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Blick auf Siena, Bild: Markue / shutterstock

Siena – medieval city in Tuscany

In the middle of Tuscany lies the Italian provincial capital Siena. It enjoys a reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Its old town has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Its university, founded in 1240, is one of the oldest Italian educational institutions.

Siena’s special features

One of the special features of Siena is the medieval appearance of the city. In Roman times, the place was called Sena Julia. In the Middle Ages, Siena rose to become an independent city-state, but found itself involved in a large number of conflicts between different parties. However, when Florence deprived the city of Siena of its freedoms and united with it in 1557, the decline of the once magnificent metropolis began. Nevertheless, Siena has preserved many of its traditions to this day. Thus, the 17 autonomous city districts still have their old coats of arms and flags, which were awarded to them in ancient times. In addition, the inhabitants of Siena are wholeheartedly involved when it comes to the old traditions.

Visitors to Siena can look forward to numerous cultural events such as concerts, shows, cinemas and sports activities. For a complete tour of the city, a few days should be brought along. Siena is full of interesting sights.

How to get to Siena

Siena can be easily reached via Florence and Pisa airports. There are also several bus and train connections. However, in order to be allowed to drive to Siena by car, a special permit is required. Some alleys in the Italian city are so narrow that it is better to cross them on foot.

A walk through the Piazza del Campo

Aerial view Piazza del Campo, Siena
Aerial view of Piazza del Campo, Image: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar / shutterstock

The Piazza del Campo forms the main square of Siena. It has the shape of a shell and thus achieves a special harmony. It connects Siena’s three districts, so that it marks the heart of the city, so to speak. The Piazza del Campo is characterized by the Gothic palazzi of the richest families in the city, which form a fascinating backdrop.

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The Piazza del Campo is considered a popular meeting place for locals and visitors. A sought-after attraction is the Fonte Gaia fountain. Another attraction of the square is the high tower Palazzo Publico with its Gothic triplet windows. Also worth a detour is the Museo Civicio, the city palace of Siena. In the building there are wonderful frescoes by well-known artists from the city.

Another attraction of the square is the Torre de Mangia, which reaches a height of 100 meters. The tower with its top can be climbed for a visit. From there, there is a phenomenal view of the enchanting city.

A special tip – Palio: the horse race of Siena

One of Siena’s biggest attractions is the Palio. This horse race takes place every year in Piazza del Campo. In this demanding competition, the Contrades, Siena’s 17 districts, compete against each other. The horse race, which has been around since the 13th century, is held twice a year, on 2 July to honour the Madonna di Provenzano and on 16 August to honour the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Typical for the Palio are not only the saddleless horses, but also costumes from the Middle Ages, drums, flags and, of course, the enthusiasm of the local spectators. The Piazza del Campo is then transformed into a roaring arena. In addition, a historical parade will be organized.

The Siena Cathedral

Duomo in Siena
The Duomo in Siena, Image: oltrelautostrada / shutterstock

One of the most beautiful sacred buildings in Italy in the Gothic style is the Cathedral of Siena. Together with the other churches in the city, it stands for the varied history of the city. It also bears witness to Siena’s first-class art. The cathedral is impressive and richly decorated. The magnificent bell tower is also not to be missed. The more dominant is also richly decorated. There are 171 busts of popes, frescoes, Madonna pictures and rose windows worth seeing.

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Also worth a look is the Basilica of San Domenico, which dates back to the 13th century. Inside, the basilica appears extraordinarily wide. Two works of art about St. Catherine, who is Siena’s patron saint, can be admired.

The church of San Francesco is also impressive, where there are many admirable frescoes. Another church worth seeing is the Santa Maria del Cervi. It offers not only beautiful art paintings, but also a fantastic view.

The museums of Siena

In Siena there are a number of interesting museums and galleries with their unique art treasures to admire. Not far from the main square, the Archaeological Museum in Piazza del Duomo invites you to visit. It is located on the highest point of the city. Wonderful frescoes are exhibited in the museum.

If you are interested in works of art from the Siena Cathedral and the neighboring monasteries, the Museo de ́ll Opera del Duomo is the right place for you. The Madonna image Maesta is considered particularly impressive.

In the Pinacoteca Nazionale, lovers of paintings will get their money’s worth. It is located in Palazzo Buonsignori and presents more than one hundred paintings dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries.


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The Santa Caterina memorial is dedicated to St. Catherine. She was canonized by the Pope in 1451. Her parents’ house was converted into a memorial site, which has a small pilgrimage church.

The children’s museum Bambimus – Museo d ́Arte per Bambini has been set up especially for the little ones. It shows various exhibitions in a child-friendly presentation. Workshops are also held there. There is also a permanent exhibition of international children’s drawings to admire.