What to see in Siena and its district

October 28, 2014

There are so many things to see in Siena and province, that it is almost impossible to list them all. However, we can surely try, starting with the beautiful capital: it has less than 52,000 inhabitants so it is relatively small, but rich of a historical, artistic and architectural heritage of inestimable value.

Siena’s centerpiece is of course Piazza del Campo, renowned worldwide for its unique and original shell shape, as well as for being the "competition area" of the famous Palio. Piazza del Campo is the ideal starting point for a journey through the wonders of the city. After visiting the Town Hall, which houses many works of art preserved inside the Museo Civico, and the famous Torre del Mangia of the fourteenth century, you shall go to the Duomo, with its beautiful Baptistery, and then visit the Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana, which is located alongside the Cathedral.

Other places of interest in Siena are the Church of Santa Maria della ScalaPalazzo Tolomei (which is the city’s oldest one, since it dates back to the thirteenth century), the beautiful Sanctuary of Santa Caterina, and finally the Basilica of San Domenico, built between 1226 and 1265. Behind this Basilica stands the old Fontebranda, which was used in the past as a source of water supply for the city. Given the small area of Siena’s historic center, its main tourist attractions are all next to one another and can be visited in a single day.

Quite remarkable are also the surroundings of Siena, with the characteristic villages scattered all through the territories of Chianti, Val d'Orcia and Crete Senesi. In contrast to the capital, however, the province of Siena is quite wide and visiting it properly requires a minimum stay of one week.

Not to be missed is the town of Monteriggioni, a rare example of military architecture of the Middle Ages; the city walls and some inner buildings are still intact, but they are now converted into bars intended for tourists. Another beautiful place is Colle di Val d'Elsa, perched on an ancient mound: the picturesque Via del Castello is accessed by an arch formed inside Palazzo Campania, while the magnificent Piazza Duomo houses the Praetorian Palace, the Baroque Duomo and Palazzo dei Priori, which was built in the fourteenth century. Poggibonsi is also an interesting town and, finally yet importantly, there is the great San Gimignano, a splendid example of the Tuscan medieval architecture and urbanism, which has been kept almost intact to this day and was therefore awarded with the recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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