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Siena Attractions

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1. Piazza del Campo

The central square of Siena, where the facades of luxurious palazzos and mansions go. In the northwestern part of the piazza is the marble Fountain of Joy (Fonte Gaia), created at the beginning of the 15th century. The place gained fame thanks to the Palio horse races, which are held here every year. Piazza del Campo is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.

2. Siena Palio

Traditional horse races, which are held annually in Siena on July 2 and August 16. The history of the competition goes back to the 16th century, when city residents came up with a new holiday instead of the forbidden bullfight. Each district (counter) of Siena exposes its jockey on the Palio. The rider selection process is accompanied by colorful rituals that have not changed since the Middle Ages.

3. The Palazzo Pubblico and the tower of Torre del Manja

The palace on the Piazza del Campo, erected in the XIII-XIV centuries specifically for the meetings of the Republican government of Siena. The construction is built in the best traditions of medieval Italian architecture with some emphasis on the Gothic style. Near the palazzo stands the Torre del Manja - a bell tower 102 meters high, topped with a covered marble gallery.

4. Fountain of Joy

The fountain adorned the Piazza del Campo in 1419. The sculptor J. della Querca worked on its creation. Fonte Gaia is made in the form of a pool into which water flows from the mouths of marble wolves and lions located around the perimeter (these animals are a symbol of Siena). Magnificent sculptures are placed in the arched niches of the walls. The originals of these statues are now in the Palazzo Pubblico Museum. At the fountain, tourists can see only copies.

5. Siena Cathedral

The ceremonial temple of Gothic architecture, erected in the period 1215-1263. The famous Niccolo and Giovanni Pisano worked on its creation. Separate work continued until the fourteenth century under the supervision of various architects. The facade and interior of the building are finished in white, black and red marble. Inside the cathedral are a statue of John the Baptist by Donatello and a chair made by N. Pisano.

6. Piccolomini Library

The library is located in the Siena Cathedral in the halls painted with frescoes from the beginning of the 16th century by the painter B. di Betto, better known as Pinturicchio. These images are of great cultural value, as well as a Roman sculpture of the IV century, located near one of the walls. The book depository was created in 1492 at the request of Cardinal F. Piccolomini Todescini to host the collection of books of Pope Pius II.

7. Baptistery of St. John

The Baptistery is part of the architectural complex of Siena Cathedral. It was erected in 1316-1325. designed by C. di Crescentino in the style of Italian Gothic. Renowned sculptors of the Renaissance - Donatello, L. Gyierti, G. di Nerochchio, D. di Turino, J. della Quercia worked on the marble font of the baptismal room and elements of interior decoration. The walls of the baptistery are painted by L. di Pietro (known as Vecchietta).

8. Opera del Duomo

Museum of 1869, located in the Siena Cathedral. The exposition occupies several rooms of the right nave. The extensive museum collection consists of marble sculptures by L. Pisano, J. della Querca, D. Martini and other masters, as well as works by painters of the Renaissance and late Baroque. Donatello's famous work Madonna del Perdono is also located here.

9. City Museum of Siena

The museum exposition is located on the first floor of the Palazzo Pubblico. It consists of works of art created by masters and artisans mainly during the XIV-XVI centuries. In the museum you can see the collections of ceramics, weapons, coins, jewelry and sculptures. The walls of the halls where the exposition is located are decorated with elaborate frescoes by A. Lorenzetti. Previously, the city council met in these premises.

10. House of St. Catherine

Saint Catherine of Siena was a religious and political figure, as well as a talented writer. Her works contributed to the formation of literary Italian. She was canonized in the 15th century, and in the 19th century she was declared the patroness of Italy along with Francis of Assisi. In the ancient house of the XIV century, where the saint's family lived, a sanctuary was organized, which quickly turned into a pilgrimage center.

11. Museum complex Santa Maria della Scala

In the Middle Ages, Santa Maria della Scala was known as one of the largest hospitals in Europe. Here they gave shelter to pilgrims, wanderers, helped homeless children and destitute citizens. The main facade of the complex overlooks the Piazza del Campo. Today, the Archaeological Museum, the Briganti Library, the Center for Contemporary Art and the Children's Art Museum are located on its territory.

12. National Pinacotheca

An art gallery occupying the buildings of the Palazzo Buonsignori and the Palazzo Brigidi. Her collection consists of works by Italian masters who worked during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as well as from works of a later time until the end of the 18th century. In the 1970s, the exposition was replenished with the works of Flemish and German painters. In addition to painting, a sculpture is exhibited in the Pinakothek.

