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Digging the culture
Get deeper into the city's history and artistic flair
Popular activities in Siena
Planning your Siena visit
Central European Time (CET)
The easiest way to get to Siena from Florence is by bus, although the train journey is more scenic. The SITA bus from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station to Siena’s Piazza Antonio Gramsci takes 80 minutes. From there, Siena’s main attractions are all walkable. Note that Siena’s center is for pedestrians only. No cars are allowed (not even taxis!), so factor this in if you don’t like walking, especially if you’re not a fan of a 30° inclines. Trekking around Siena will give you some insight into how Italians can eat so much and stay fit!
Food and drink
Italy is full of delights, but Siena has a distinctive (and delicious) specialty: panforte - a dense cake made from honey, flour, almonds, candied fruits and spices. Ricciarelli - small almond paste cakes - are another sweet Siena specialty. Real foodies make a beeline for Fortress Market (07:00 - 13:00 every Wednesday). Dozens of stalls featuring mouthwatering food items, plus shoes, bags, clothes and fresh produce are set up along the city perimeter. Our tip: try some porchetta (roasted pork stuffed with sage, rosemary, and more).
Giddy up for the Palio horse race
The Sienese have held special festivals every year since the 11th century, during which the locals have fought for political and social supremacy. Though fist fights are a thing of the past, the annual horse race is still going strong. The Palio horse race happens twice a year, on 2 July and 16 August. It’s an enduring symbol of pride and civic identity for the locals. Expect huge crowds in the city center and an electric atmosphere, especially around Piazza del Campo. The races take place in the early evening hours, but festivities last all day.
What to do in Siena for 3 days
Cathedral of Siena
As one of the most treasured examples of the Gothic-Roman style in Italy, you’ll be wowed by the Cathedral of Siena. Gaze at amazing frescoes by the likes of Donatello, Michelangelo, and Pinturicchio. Don't forget to check out the floor - it's made of 56 panels of inlaid marble mosaics! Some of the most important European artistic monuments are here, and it’s just as remarkable as the Duomo in Florence. Take a morning out of your schedule to soak up this historical wonder, and pssst, you can skip the line with our ticket!
Piazza del Campo
This popular piazza known as Il Campo is the beating heart of the city and has been since the mid-12th century. As Siena's longtime civic and social center it was built on the site of a Roman marketplace, divided into nine sectors which represent the number of members in Siena’s ruling council. Today, tourists eat dinner in the abundant cafes and restaurants around the reconstructed fountain, students picnic and study, and many nights out in Siena start here with cocktails and aperitivos around the perimeter.
Civic Museums of San Gimignano
Picture elegant palaces and impressive towers, making for spectacular photo opportunities under the hot Tuscan sun. It’s well worth your time to visit this cultural hub. Check out the Civic Museums, the 14th-century Torre Grossa (the highest tower in the city) and the Archaeological Museum, where you can witness the treasures of the Etruscan, Roman and Medieval epochs. Wander around the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery Raffaele De Grada and learn all about the secrets of the Apothecary of the Hospital of Santa Fina. Our 2-day pass lets you access all areas!
Duomo of San Gimignano and Museum of Sacred Art
The Duomo of San Gimignano, also known as the Collegiata di San Gimignano, is an impressive Romanesque-Gothic cathedral that will cause a few jaws to drop among your group. In the adjoining Museum of Sacred Art you’ll see original 13th-century frescoes and art from the Collegiate and the surrounding area's impressive churches and convents. Some of these monuments survived the bombings in WWII, were dusted off in 1999 and featured in the movie Tea with Mussolini. History, mystery and a day on a movie set all in one - what could be more exciting in Siena?