Welcome to Siena

Siena is one of the most famous Italian cities and a place every tourist aims to visit during a trip to Tuscany. It is famous for its Palio that takes place twice a year, and for its characteristic narrow streets flanked by brick buildings.

Siena is one of the most popular and visited places in Tuscany, a place extremely rich in history and art and with strong local traditions tied to its 17 districts (called “contrade”) and to the famous Palio di Siena, the biggest annual event that takes place twice each summer in the city.

Siena lies in the picturesque Tuscan hills south of Florence, which was throughout much of the city’s history its chief competitor for wealth and power.The historic city is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO and is filled with beautiful and interesting places to visit. Siena began to prosper in the 12th century and reached its artistic zenith in the 13th and 14th centuries, when its artists rivaled those of Florence. The cathedral and palaces of Siena, most of them built of brick made from the local red clay, are outstanding monuments of Gothic architecture. As you explore the many tourist attractions in Siena’s beautiful Centro Storico, the historic old town, be prepared to do a lot of walking, most of it uphill – or so it may seem.

What to see in Siena

If you visit Siena for the first time, to go straight into the heart of the city, to the beautiful Piazza del Campo, one of the landmarks of the city. You can decide to start your day in Siena right here or instead head towards the Duomo, returning to Piazza del Campo later. The main attractions of the city are located between Piazza del Campo and the Cathedral, so you’ll likely spend most of your time here anyway!

Always listed as one of Italy’s premier examples of Gothic architecture, Siena’s cathedral owes its dramatic first impression to the genius of Giovanni Pisano, who designed its façade and sculpted most of the statues and reliefs that adorn it.Highlights of this immense complex are the richly frescoed Biblioteca Piccolomini, the bronze reliefs by Ghiberti and Donatello in the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the 13th-century carved marble pulpit by Nicola Pisano, and the stunningly detailed floor of inlaid marble in the nave. One of the most unusual things to do in Siena is to climb to the top of the Facciatone, the unfinished façade of the cathedral that was never built.

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