One Day in Siena - A Guide to the City
September 3, 2018
by Michelle Marie Cassar
Siena is a relatively small city in the Italian region of Tuscany. Sparing a day to visit this charming gem of a city is worth while and one is sure not to regret it. A day is enough for a speedy visit of the city that will make you fall in love with this Italian gem. Situated high on a hill surrounded by a number of valleys, it offers breathtaking views of the Tuscan vast greenery.
Getting to Siena
There are a number of ways one can get to this destination from most major Italian tourist destinations including Rome, Florence and Pisa. One can opt to take a direct bus from any of these cities or arrive at Siena by train. Tickets are not very expensive therefore it will not empty your pockets to visit this city.
A bus ride will take around one and a half hours, depending from where you are leaving. Tickets can be bought both online or from a station there. A bus ride offers a nice scenic tour of the Tuscan countryside while you relax comfortably in your seat. When you arrive, the bus stops close to the entrance to the city center, around a fifteen minute walk to the heart of the city.
Getting there by train is also an option. A train ride takes about two hours as well, however in contrast to the bus, the train station is about a twenty minute walk to the old city walls. Trains tend to have delays and are sometimes overcrowded, diminishing the joy of watching the beautiful views passing you by until you arrive at your destination.
If you really want to save money and do not mind carpooling with strangers, the Italians have a downloadable application which you can use. This app shows you available trips posted by people who are going to undertake the commute. Passage is usually quite cheap and it is a good way to make new friends.
Traveling Around Siena
Being on a hill, Siena is full of stairs and steep streets making walking through it a very good work out. There are buses one can use to go from one side of the city to the other. However if you’re up for walking, going around on foot is a lovely walk that allows you to experience the beauty of the city at your own pace. It also makes more time available for you as you do not have to wait for the bus to arrive. As the city is very small, one can cross from one side of the old town to the other on foot in about thirty minutes.
Must See Places In Siena
The main attractions where the most interesting sites to visit in Siena are in the old part of the city. This part of the city can be distinguished by the fortifications that surround this part of the town.
Piazza Del Campo
This is the main square in Siena. It is a gorgeous medieval square surrounded by high buildings characteristic to the region. This square is usually filled with a lot of people, locals and tourists, who sit down on the pavement to admire the beautiful atmosphere of this hidden square while staring in awe at the Torre del Mangia. A stop here to take a typical Italian cafe or a nice refreshing cocktail is a must so that one can enjoy the view and let the beauty of this piazza really sink in the typical Italian way.
Fonte Di Gaia
The Fonte Di Gaia is a beautiful fountain also situated in the Piazza Del Campo. A refreshing drink of water is a god send especially if you opt for walking around the city. This marble fountain only takes a minute to be seen but one can spend hours admiring the beautiful sculptures done in the marble.
Another must see in Siena is the cathedral located about ten minutes away from the main square. The magnificent polychrome marble facade of this church fills the square it is located in with a majestic presence which is difficult to describe. It is a must see, at least from the outside if you do not have time to wait to go in. However if you can spare the time, the interior of this cathedral is breathtaking.
Walking Around Siena
A walk around the narrow streets of Siena is the best way to see the city. As it is quite small, a walk around these streets allows a traveler to see the beauty that Tuscany can offer.
Going around on foot rather than by bus, you might encounter a group of sbandieratori (flag throwers) practicing for their next show. It is quite an experience to watch these shows and they are for free.
When you reach the outskirts of the old city, you are blown away by the beautiful views of the valleys surrounding this hilltop city. Gardens around the outskirts are great places to rest for a few minutes and to admire the vast countryside filled with vineyards and the occasional villa one would think is coming out of a postcard.
Must Eat in Siena
Italy is famous for its delicious cuisine of pasta, cold cuts and meat. For a mouth-watering meal, a visit to a salumeria is the best way to go. Here you can order a platter that is filled with different cold-cut meats and cheese that are sure to satisfy your hunger while getting to know the local cuisine. Pair the platter with a good bottle of wine and there you have it, a great date night. If you’re not into these kinds of foods, there are plenty of other options and good restaurants to choose from. Surely, any Italian restaurant will satisfy any craving you might have.
For breakfast, the best way to start the day is to get a cafe and a local pastry or panini and you are good to go for a whole morning of exploring the city.
All in all, any activity you choose to do in Siena, it will enrich your holiday in Tuscany. All the places mentioned above can be seen in a day or less therefore you can opt for a day trip to save money. However Siena is a stop you should make if you’re in Italy.