This dreamy, medieval museum of a city will transport you back to the Middle Ages in grand style! Siena is perfectly situated in the heart of Tuscany but without the tourist deluge of Florence, which, just 43 miles away, is an easy daytrip or weekend getaway. It’s an excellent place to learn Italian and explore the beautiful Tuscany countryside, wine country, and Tuscany villas and restaurants dotting the hillsides!
A Medieval Masterpiece
Due to Siena’s centuries-long economic downturn during the Medici rule there were no funds to undertake demolition or new construction.
Then during World War II, the French took Siena with virtually no opposition or damage, thus leaving the gothic city virtually intact as a medieval masterpiece, with its twisting maze of an historic center among Italy’s finest strolling grounds.
Live in the shadows of Siena’s grand cathedral, built in the 1200s, near the Piazza del Campo, or traffic-free main square, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Classic Tuscany Experience
Head for Piazza del Duomo to awe at the cathedral, completed between 1196 and 1215, and its white, green and red marble exterior façade and inlaid-marble floor, decorated with 56 detailed panels from the 14th to 16th centuries. Climb the 400 steps of Torre del Mangia, built in 1344, for amazing views of the city and beyond. Or follow the Saint Catherine trail, named for the Siena-born 14th century co-patron saint of Italy.
Siena is also home to the Palio, a medieval tradition involving bareback riders racing on cobblestones, a real spectacle that takes place in July and August. Whatever your interests, this city and this region offer the classic Tuscany experience, hidden treasures, and long-lasting memories.