Are you heading on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Tuscany and looking for the best things to do in Siena? Then keep reading.
Tuscany is one of Italy’s most magical regions known for its endless rolling hills, iconic cypress trees, and thriving wineries. What’s more, it is home to some of the most beautiful villages in Italy such as Siena! Siena is a stunning and historic city known for its hilly landscape, medieval architecture, and bursting charm. The city truly feels alive with an unmatched energy that is enough to put anyone under its spell.
Discover the 14 best things to do in Siena for the ultimate getaway.
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14 Best Things to do in Siena
Enter the Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena)
The Siena Cathedral is one of the most unexpectedly beautiful pieces of architecture in Siena. It is like a hidden gem amongst the winding roads and various hills of Siena, but once you stumble upon this stunning Cathedral you will be awe-struck. Siena Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is both beautiful from the outside and the inside.
This cathedral looks very similar to the famous Florence Dumono with its white and black striped exterior which only adds to its charm. On the inside, you will find paintings, sculptures and more. Be sure to get tickets in advance to ensure you can go when you want.
Roam Around the Historic Center
The historic center of Siena is a magical place to walk around and explore, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site! The old town is a maze of winding streets, huge hills and old medieval buildings. It is the ideal place to get lost in for a few hours finding hidden gems like secret alleys, local shops and more. This is not only one of the best things to do in Siena but also one of the best FREE things to do in the city.
Walk Around Piazza del Campo
Located in the historic center of Siena is Piazza del Campo, the main public square with a long history. This huge, medieval square is often regarded as Europe’s best and most magnificent. The sheer size and architectural design make it very unique within Europe where most squares are quite quaint this one is HUGE! Plus, the iconic buildings circling it only add to its charm.
Admire Palazzo Pubblico
Palazzo Pubblico is a palace and town hall located right in the city’s main square Piazza del Campo. In addition to being very important historically it is also very beautiful. It is home to many breathtaking frescoes that are unique in that they were not commissioned by the church but by the government. Admire Palazzo Pubblico from both the exterior and interior for a taste of old life in Siena.
Marvel at Biblioteca Piccolomini
Located inside the Siena Duomo is Biblioteca Piccolomini an awe-worthy library home to books dating back hundreds of years. What’s more, the entire library is painted in vibrant and intricate paintings that are beyond gorgeous! You can get tickets for the library when you get tickets to enter the Duomo.
Admire the City Views
One of the best things to do in Siena is head to one of the many high points in the city to admire the stretching city views. Siena from above is pure magic and viewing this city from an above perspective is a must. One of the easiest ways to get a beautiful view of the city is by booking accommodation with a view: one great option is Hotel Minerva which is the view pictured above.
Some additional places are: Facciatone and Vista Siena.
Embark on a Wine Tasting Tour
Tuscany wine is some of the best wines in the WORLD. This is why one of the best things to do in Siena is to leave the city and embark on a wine tasting tour of the famous wineries all around. Head to the chianti wine region and visit endless wineries with amazing and historic wines. It is best to go with a guided tour as then you don’t have to worry about having a sober driver.
Visit The Basilica of San Domenico
The Basilica of San Domenico is one of the most important basilica churches in Siena. It was built in the 13th and 14th centuries and shows a unique Gothic architecture style. This Basilica stands tall and proud amongst the hilly terrain of Siena and is one of the most beautiful churches in the city. Although it is less popular and famous than the Siena Duomo it is still well worth a visit.
Explore Sanctuary of Saint Catherine
The Sanctuary of Saint Catherine is a 17th-century church and now sanctuary located in Siena’s historic center. It is filled with art, frescos, and sculptures. This is the perfect place to head to if you want to escape the crowds of some of Siena’s more popular attractions and enjoy some peace.
Enjoy Battistero di San Giovanni
Battistero di San Giovanni is a famous Catholic Church in Seina that can be found in the historic center. It was built between the years 1316 and 1325 and is well worth a visit both outside and inside. Easily one of the best things to do in Siena delves into its deep religious history and heading to Battistero di San Giovanni is one of the best ways to do this.
Aim to Witness Palio di Siena
If you are lucky, or plan well enough, to visit Siena on July 2nd or August 16th then you can witness the historic Palio di, Siena. This is a horse race that occurs twice a year that truly showcases the passion and culture of Siena. The race includes 10 horses and riders who are dressed to represent 10 of the 17 contrade (city wards) of Siena.
The race is 3 laps around the famous Piazza del Campo, including some dangerous and narrow parts to the laps like the curve of San Martino. Of course, the first rider and horse to cross the finish line win! The competition between the different Contradas is extremely high and witnessing it in person is a sight you will not want to miss.
Eat a Meal with a View
Siena is home to many amazing restaurants all with their own charm and beauty. Finding a unique place to sit down for a delicious Italian meal with a stunning view is one of the best ways to soak in the culture and beauty of Siena. Eating with a view is one of the best things to do in Siena for foodies and architectural lovers combined.
Here are some of the best restaurants in Siena:
Rent a Scooter and Explore Tuscany
One of the top things to do in Siena is to escape the town for a day or two to explore the stunning Tuscany region. Renting a scooter or car is the best way to explore freely as the roads are very clear and well maintained and this way you can map your own adventures.
There are very few places as beautiful as Tuscany and visiting Siena, some of the other beautiful towns in Tuscany, and the Tuscany countryside is a must!
Gelato at Night
Eating a copious amount of gelato in Italy is common sense. Luckily Siena is home to a ton of different gelato stands where you can try unique flavours to cool off from the warm city days. One of the best things to do in Siena is to go to a Gelato shop at night and get a few scoops to eat as you roam the city streets.
Where to Stay in Siena
When to Visit Siena
The best time to visit Siena is From May – October. These months offer the best weather and the most exciting events. If you want to avoid extreme heat visit in May – June and September – October. But if you can manage the heat visiting in July and August to see the Palio di Siena is a must.
Getting travel insurance before you travel is a MUST. It’s the number one thing you should always pack before travelling that can save you a lot of money, time, and stress. With how crazy travel has gotten recently you need that peace of mind that no matter what happens there is something protecting you from losing out. I always travel with travel insurance and think everyone should.
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With so many amazing things to do in Siena the adventure awaits!
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Wow what a lovely city to explore! That gelato looks so yummy and your photos are just stunning!
Italy has so many wonderful places to visit, and this is just another one! Thanks for the inspiration for my next visit.
I have always wanted to visit Siena. How long would you recommend staying there?
OMG, I love Siena and you’ve truly captured all of its beauty in this post! Thanks for sharing this and allowing me to wander its beautiful streets once more through your lens!