12 Best Things to Do in Siena

Martina Rosado
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Map of things to do in Siena

The list of things to do in Siena is a long and varied collection of destinations vying for your attention. Siena is a city with so much to offer that it is unlikely that, when out and about exploring, you will pass the times worryingly. An enhanced map of Siena shows a location for almost every interesting site, and the mini-map applications can save you time when you are trying to find some place that you have seen on a list but can’t quite remember its exact location. The Google Maps application comes loaded with Google Translate support, so you can translate Italian to English and visa versa. Google Translate application is an online tool, so you do not need to download it to your mobile device. You can use equipped digital camera in your phone to photograph points of interest.

The following list of Siena attractions will help you with your sightseeing in Paradise. You could use the following guide to uncover the best things to do when on holidays in Siena, including the best things to see and the best places to eat. From spas to art museums to picnics in the park, there is so much to discover in Siena. Start by learning about all the attractions found on the map in the list below.

Looking to see more of Italy? Looking to see more of Italy? Read our article:

Santa Maria della Scala

For a walk through the old streets, visit Santa Maria della Scala. This is a church in the northwestern part of the city, with a beautiful faflade dating from the 15th century. Externally, the church looks like a typical country church, but inside there is that particular Sienese architectonic style. Enjoy the religious frescoes on the walls and in the tramezzo. The church was erected between 1400 and 1430, and was used as a market but also as a hospital. Indeed, in front of the apse, there is a beautiful Santo Odino painted by Gimignano school.

The church features a series of works by the Sienese painter, Luca Signorelli. In the first chapel on the left as you come in, there is an Annunciation as well as a painting representing Moses striking the rock to obtain water. The second chapel on your left, and the last on the right, houses Saint Sebastian as a knight with a particularly nonchalant attitude. In the third chapel on the left, there is a painting of the Crucifixion.

Basilica di San Domenico

Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena

Fonte Gaia

You don’t really need me to sell you on this one, but here’s a good place to start: it’s a natural spring fountain, created by nature, that is the cornerstone of the world’s most popular tourist attraction, the Uffizi Gallery, which is also in Florence.

The waterfall of the “Fountain of Moses” is a perfect place for a dip, and just about everyone who’s ever been to Florence has jumped in the water at least once.

It’s best after a bit of a rain shower when the water is at its clearest, but who cares if you’re visiting the city when it’s raining in Florence anyway? I’ve even seen a woman take a swig of the water from the fountain on purpose. Don’t ask me why, but I’ll take it.

Not a massive waterfall, like in South America, but it’s the Uffizi and the weather and the people there are enough to tempt about anyone.

Palazzo Pubblico & Civic Museum

Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana

The name has many variants including the Musuem of Palazzo Comunale, L'Opera, and the Opera Metropolitana, but it is most commonly known as the Opera Museum. This beautiful building is the home of the Siena's Palazzo Comunale, and is set in the heart of the city in an unassuming way.

Its historical importance is well documented and despite its collection of art, it is a most unusual museum in that it predominantly focuses on the art of costume design from the 17th century right through to the 20th century.

The vast majority of the artifacts in the museum come from the dress collections of Siena's three most important families, the Agostini, the Santa Fosca and the Giusti.

This garden is a fine example of how Renaissance styles adapted to suit the practicalities of daily life. The low walls and doorways of the garden were designed to allow the maximum amount of light into the small space. A piazza of statues surrounds this garden, all male figures, representing the main figures of the stories in the Grand Duke Francesco's collection.

The Piazza del Campo The Piazza del Campo is the most famous square in Siena, referred to as the Piazza del Campo Del Mercato for its location at the center of the city's market.

Battistero di San Giovanni

Torre del Mangia

The old fortified tower rising high above the city of Siena offers a great view of the city. In the summer, you can take a tour where you can learn about the history of the place and the local red wine wine.

The tour, lasting 1 hour and 50 minutes, costs about €6.50 and is available in multiple languages. To get to the tower, take a bus or taxi from the main square next to Piazza del Campo.

You can also buy a 1-day pass that costs about €7 that lets you visit the tower, the Palazzo Comunale, and other city landmarks.

Biblioteca Piccolomini

Library – Siena, Italy.

The library of the Piccolomini family was one of the first to use the book stack as we know it today; it is made up of three separate rooms. The library collection contains 23,000 books on art, architecture, decorative arts, religion, philosophy and history as well as 1570 medieval codices.

Palio di Siena

One of the most widely known and esteemed equestrian festivals in the world takes place in the streets of Siena. The Palio “the Ring Run” takes place in the Campo during the first week of July each year.

The event originated in the 12th century and still honors the three ancient surnames of the city: Castiglione, Mucci, and Tolomei. Those families would build a reliefed entry into their homes that would be painted and then affixed with cloth of different colors.

The first day of the Palio, the colors would be different, but by the end of the week, they would begin to blend causing a stir, horse racing, and promoting a game of luck.

Palio di Siena, which is sometimes referred to as Palio Senesi, took place many times without being official in order to decide which family would win the right to put their mural in the Campo, or to no longer be in the Palio at all. Throughout the centuries, the Palio has been fought out between the Senese families, but in 1967, the information on the families was set to create a more official Palio with a series of Florentine horsemen who would ride the teams for each family. Before 1967, the horses competed at a trot, but in 1967, it was decided that a full gallop would be more exciting.

Duomo di Siena

The city’s most famous architectural masterpiece is the Duomo di Siena, or the “Big Cathedral” of Siena. Finished in 1405, the church features an imposing façade and an ornate cloister and dome reminiscent of Florence’s Florence Cathedral. Inside, you will find a single towering nave, which is the purest expression of Sienese Gothic architecture.

The square in front of the church is lined with more than 100 Romanesque buildings, one of which is the Palazzo Pubblico, the city's governing center.

The city of Siena was a city-state in north-central Italy whose economy flourished largely due to its position on the main routes between Florence, Rome, and northern Italy. The city-state was an independent republic with its own elected officials until the Second Italian War of Independence, which ended in Siena's alliance with the Kingdom of Italy.

Piazza del Campo

Hidden in the maze of the alleyways of Siena, this piazza is one of the most beautiful in the entire region. It’s the perfect place to sit and reflect on all that you’ve seen so far. A very photogenic piazza, it’s also one with the best grocery stores and gelato shops in the city.