11 Best Places to Visit in Siena

Surrounded by rolling hills and farmlands, Siena is one of the most popular and picturesque places in the Tuscan region of Italy. Founded by the Etruscans over two millennia ago, the city is full of architectural marvels and its city center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the best places to visit in Itlay, the city is known for its impressive Piazza del Campo, which is lined by pretty palaces, townhouses, and an imposing 100-meter-high historic tower Torre del Mangia. Absolutely worth seeing is Duomo, the impressive cathedral of Siena, which is one of the most beautiful and important buildings in the city. Are You confused to choose the places to visit in Siena? To make your trip easy, we have listed some of the stunning places to visit in Siena as part of Europe Tour Packages.

Piazza Del Campo

Piazza del Campo is a beautiful and famous medieval square located in Siena, Italy. Situated at the heart of the historic center, it is also regarded as one of the most stunning squares in all of Italy, and among the best places to visit in Siena. This magnificent shell-shaped square is flanked by Medieval buildings and paved with fishbone-patterned red bricks. The notable structures present in this square include the Palazzo Pubblico, the gigantic Torre del Mangia, and the Fountain of Gaia. Fondly called the beating heart of Siena, the square is thronged by students and tourists who come to sit, relax, and enjoy a cappuccino at one of the open-air tables.

Torre Del Mangia

Standing tall in the Piazza del Campo or Il Campo Square, Torre del Mangia is an imposing 102-meter-high historic tower in Siena and also one of the tallest secular towers in medieval Italy. Built in 1348 by two brothers, Minuccio and Francesco di Rinaldo, the tower itself was built to be the exact height of the Siena Cathedral, as a sign that Church and State possessed equal power in Siena. The narrow brick shaft rises to a battlemented platform with supporting brackets and a superstructure of travertine. Visitors can climb 400 steps to reach the top which offers a splendid view of the city and Tuscan hills. The  Cappella di Piazza at the foot of the tower was built in 1352 in thanks to the town’s deliverance from the 1348 plague.

Palazzo Pubblico & Civic Museum

The Palazzo Pubblico is one of the most renowned structures located in the Piazza del Campo of Siena, among the top places to visit in Europe. This medieval gothic town hall was built in the 13th century and served as the house of the Republican Government of Siena. The exterior features an Italian Gothic design with a two-tone stone cladding and a plethora of beautiful arched windows while every room inside has intricate decorations, paintings, and frescoes which can be seen on a guided tour. Besides, the first floor of this town hall is occupied by the Civic Museum with magnificent frescoes that depict Siena life in centuries gone by. The main highlight of the museum is the Room of the Nine, a memorial built to the nine elected and who governed the city during the late 13th century and the early 14th century.

Siena Cathedral / Duomo di Siena

Situated in the beautiful Piazza del Duomo, Siena Cathedral is one of Italy’s finest Gothic churches and among the top places to visit in Siena. Originally constructed in the 13th century, the cathedral has stood for hundreds of years as an icon of the city. Later in 1317, the people of Siena planned a gigantic expansion, which would have made it even bigger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, but the Black Death put an end to those plans. Dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, the medieval duomo is an outstanding example of Italian Gothic architecture, and its facade was designed by Giovanni Pisano. The interior of the church is also breathtaking as it is decorated from the striped polychrome marble arches to the ornate golden dome and the beautiful frescos above the main altar. If you are an art and history lover, then don’t miss this place while holidaying in Siena as part of Italy Tour Packages.

Santa Maria Della Scala

Opposite the Siena Cathedral, Santa Maria Della Scala is a former hospital founded in the 13th century and was rebuilt in the late 15th century by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. The hospital was known for its many philanthropic endeavors like caring for abandoned children, feeding the poor, and offering food and lodging to pilgrims. On the high altar is an outstanding bronze Risen Christ by Lorenzo Vecchietta, dated and signed by the artist in 1476, a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture often compared to the works of Donatello. Arranged on four levels, it is opened currently as a museum that houses a vast artistic heritage, some major frescoes including the sick awaiting miraculous healing at the Pool of Bethesda by Sebastiano Conca.

