Christmas Places in Europe!

Still, we think spring is the best time to go to Siena, Italy. The weather is warm, but not hot – which is perfect for sightseeing. Plus, there are far fewer crowds and better hotel prices than in the summertime.


How Many Days in Siena, Italy

Siena is a small and compact city – and it’s reasonable to see the highlights in just one day. That said, visitors could easily spend 3 days in Siena seeing the best sights and regional attractions. We are sharing a sample Siena Itinerary for 1 to 3 days.


Things To Do in Siena, Italy in One Day

Wondering what to see in Siena, Italy is one day? Simply use our list of top recommended sights (#1 through #25) and route your way to the best attractions. End the day with dinner at Antica Trattoria Papei.


2 Days in Siena

On Day 2, embark on the full day trip to the small towns near Siena, Italy – like Chianti, San Gimignano and Montalcino (or join the organized tour!). Back in time for dinner, dine at Osteria Permalico and then enjoy after-dinner drinks with a view of Piazza del Campo at San Paolo Pub.


3 Day Siena Itinerary

Start your morning in Siena with more sightseeing. Go to the botanical garden and then visit the Pinacoteca Nazionale Art Museum…or simply wander the lanes and seek out the city gates. In the afternoon, join the Cooking Class (and enjoy the feast for your dinner!). 


How To Get to Siena, Italy

Siena can be reached by bus or train. There are no flights to Siena, Italy…because there is no airport! The closest airport to Siena, Italy is in Florence (FLR). Other airports in the region are Perugia, Pisa, Bologna and Rome.


Florence, Italy to Siena

Florence and Siena are well-connected with a range of options for transport. So, how far is Florence from Siena, Italy? The distance between Florence and Siena, Italy is 87km (55 miles).

The close proximity and options for transit make it rather easy to plan a day trip from Florence to Siena.

The drive from Florence to Siena, Italy takes about 1.5 hours. Visitors who do not want to drive can book a private driver – like this one.

There are also trains to Siena from Florence. Riding the train from Florence to Siena takes about 1.5 hours.

The fastest bus to Siena from Florence – Bus 131R – takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Travelers can also join one of the popular bus tours to Siena, Italy from Florence that include multiple destinations – like this highly rated tour.


Pisa to Siena, Italy

Pisa, Italy and Siena also have good connections – and we think it is best to take the train from Pisa to Siena, Italy. The train ride takes about an hour and 45 minutes and there are multiple departures daily. However, the trains from Pisa to Siena do require a change in the town of Empoli.

Taking a bus from Pisa to Siena is not ideal – as the route takes at least 3 hours and includes a stop/switch in Florence.


Rome to Siena, Italy

While the nearest airport to Siena is in Florence, many travelers will fly to Italy via Rome. It is possible to travel to Siena from Rome via bus and train – but neither are fast.

There is no direct train route from Rome to Siena. Passengers will need to take the train to Florence and then continue by bus or train to Siena. The journey takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes.

There are direct buses from Rome to Siena, but they take nearly 5 hours.

Alternatively, travelers can rent a car in Rome and make the drive from Rome to Siena in about 2.5 hours. Before making a car rental reservation, read our tips for the Best Car Rental Rate


Tips for Arriving in Siena, Italy

We are sharing a few details that travelers will need to know when arriving in Siena.


Parking Lots in Siena

If you’re driving to Siena, the city center is a (mostly) pedestrian-only zone. There is parking in Siena, however, outside the city walls in parking lots, garages and on the street.

It is important to note that there is typically a fee to park. The most convenient parking lot is just outside of Porta Camollia, however, the parking lot at the train station is the cheapest.


Train Station in Siena

The train from Florence to Siena, Italy arrives at the Siena FS Train Station. The station is located north of the city and is about a 10-minute walk from Porta Camollia (with the help of an escalator).


Main Bus Station Siena

The bus station in Siena, Italy is at Piazza Antonio Gramsci (but is basically a bunch of bus stops). Passengers from Florence taking the 131R bus can opt to exit at the Porta Camollia Bus Stop, and enjoy the pleasant walk into town like we did!


