How to spend one day in Siena
At about an hour's train ride away from Florence's Santa Maria Novella, Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular cities in the hilly Tuscan countryside. Siena, just like Florence, was a proud city-state during the Middle Ages, producing incredible works of art and architecture.
Even today, the Sienese are fiercely proud of their hometown. Siena is made up of 17 districts, or contrade, which compete in the annual Palio, a massive horse race held twice a year.
If your time is limited, one day is more than enough to enjoy the main sights in Siena - read on to discover how I spent my time here, and let me know if I missed out on anything!
Siena is perched on top of a really steep hill, so from the train station, I highly recommend taking the bus straight up to the old city centre, especially if you're visiting in summer. The city centre, however, is closed to traffic, so keep it in mind if you or someone you're travelling with has accessibility requirements.
Siena is perhaps best known for its shell-shaped town square, where the annual Palio is held, so if this is your first time here, I'd walk straight into the heart of the city and enjoy Piazza del Campo before anything else. Although the busiest area of the old centre, it's definitely worth your time.
The Piazza has a unique shell shape with buildings all around and the Fonte Gaia, the largest fountain of the city (taking a dip is really not encouraged). The Torre del Mangia overlooks the piazza, and you can climb up its 400 steps and enjoy the view from above.
Lunchtime? If there's one place I have to recommend, it has to be Pizzicheria De Miccoli, a small salumeria cramped with the most divine hams and cheeses, which you get to choose and put on freshly baked paninis. It's slightly on the pricey side, but boy is it worth it. The Pizzicheria does not have anywhere to sit and eat, but in my opinion, the best way of eating lunch in Siena is to just walk around the alleyways and munch away while enjoying the place. Multitasking much?
One place you can't miss in Siena is the Piazza del Duomo, with the Cathedral, Crypt and Piccolomini Library, all of which you can visit by using the OPASi Pass, which is much cheaper than buying individual tickets.
The Duomo is one of the finext examples of classic Romanesque-Gothic architecture, and stunning both inside and outside, and completely covered with gorgeous white and forest green marble. During the building process, it was intended to be the largest cathedral in the world, but halfway through, the cash ran out, leaving random beautifully sculpted arcs around the Cathedral. Despite not having made it as the biggest cathedral in the world, it's still a masterpiece.
This will sound silly, but the one thing I enjoyed doing most when I was in Siena was to just walk around. I walked and walked and walked and at a point I found myself on the outskirts of the city, with the most gorgeous views. Thanks to Discover Tuscany, I managed to track the streets I went through so you can do the same :) It is a relatively short walk which ends at the Orti dei Tolomei park:
From Piazza del Campo, follow Via Giovanni Dupre, at the end of which you'll find the Contrada de la Onda fountain (it has a dolphin in the middle!). Turn right into Via Sant' Agata, then left at Via della Diana, then right at Via ettore Bastianini, from where you can enjoy some breathtaking views of the Tuscan hills and the city walls below you.
And that was my day in Siena! I hope you love it just as much as I did - tweet at me your favourite shots from the city!