Siena: what to do and what to see in a day
Siena is one of the most beautiful and famous Tuscan cities in the world, so much so that visiting it in a single day without impossible.
In fact, by organizing everything it is possible to see the most representative monuments and experience a wonderful day of history, art and culture. In fact, the historic center is quite small and you can easily get around entirely on foot. In fact, it will be even more fascinating to immerse yourself in Siena’s medieval atmosphere. The historic center of Siena is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So here are our tips on what to do and see in Siena in one day! As you will see, we have included only two stops, the ones that are literally unmissable. Remember, however, that Siena is full of other wonders so if you ever come back to these parts, there is surely so much more to discover.
Piazza del Campo
The first stop must of course be the beautiful Piazza del Campo.
Famous throughout the world because of the Palio that it hosts twice a year, it has a literally unique conformation and structure.
Its shell shape is unparalleled in the world, and the brick color of the pavement and buildings facing it is very striking. The square is divided into nine sectors as a tribute to the Nine Lords who ruled the city from 1287 to 1355. In order for the square to have a harmonious appearance, the government of Siena required that the buildings facing Piazza del Campo respect precise aesthetic canons: in fact, you will notice that there are no balconies but mullioned windows with two and three lights, and that they are all made of brick.
In the center of the square is a splendid decorative fountain, the Fonte Gaia by Jacopo della Quercia.
When you are in Piazza del Campo, remember also to notice some historic buildings.
- The Palazzo Pubblico, the tallest building, built between 1200 and 1300. Today it houses the Civic Museum of Siena, which we recommend you visit.
- The Torre del Mangia, right next to the Palazzo Pubblico. Built between 1338 and 1348, it is one of the oldest civic towers in Italy (it is an impressive 88 meters high). Climbing the 110 steps you’ll reach the small terrace overlooking the square, but it takes a good 400 steps to reach the top.
- Cappella di Piazza, which stands at the foot of the Torre del Mangia. A marble tabernacle that juts out from the perimeter of the square, built in 1352.
- Palazzo Sansedoni, a wonderful example of 14th-century architecture. The interior is rich in frescoes and decorations. Today the palace is home to the Monte dei Paschi di Siena Foundation but can be visited by appointment.
Piazza del Duomo
The second stop is Piazza del Duomo, which is just a few minutes from Piazza del Campo.
There are several interesting stops in this square as well. The first is undoubtedly the Duomo itself, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. It is a truly fascinating example of Italian Romanesque-Gothic style, with its white and dark green, almost black marble facade (the colors of the city).
We recommend you visit the interior because it is really worth it. The floor is full of esoteric symbols and religious stories, from the life of Moses to the Massacre of the Innocents. Also devote a visit to the Piccolomini Library, frescoed by Pinturicchio and Raphael Sanzio, and the Piccolomini Chapel, which Michelangelo also worked on in the 16th century. Also worth a visit is the crypt, where some splendid frescoes of the Sienese school are preserved.
During your stop in Piazza del Duomo, here’s what else there is to see.
- Baptistery of San Giovanni, separate from the Duomo, which is accessed by a beautiful staircase. Inside you can admire works of art by Donatello, Lorenzo di Pietro and Jacopo della Quercia.
- The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo will allow you to discover some masterpieces by Duccio da Buoninsegna and Giovanni Pisano.
- Santa Maria della Scala, a complex that is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. Pilgrims, the poor and abandoned children were received here. It is a very very large facility, so it will take you a little time but it is worth it!
Plan your visit to Siena in one day
Of course while you visit Piazza del Campo and Piazza del Duomo, with all their monuments, you will stroll through the city streets and enjoy the medieval atmosphere of Siena.
If you want to visit Siena in a day, you can stay at the Gargonza Castle and start your Siena day from there.
Want to book your stay? Write to us!