Siena was an Etruscan Hilltown and then became a Roman colony. The legend tells it was founded by Senio and Ascanio, sons of Remus. For this reason the shewolf and the two twin brothers remind that of the founding of Rome with Romolus and Remus.
It reached its flourishing Time on the 13th and 14th century during the Middle Ages. Siena still preserves its medieval Atmosphere with colourful Flags and folkloristic Processions. Siena means also Food and Wine traditions from Tuscany. In the Area around Siena you can visit many wine producers and organize great wine tastings of the most famous wines from Tuscany such as Brunello, Montepulciano, Chianti, Nobile di Montepulciano, Bolgheri.
Here follows a list of the best Things to do in Siena:
Piazza del Campo
Piazza del Campo, the Heart of Siena. On the 2nd July and 16th of August takes place the famous Palio, the historic Horse Race that involves all the people of Siena. The Campo has the Shape of a Shell and is decorated with important Palaces from the Medieval Time, the most important being the Palazzo Publico with its Bell Tower.
The Palio attracts thousands of people every year. This popular celebration has been organised since the 13th century. If you stand in the middle of the square it is free but if you want to sit on the tribunes the tickets can be very expensive. The show is guaranteed even if the horse race itself lasts only 90 seconds.
Palazzo Pubblico and Mangia tower
Palazzo Pubblico and Mangia Tower. The Tower is the highest Medieval Tower in Tuscany, much higher than the leaning Tower of Pisa. The Palazzo Publico is the most important Gothic Civil Architecture in the World. Inside are many Masterpieces from Siena’s glorious Time for example the Good and Bad Governance by Lorenzetti. Lady Pax depicted in this Fresco was chosen by Unesco as its Symbol.
Duomo di Siena
Cathedral of Siena, one of the most beautiful Gothic Churches in Italy with Masterpieces by Pinturicchio, Donatello, Michelangelo and Bernini. The Facade is richly decorated and recently restored. With the full Ticket you can also visit the Baptisterium, Crypta and the “Facciatone”, from where you can enjoy a stunning View over the Valleys around Siena.
Siena’s culinary tradition
Siena’s Culinary Tradition. Tuscany and especially Siena offers a wide Choise of Food and Wine. Regarding Wine from the Area near Siena are coming the famous Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. At every Corner you can find typical Trattorias and Wine Bars. Our favourite Place is “Osteria le Sorelline” where you can taste Cold Cuts, Pecorino Cheese, Homemade Pici and Pappardelle and delicious juicy Meat. As Dessert in Siena you should try Cantucci and Vin Santo, Ricciarelli and Panforte.
Get lost in the narrow streets
Get lost in the narrow Streets within the medieval Walls of Siena as for example Via dei Banchi di Sopra, the main passeggiata street of Siena. The legendary Via Francigena is also going through the city centre of Siena. You will be surprized by the monumental Entry Gates such as Porta Camollia or porta romana and the Fountains such as Fonte Branda and Fonte Gaia.
Visit a vineyard
Siena’s province is famous for its wines. You can spend a day visiting the castles, vineyards and cellars of some of the most famous Italian Wine producers such as Antinori, Frescobaldi, Banfi, Castello di Brolio etc. You can choose the Orcia Valley and Montalcino where the famous Brunello is produced, Montepulciano, city of the so called Nobile or the area of Chianti Classico.
Italy’s national Wine Museum
The Medici fortress hosts Enoteca Italiana, Italy’s national Wine Museum. The fortress is outside the ancient city walls and near the football stadium. You can taste a glass of wine in the terrace outside or you can buy a vintage bottle for your collection.
Visit San Domenico church
The church contains the relics of Santa caterina da Siena, the first female doctor of the church and 1 of the 6 saints protectors of Europe. The mummified head and thumb are here visible. Inside the church is also a very important Renaissance chapel decorated by Sodoma, one of Raphael’s pupils.
One of the most important museums of Medieval painting. The Sienese school is very important for the medieval art. The most famous artists from the medieval time in Siena are Duccio da Boninsegna, Simone Martini and Lorenzetti.