How To Get Around Siena

There is no doubt about it, the best way to get around Siena is by walking. There is absolutely no need to rent a car in Siena for sightseeing.


Where To Stay in Siena, Italy

If you are staying in Siena, the city has lodgings to fit every style and budget – from luxury hotels in Siena, Italy to affordable hostels. We think the best places to stay in Siena are in the heart of town, where the sights are just out your door.


Best Places To Stay in Siena

We are highlighting a few of the best hotels in Siena, Italy based on traveler reviews. Use our tips for Finding the Best Cheap Hotels to get the greatest value!


Palazzetto Rosso Art Hotel Siena

Quite possibly the Best Hotel in Siena, Palazzetto Rosso is located right in the middle of the old town. The hotel features rooms with Siena views and comfortable beds – plus they offer breakfast. Check rates for your stay!


I Merli di Ada Siena Hotel

With a top location and exceptional service, guests rave that I Merli di Ada is the best hotel in Siena. The historic building has been updated with all the modern conveniences, plus they offer breakfast and bicycle rentals. Check availability for your stay!


Hotel Palazzo di Valli Siena, Italy

Interested in sleeping in a castle in Siena? While Hotel Palazzo di Valli is not in the center, the hilltop hotel occupies an 18th century villa and is surrounded by a lush garden. One of the best boutique hotels in Siena, the property gets rave reviews. Check it out!



There are not an abundance of hostels in Siena, but HostelCiompi is well-located and offers private rooms with shared bathrooms. Check rates for your stay!


Airbnb Siena, Italy

Visitors staying in Siena for a few days may be more comfortable in a vacation rental that is equipped with a kitchen and laundry facilities. Travelers can find holiday apartments on Airbnb or Booking.com.


What To Pack To Travel to Siena

View of Cappella di Piazza in Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Whether traveling to Siena for a day or a week, there are a few things you will want to pack in your suitcase. You can find all of our advice on our Packing Tips page. Need a checklist? Get your FREE Packing Checklist here


Comfortable Shoes

The best Siena places to visit will require a fair bit of walking. Therefore, you will want to bring comfortable walking shoes for your trip.

I like to wear lightweight and versatile sneakers for sightseeing and Kris is most comfortable in these trail shoes. You can find specific tips and reviews in our Guide to the Best Shoes for Travel.


Travel Camera

The Siena places to see are stunningly beautiful! Rather than using your phone to capture that beauty, we recommend upgrading to a real camera for your trip to Tuscany.

We use a DSLR Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens. Not only does it take quality photos, but it is easy to use and relatively affordable – making it the best camera for budget travelers!


Appropriate Clothing and Sun Protection

Churches are a few of the top Siena places to visit – and you will want to make sure you are dressed appropriately to enter the sites. We recommend bringing a lightweight wrap that you can use to cover shoulders or knees.

Also, bear in mind that the Tuscan sun is strong! It is best to bring sunscreen for your trip to Siena (as it’s quite expensive locally) – and don’t forget a wide-brimmed travel hat and your favorite pair of sunglasses.


Day Pack

Travelers spending a full day exploring the top Siena sights will want to carry a proper day bag. We recommend using a day pack that has zippered pockets to keep your personal belongings secure.

For our Siena trip, we carried these small backpacks that worked out perfectly. You can read our Tips for the Best Day Bags for different styles and options.


Italy Trip Insurance

Travel insurance can cover a range of unexpected costs – from flight cancellations to lost luggage to getting sick abroad. If you haven’t already obtained insurance for your trip, check the rates and coverage at World Nomads.


Travel Documents for Italy

Don’t forget to pack your necessary documents! Keep any purchased tickets, confirmations and your trip planner together in a travel organizer that’s at your fingertips when your need it.


We Want To Know: Share your Siena, Italy What To Do tips! Are there any sights in Siena, Italy that you would add to our list? 


Start planning your trip to Italy! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


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Best Things To Do in Siena, Italy by JetSettingFools.com