13. Basilica of San Domenico

Temple of the Order of the Dominicans, erected in the XIII century. The construction is more reminiscent of an impregnable fortress with massive walls and narrow loophole windows than a place where people come to pray and ask God for help. The fact is that during its construction the probability of a military clash with the neighboring Florentine Republic was taken into account. In the event of war, one could take refuge in the basilica and withstand the siege.

14. Basilica of San Francesco

The temple of the XIII century, which belonged to the Franciscan monastery. The facade and the right wing of the building retained the features of the Romanesque style, the remaining parts are made in a later manner of Italian Gothic. In 1655, there was a devastating fire that destroyed the magnificent baroque interiors of the basilica. After restoration, the interior was given a more modest appearance.

15. Church of Santa Maria dei Servi

The temple of the XV century, originally built in the Gothic style and subsequently rebuilt several times in accordance with more modern architectural standards. The last reconstruction of the church was carried out in the XX century. The interior of Santa Maria dei Servi is painted with frescoes, which depict the lives of the apostles, evangelists and episodes from the life of John the Baptist.

16. The Palazzo Chigi Saracini

The palace was built by order of the noble Mariscotti family in the XII century. In the following centuries, the construction changed owners several times. Each new family adorned the building according to its ideas about the beautiful. The last owner of the palazzo was Count Chigi Saracini, who in 1932 established a music academy in the palace, which later became famous throughout the world.

17. Fortress of Medici

The defensive structure was built in the 16th century, when the history of the Siena Republic was coming to an end. Along the edges of its powerful fortress walls are lateral pentagonal bastions. Over time, the fort lost its military significance and was disarmed, and a picturesque city garden was laid out around the walls. Today, the fortress houses a library, an audio archive, a wine cellar and an office of the Jazz Association.

18. Fontebranda

Fontebranda is a fountain located on the site of an ancient source of fresh water. Its streams alternately flow into three bowls. From the first, people quenched thirst, the second was used to water animals, the third - for washing clothes and other household needs. In the XIII century, a pavilion was built here. The fountain is located in the same city district.

19. Siena Botanical Garden

The history of the garden began in the 16th century with a pharmacy garden at the University of Siena. In the XVIII century, exotic species of plants began to be cultivated here. Over time, the area became scarce, and in the 19th century, plantings were moved to the place where they are still located. The garden is divided into landscape areas - a rock garden, fern forest, agricultural land, tropical greenhouses.

20. The cultural landscape of Val d'Orcia

Agricultural land and natural landscapes of the Italian province of Tuscany, located in the vicinity of Siena. This picturesque and fertile valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Val d Orcia consists of well-groomed vineyards, cultivated fields, cypress groves and green hills, among which are numerous farms and small private estates.

City of Siena (Italy)

Siena is a city in northern Italy in the Tuscany region. It is one of the most popular tourist centers of the country with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Siena is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Italy, which not only preserved the original historical core, but also the atmosphere. This ancient city, founded by the legend of Remus, in the Middle Ages in full swing competed with Florence. Siena is located on three hills with a heart in Piazza del Campo, where the Roman Forum used to be. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Geography and climate

Siena is located almost in the center of Tuscany, 70 km south of Florence. The city is located between the valleys of the rivers Arbia, Merse and the hills of Chianti. The climate is Mediterranean. Summer is quite hot, winter is mild with rare negative temperatures.

Panorama of siena

Practical information

  1. The population is 53.9 thousand people.
  2. The area is 118 square kilometers.
  3. Language is Italian.
  4. Currency is Euro.
  5. The visa is Schengen.
  6. Time is Central European UTC +1, in the summer +2.
  7. Siena is a university city. Students make up almost half the population.

Best time to visit

Best time to visit: April-September.

The first settlement on the site of Siena existed in the 4th-5th centuries BC and belonged to the Etruscans. The first written records of the city date back to the beginning of our era, when the Roman city of Sena Julia was founded under the emperor Augustus. According to legend, Siena was founded by Senia and Ascius, the sons of Rem. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the city was first owned by the Lombards, then by the Franks.

The medieval historical center of Siena

In the 10th century, due to its advantageous position at the intersection of trade routes, Siena became an important medieval city. In the 12th century, it became independent, and in the 13th century, the Siena Republic was formed. This state occupied the southern part of Tuscany and was one of the most prosperous in Italy. The Siena Republic has long been the main competitor and opponent of Florence. This state lasted until 1555.

