In this article we suggest you some of the top things to see and do in Siena and its surroundings.
The city of Siena is a small and wonderful medieval village in the heart of Tuscany. It never ceases to amaze you and there are always too many things not to be missed. That’s why in this article we tell you about some of the top things to see in Siena and its surroundings.
- Piazza del Campo
- Public palace of Siena
- The national picture gallery
- San Gimignano
Piazza del Campo
If you are in Siena, take a walk and go to Piazza del Campo. It is located in the historic center and has a 9-disc shell shape.
Since 1300, citizens have used it for celebrations, religious rites and of course the famous Palio di Siena held in the summer. As a tourist you cannot fail to sit in the center of the square and admire it in all its splendor.
Also, stop by the public palace with the Mangia tower, surrounded by beautiful sumptuous palaces. You can find the Fonte Gaia too, a beautiful water source which is however a copy of the one sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia around 1400.
Public Palace of Siena
In the historic center of Siena there is Palazzo Pubblico, which has been a meeting place for politicians since 1300. All the mayors, administrators and people of power have resided in this wonderful and sumptuous palace.
There is also a legal obligation not to build more beautiful and larger buildings than this one, and everyone must have the same style as it. We can consider Palazzo Pubblico one of the most beautiful town halls in Italy and you can also find the civic museum of Siena.
If you visit Siena you cannot fail to go to the Duomo as well. You can get there immediately after visiting Piazza del Campo and you will be amazed by its beauty and majesty.
The Cathedral is dedicated to Maria Assunta. Beautiful both inside and outside, it has black and white outlines on the facade and esoteric symbols and religious stories on the floor, such as that of the Sibyls or the Massacre of the Innocents.
Inside there is also the Piccolomini library and the Chapel where Michelangelo himself also worked.
The National Picture Gallery
If you are in Siena, you cannot miss going to see the masterpieces in the National Picture Gallery of Siena.
It extends over three floors: on the first floor you will find frescoes dating back to the 1400s and 1500s, but the real masterpieces are on the second floor where there are works that date back to the second half of the 1400s.
Some of these are: Duccio (the Madonna of the Franciscans), Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti (“The Little Majesty”) and Sano di Pietro. On the third floor, however, you will find the works of the Spanocchi-Piccolomini collection which was a large and noble Sienese family.
We think you should save some time to visit Siena noteworthy surroundings as well.
San Gimignano, for example, is one of those. It is a small medieval village that stands on 15 towers (previously there were 72). It is accessed via a single large road that goes up and down where there used to be the classic artisan shops, now replaced by the many souvenir shops.
You enter through two doors and the street leads to the main square, while you definitely can’t miss the torture museum, the Cathedral and the church of Sant’Agostino.
Pope Pius II commissioned the city of Pienza from Leon Battista Alberti and asked him to create a more beautiful city than Siena, since his family had been expelled. Pienza is also a small medieval village characterized by a large street leading to the main square.
The most important square is that of Pope Pius II, with a trapezoid shape, but you can’t miss the cathedral, the Piccolomini palace and the town hall with a large well in the center.
Finally, we recommend you also visiting the small medieval village of Montepulciano. It is accessed through a large street that leads to the main square called Piazza Grande.
Around the square there are four majestic palaces, the Palazzo Comunale which, thanks to its style, recalls the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence, the Palazzo Contucci and the Palazzo Nobili-Tarugi.
Obviously you can’t miss the Duomo, where you can find the Madonna and Child by Sano di Pietro. Don’t forget to take a tour of the village, go shopping and taste the local excellent wine.
These are just some of the many things to see in Siena and if you are interested in discovering Tuscany better, we suggest you read this article about 7 Spas for a relaxing escape.