What to Do in Siena: A Guide to Exploring the Heart of Tuscany

HomedestinationWhat to Do in Siena: A Guide to Exploring the Heart of...

If you’re wondering what to do in Siena during your trip to Tuscany, this picturesque city is a must-see destination. Nestled in the heart of the region, Siena is renowned for its medieval architecture, vibrant cultural scene, and breathtaking scenery. With so much to see and do, planning your itinerary can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best things to do in Siena, including top attractions, hidden gems, and local favorites.

Getting to Siena

Before we delve into the best things to do in Siena, let’s talk about how to get there. The most convenient way to reach Siena is by train from Florence or Rome. The journey from Florence takes around 1.5 hours, while from Rome it takes about 3 hours. If you’re driving, keep in mind that the city center is restricted to traffic, so you’ll need to park outside the walls and walk in.

Top Attractions in Siena

Piazza del Campo

No visit to Siena is complete without a trip to the iconic Piazza del Campo. This medieval square is the heart of the city and the site of the famous Palio di Siena horse race, held twice a year. Surrounded by historic buildings, including the Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia, the Piazza del Campo is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere of Siena.

Siena Cathedral

Another must-see attraction in Siena is the stunning Siena Cathedral. Built in the 12th century, this Gothic masterpiece is renowned for its intricate façade, stunning frescoes, and ornate interiors. Don’t miss the chance to climb to the top of the cathedral’s dome for panoramic views of the city.

Palazzo Pubblico

Located on the Piazza del Campo, the Palazzo Pubblico is a magnificent Gothic palace that has served as the seat of government in Siena since the 14th century. Visitors can explore the palace’s many rooms and halls, including the Sala del Mappamondo and the Sala del Concistoro, which are decorated with stunning frescoes.

What to Do in Siena

Pinacoteca Nazionale

Art lovers won’t want to miss the Pinacoteca Nazionale, which houses an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance art. The museum’s highlights include works by Sienese masters such as Duccio, Simone Martini, and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Hidden Gems in Siena

Orto Botanico di Siena

Tucked away behind the city walls, the Orto Botanico di Siena is a peaceful oasis of greenery and tranquility. This botanical garden is home to a diverse collection of plants from all over the world, including medicinal herbs, exotic flowers, and ancient trees.

Crypt of San Giovanni

Located beneath the stunning Siena Cathedral, the Crypt of San Giovanni is a hidden gem that few visitors know about. This ancient crypt is decorated with stunning frescoes and offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history.

Porta Romana

For a taste of Siena’s medieval past, head to Porta Romana, one of the city’s historic gates. This gate dates back to the 14th century and is one of the best-preserved gates in the city walls. From here, you can follow the ancient Via Francigena pilgrim route through the rolling Tuscan countryside.

What to Do in Siena

Local Favorites in Siena

Gelateria di Piazza

No trip to Italy is complete without indulging in some gelato, and Gelateria di Piazza is the best place to do so in Siena. This small gelateria is known for its innovative flavors and use of local, organic ingredients.

Contrada Museum

Siena is divided into 17 “contrade,” or districts, each with its own distinct identity and traditions. To learn more about these districts, visit the Contrada Museum, which showcases the history and culture of each contrada through art, artifacts, and costumes.

Wine Tasting in Chianti

Just outside of Siena lies the Chianti wine region, known for its world-class wines and stunning scenery. Take a wine tasting tour of the region to sample some of the best Tuscan wines and learn about the winemaking process.

What to Do in Siena

Practical Tips for Visiting Siena

Dress Appropriately

Siena is a conservative city, so it’s important to dress appropriately when visiting churches and other religious sites. Avoid shorts, sleeveless tops, and mini skirts, and cover your shoulders and knees.

Buy Tickets in Advance

To avoid long lines and crowds, it’s a good idea to buy tickets in advance for popular attractions like the Siena Cathedral and the Palazzo Pubblico.

Explore on Foot

Siena’s historic center is best explored on foot, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and take plenty of breaks to rest and soak up the atmosphere.

Try Local Specialties

Siena is famous for its cuisine, so be sure to try local specialties like pici pasta, ribollita soup, and chianti wine.


Siena is a city that captures the heart and imagination of all who visit. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, there’s no shortage of things to do and see. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Siena is sure to leave a lasting impression.


  1. What is the best time of year to visit Siena?
  • The best time to visit Siena is from April to June or September to October when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
  1. How long should I spend in Siena?
  • To fully explore Siena, we recommend spending at least two days in the city.
  1. What is the Palio di Siena?
  • The Palio di Siena is a bi-annual horse race that takes place in the Piazza del Campo. It is a fiercely competitive event that dates back to medieval times.
  1. Can I drive in Siena’s historic center?
  • No, the historic center of Siena is restricted to traffic. Visitors should park outside the city walls and explore on foot.
  1. What are some other cities to visit in Tuscany?
  • Some other cities worth visiting in Tuscany include Florence, Pisa, and Lucca.
An experienced photographer and passionate traveller, I am a Communication Sciences graduate with experience as a Social Media Manager. I created this blog to share my passion for travel, the discovery of fascinating new places and the exciting stories we encounter along the way.

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