In 1240, a university was founded in Siena. The 14th century saw the gradual decline of the Siena Republic, which continues into the 15th century. In 1555, the city was besieged by Spanish troops and after a year and a half of heroic resistance was taken. The Siena Republic fell and ceased to exist. A few years later, Siena was incorporated into the Tuscan Duchy and became owned by Florence. Since that time, the city has turned into an ordinary provincial town. But precisely because of this, Siena has preserved the almost original medieval historical center.

How to get there

The nearest airports are in Florence, Pisa and Bologna. Sena buses connect Siena with Bologna Airport twice a day. There is also a bus service to Pisa Airport. From Florence and Empoli to Siena, trains and buses run almost every hour. The SITA bus leaves from the capital of Tuscany from the bus station, located across the road west of Santa Maria Novella Train Station. There are also regular buses from Rome.

Shopping and shopping

Popular purchases in Siena are leather, gold, ties, tapestries and embroidery, fabrics. A huge market is held every Wednesday in the Fortezza Mediceana area from approximately 7.00 to 14.00. The center has many shops, including well-known international and European brands.

City panorama

Food and drink

Tuscany is a famous gastronomic region with special cuisine. In Siena, of course, you can find great restaurants and inexpensive trattorias and pizzerias with Tuscan and Italian cuisine. Traditional dishes: acquacotta (onion, vegetable, egg soup with olive oil and toasted bread), arista alla fiorentina (Florentine pork with garlic and rosemary), bistecca alla fiorentina (grilled steak), bruschetta (toast with tomato and basil ), castagnaccio (chestnut flour tortilla with rosemary, olive oil, pine nuts), panzanella (salad with rural bread, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions), fagioli all'uccelletto (beans with tomatoes and sage), ribollita (white bean soup , black cabbage and greens), trippa alla fiorentina (tomato sauce with grated parmesan), zuppa di farro (delicious soup with beans, chickpeas and tomatoes). Food is usually accompanied by a glass of wine from the Chianti Valley.

Central Square (Piazza del Campo)

Piazza del Campo is the main attraction of Siena. The ancient heart of the city and its most famous location. Its first mention refers to the distant 1169 - then it served as a commonplace for trade. By the 13-14th century it was already the social center of Siena and the habitat of the city authorities.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

The current Piazza del Campo has the shape of a shell inclined towards the center, divided into nine sectors, with a circumference of 333 meters. Here, in the square, there are several more attractions of Siena and twice a year passes the glorious Siena Palio (horse racing). So beautifully accompanied by the holidays in Siena.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

As for the Siena Palio. The tradition of horse racing in Siena has been going on since the Middle Ages. Be sure to visit this holiday if the opportunity arises. Horse racing takes place on Campo Square twice a year: July 2 and August 16.

Photo source: drugoi.livejournal.com.

Palace of the Commune (Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Pubblico)

The Palazzo Publico is the main building of Campo Square, it is also the city hall. On the ground floor there is a city museum.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Cost: Museum - 9 euros (preferential - 4.5 euros).

Visit time:

  • Monday - Sunday (November 1 - March 15): 10: 00-18: 00.
  • Monday - Sunday (March 16 - October 31): 10: 00-19: 00.

Glutton Tower (Torre del Mangia)

The 102-meter bell tower (built in 1338–1348), named after its first ranger Giovanni di Balduccio, who loved to “kill the worm”.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Cost: Climb to the observation deck at an altitude of 88 meters - 10 euros (preferential - 5 euros). Family ticket - 22 euros, for children under 11 years old admission is free.

Visit time:

  • Monday - Sunday (October 16 - February 28): 10: 00-16: 00.
  • Monday - Sunday (March 1 - October 15): 10: 00-19: 00.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Fountain of Joy (Fonte Gaia)

The first city fountain. Built in 1386. Decorated with bas-reliefs with biblical motifs. True, today we have copies, originals of statues in the Museum of the Hospital Santa Maria della Scala.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

But the fountain on a crowded day :)

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Palazzo Sansedoni Palace

The 13th-century terracotta palazzo Sancedoni, built in the Gothic style for one of the most respected families of the city - Sancedoni. Very close to it is the Fountain of Joy mentioned earlier, it is even slightly visible in the photo below.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Now in the palazzo the bank is comfortably located.