Basilica di San Domenico

Basilica di San Domenico is one of the most important churches located in Siena, among the top places to visit in Tuscany. Often referred to as Basilica Cateriniana, the church was built in the 13th century but enlarged in the 14th century. The church was severely damaged by fires and an earthquake over the centuries. Designed in the shape of an Egyptian Cross, this chapel features some gorgeous religious frescos, marble sculptures, and notable paintings, including a couple of the Madonna and Child, throughout the basilica. However, the main nave contains some ornate religious fixtures such as golden candelabras and altarpieces. Thronged by several visitors, it is a spectacular structure in the heart of Siena and is worth a visit as part of the Siena Tour.

Biblioteca Piccolomini

Situated inside the Siena Cathedral, Biblioteca Piccolomini or Piccolomini Library is a majestic, airy library located in Siena. Known for its soaring, vibrant Pinturicchio frescoes, the library was built for Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, who later became Pope Pius II. Though a number of decorative manuscripts are on display, the main reason to visit is to admire the magnificent interior of this early 16th century building and to see the wonderful frescoes painted by Pinturicchio. The walls, arches and ceiling are covered with colorful frescoes, that represent the life of Pope Piss II, from ambassador to cardinal to pope. 

Siena National Gallery

One of the most important museums in Italy, Siena National Gallery is located in the Brigidi and Buonsignori palaces in the city’s center. Inaugurated in 1932, the gallery houses a large collection of paintings from the Sienese School, an artistic movement from the 13th and 15th centuries. A visit to this museum complex in Siena begins from the second floor which consists of the works realized from the 13th to the 15th century and continues towards the paintings and the most recent works on the lower floors. Among, the most notable works of the gallery are the “Politico n. 28” by Duccio di Boninsegna, “Raising of Lazarus” and “Entry into Jerusalem” by Guide da Siena, the “Madonna dell’Umilta” by Giovanni di Paolo, the “Annunciazione” by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, the “Pala del Carmine” by Pietro Lorenzetti and the Spannocchi-Piccolomini collection on the top floor. Visited by a large number of people, it is one of the great places to visit in Siena to learn about the history of the city’s arts and culture.

Battistero di San Giovanni / St. John’s Baptistry

Battistero di San Giovanni or the Baptistery of Saint John is one of the popular Gothic churches located at the base of the apse of the Siena cathedral. Built between 1316 and 1325, the church was dedicated to San Giovanni (St. John) and is considered a masterpiece of early Renaissance art in Tuscany. Echoing the Cathedral’s Gothic architecture, the interior is beautifully decorated with a cycle of frescoes. The most precious masterpiece preserved inside the Baptistery is the beautiful baptismal font created by some of the greatest sculptors of the Renaissance – Jacopo della Quercia, Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello. Decorated with gilded bronze panels, these panels bring to life scenes from the life of Saint John the Baptist.

Museo dell ‘Opera Metropolitana

The Museo dell ‘Opera del Duomo is one of the oldest private art museums in Italy and is located in the south side of the Siena Cathedral. It houses the artworks and architectural details from the Duomo complex, including masterpieces by the greatest artists of the Sienese school. During your visit to the museum, one can witness the original statues from the façade of the Cathedral, including those made by Giovanni Pisano, the window of the apse by Duccio da Buoninsegna and the altarpiece of the Majesty – one of the greatest masterpieces of the early 14th century by Buoninsegna. Visitors can also climb winding narrow steps that leads to the top from where you will get the splendid views of Siena.

Fortezza Medicea

Fortezza Medicea is one of the popular attractions in Siena. Also known as ‘Forte di Santa Barbara’, it was built by order of Cosimo de’ Medici in 1563, this fortified brick castle was decommissioned as a military barracks in the late 18th century and was used to control the city during the fights against the Spanish. Originally built on an “L” shaped footprint, the fortress was later transformed into its current rectangular form. An imposing brick-built rampart was present on each of the four corners. Presently, it was used to hosts several events, such as temporary artistic exhibitions, tastings, musical concerts and many more. Also, the external of the fortress is being surrounded by wonderful gardens, such as Lizza or fortress gardens, and by the Franchi stadium.

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