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It's Always Sunny in Siena

Famous for its crazy horse race (Il Palio), Siena is one of Italy's most enchanting medieval towns. Its walled centre, a beautifully preserved warren of dark lanes punctuated by Gothic palazzi, piazzas and eye-catching churches, is a lovely place to get lost. The action centres on Piazza del Campo (known as Il Campo), the sloping scallop that serves as a communal sunbed to scores of day trippers.

Not to be missed

  • Indulge yourself on a wine and food tasting tour
  • Visit the beautiful gothic Duomo with its zebra striped tower
  • Enjoy the gorgeous historic centre; a designated UNESCO world heritage site 
  • Visit during the Palio di Siena; a traditional horse race which attracts massive crowds 

1. Piazza del Campo and Mangia Tower

Piazza del Campo is one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares (although it’s shaped more like an egg) in the historic centre of Siena. It is known for its beauty and the architecture that surrounds the square. Take the Torre del Mangia or Mangia Tower for example. It was built in the 14th century and is 88metres tall! You can climb it for a view over town. Twice a year the whole town gathers in the Piazza for the famous horse race: Palio di Siena. Locals gather each evening in the square to social and take advantage of the many restaurants and cafes dotted around the edges.</p>

2. Duomo

The Duomo in Siena is one of the best gothic churches in Italy, taking the Sienese people over 100 years to construct. The unique black and white stripped façade of the Duomo was designed by Giovanni Pisano and will certainly grab your attention. Inside there are works by Italian masters such as Michelangelo, Donatello and Bernini. One must see area of the Duomo is the ‘sky’ section, where you can see an aerial view of the mosaics and marble floor that are just mesmerizing.

3. Museo Civico

The most visited museum in Siena is the Museo Civico located in the Piazza del Campo. The museum occupies rooms that have been richly decorated with frescos by artists from the Sienese school.

4. Complesso Museale Santa Maria della Scala

A former hospital that was built as a rest home for pilgrims traveling on the Via Francigena pilgrimage trail, this building is now a cultural centre and museum. The oldest sections of the building date back to the 13th century, making it not only one of Europe’s first hospitals with vivid 15th century frescoes by local artists, but also the oldest surviving hospital in the world.

5. Loggia dei Mercanzia

The Loggia dei Mercanzia is a Renaissance triple arched balcony where merchants stuck deals with each other.

Eats

1. L’Osteria

L’Osteria is a great little venue popular with local students that sells authentic Italian food at great value.

2. Pierini

Pierini is a beautiful coffee and cake house with typical Italian coffee and sweets. Highly recommend a visit here for their delicious desserts.

3. Nonna Gina

Nonna Gina is a true neighborhood osteria with its cute tablecloths, pictures of local Palio jockeys on the walls and a cosy atmosphere. The menu is very traditional, with huge plates of antipasto, gorgeous house Chianti wine, and scrumptious cheese-filled gnocchi.

4. Enoteca I Terzi

Historic Enoteca I Terzi allows customers to linger over lunches, aperitivo and casual dinners. The food is made with love featuring top quality Tuscan salamis, handmade pasta and a great wine list.

5. Morbidi

Morbidi is a very affordable restaurant offering a great lunch buffet of antipasti, salads, risottos, pastas and a dessert of the day. This is a great way to sample different Italian cuisine that you may not have tried before.

Drinks

1. Key Lago

Key Lago is a charming bar right on Piazza del Campo with a great balcony that overlooks the whole square. Get in early to make sure you get a spot on the balcony.

2. Enoteca Italiana

Enoteca Italiana is a wine bar located in a 16th century fortress, which offers local and not-so-local wines of Italy to sample. It has a nice outdoor terrace, with tables where you can sit and enjoy your wine.

3. Bar Porrione

Bar Porrione is located in the student hot spot in town and is known for its cheap draught beer, strange quirky games and is open quite late.

4. Casa del Boia

Where Casa del Boia now stands use to be the local executioner's house and was connected to the execution site by an underground tunnel. It has been transformed into a popular night venue, organizing special nights dedicated to singles, foreigners, or Cuban music.

5. Al Cambio

Al Cambio is a popular late night spot for university students. They sometimes have evenings of live rock music, but mostly play different tunes through the night.

Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here

Recommendations

Siena is drop dead gorgeous! wander round the medieval streets with an italian ice cream (gelato) in hand."

Beth, Canada