Cathedral (Duomo di Siena)

One of the most unusual places in Siena. The most beautiful Gothic temple of the 13th century, built in honor of the Ascension of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Work on the decoration of the facade and interior of the cathedral with the participation of various talented artists continued for a long time.The top of the bell tower of the cathedral can be seen from Campo Square, as in this photo.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Especially highlight the chic mosaic floor of the cathedral. Today, services are held in the temple, and several separate museum exhibits work.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Cost: from 5 euros to 20 euros, more about prices and opening hours on the page about Siena Cathedral.

Baptistery of St. John the Baptist (Battistero di San Giovanni)

The Baptistery of John the Baptist is the site of the baptism of the Sienans, a couple of steps from the Cathedral. Built in 1325, it is famous for its chic frescoes and magnificent sculptures by prominent Italian masters.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Cost: 4 euros.

Visit time: from March to October from 9:30 to 19:00, from November to February from 9:30 to 18:00.

Basilica of St. Dominic (Basilica di San Domenico)

The Dominican Basilica was founded by the Dominicans in 1226, was built 200 years. It is a place to store the head of St. Catherine of Siena.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Curious about the lack of a main entrance, they fall into the basilica from the side. And a good viewing platform with a view of the city center and the cathedral.

  • Cost: is free.
  • Visit time: from 7:30 to 18:00.

Siena Gate

The historic center of the city, the same one listed by UNESCO, has several preserved gates, previously united by a wall. Previously, the gate served as the entrance to the city, however, as now. Through this gate we entered the city. This is Porta Tufi.

Photo by: Oleksandr Safronov IGotoWorld Photo Group.

Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea)

The Medici fortress was built by the Florentines in 1561-1563 to mark the collapse of the Siena Republic. The fortress is 200 meters wide and 270 meters long. Today, gorgeous views of the city open from here.

Photo source: allcastles.com.

Cost: is free.

Museum Museum of Santa Maria della Scala

This hospital, one of the oldest in Europe (founded in the 9th century), now pleases visitors with thousands of exhibits located on 13,000 m² and related to the history of Siena. Original sculptures and other elements of the Fountain of Joy are stored here.

Photo Credit: Combusken, wikipedia.org.

Cost: 9 euros (preferential - 7 euros, family - 20 euros, children under 11 years old - free of charge).

Visit time:

  • March 15 - October 15: 10: 00-19: 00,
  • October 16 - March 14, Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10: 00-17: 00, Saturday-Sunday: 10: 00-19: 00, Tuesday - day off.

Transport in Siena

The center of Siena - actually the Old Town, is closed for transport. Parking, by the way, is paid. So, we will not see buses or trams that are familiar to our eyes. And the narrow medieval streets are not particularly conducive to public transport. We left the car at the city gates and went on foot to walk around Siena.

But, despite all of the above, there is transport in Siena! In the form of small "beads" pollicino (ticket price - 90 euro cents when buying at a kiosk at the tabacchi stop, more expensive from the driver). The ticket is tedious to compost.

Also, an interesting feature of Siena was the escalators that lift guests from the train station to the beginning of the old city (tentatively to Antiporto Camollia). A curious move.

Where to stay in Siena

Housing in the city, as in almost any tourist center in Europe, is enough. Siena hotels are located throughout the city, but if there is a financial opportunity, you should focus on those that are comfortably located in the old city. Talking about their possessions, hoteliers usually indicate the distance to the heart of Siena - the central square of Piazza del Campo. The closer, the steeper, respectively. I remind you that the city center is closed for transport, and if you are by car, you will have to leave it outside the city walls.

If you are reluctant to overpay, it is not a problem to find a hotel outside the old city - it is almost always cheaper, but, of course, it will take longer to get to the main attractions of Siena.

For clarity, a couple of examples.

Residenza d'Epoca Campo Regio Relais is located 400 meters from Piazza del Campo. On average, rooms in the "central hotels" cost from 100 to 200 euros, although options are always available.

Photo source: booking.com.

Hotel Santa Caterina, which is located outside the old city, but not very far, costs already about 100 euros per night. Here with such a view.

Photo source: booking.com.

In general, there are few options for less than 70 euros per night. However, this is not only a problem of Siena.

Cozy Italian city with a medieval center. Graceful palazzos, beautiful temples, fascinating museums and the indescribable atmosphere of sunny Italy. All this and much more - Siena, a magical place in the midst of delightful Tuscany.

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