We first traveled to Siena for a friend’s wedding, and were lucky to return earlier this month for another romantic celebration, this time at the incredible Stomennano, a tiny Tuscan village built on top of Etruscan and Roman ruins. (https://stomenanno.it)
Siena is incredibly sophisticated and beautiful, the people are so warm, and it is one of the most well-preserved historic centers in all of Italy. While you’ll rarely see a car inside of its walls, if you can make it in time for July 2nd or August 16th, you’ll get to see the Palio de Siena, a horse race that’s been around since at least 1644. Ten horses and riders (who ride bareback) get dressed in the colors that represent ten of the seventeen contrade of the city. If you go, make sure that you get the coveted seats near the finishing line. Not just because you will be at the center of the excitement, but you will be in the shade of the old buildings.
If you don’t make it for the race, Siena is romantic, small and there are many beautiful Medieval buildings to view year round. And, it’s less crowded than Florence.
Here are a few of our favorite things to do when in Siena:
- Piazza del Campo is the heart of Siena, and impossible to miss. Have drinks in the shade in the early evening. You must have a spritz, which is proseco wine with a dash of some bitter liquor such as Aperol or Campari, topped with sparkling water. Delicious!
- Climb to the top of Torre del Mangia. To reach the top of the tower you have to climb 400 steps, but the views of the town and surrounding countryside are well worth it.
- Every Wednesday it’s market day in Siena. The biggest market in Tuscany is held at La Lizza, an area near the old fortress, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They sell food, clothes and also souvenirs.
- Traditonal food at La Taverna di San Giuseppe
- Delicious Italian at Bagoga and Enoteca i Terzi
- Pasticceria Bini for the best pastries in town
- Antichità Monna Agnese with jewelry shop opposite for antiques worth sending home.
- There is an outdoor antique market on the third Sunday every month at Piazza del Mercato.
- Cravattificio di Siena for beautiful scarves
- Rent a villa outside the city and have a car.