It's perhaps the most perfect example of Italian Gothic architecture. Nicola Pisano was the architect responsible for designing the majority of the cathedral. The entrance, characterized by the the drawing of fringes in polichrome marble. The bell tower and the Baptistery also stand out.
If you can visit around August 17th, the experience will be 20 times better. This is one of the city's biggest festivals and to celebrate it they decorate their streets with medieval flags, the locals are in the streets with scarves with seals of their clans, singing songs of the great festival, and they prepare the square for a bareback horse race. It's a great way to experience medieval Siena. And be prepared to be hot!
The communal palace in the Piazza del Campo, is famous for its bell tower (Campanile), called Torre del Mangia, erected between 1325 and 1344, with its upper part designed by the painter Lippo Memmi. The tower was designed to surpass the height of the Palazzo Vecchio tower in Florence, their neighbor and rival. At the time, it was the tallest building in Italy. In the mid-14th century, it was equipped with a mechanical clock. Almost all the large rooms inside the palace contain frescos, the most famous of which being by Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. At that time, these frescos were unusual, because they were commissioned by lay governers rather than the church or a religious fraternity. It is also unusual that the frescos represent scenes from secular life, rather than the religious themes, which dominated the Italian art of that era.
In Southern Tuscany, there is an undiscovered area full of art, things to do and magical landscapes. It is called Mount Amiata and it is situated in the province of Siena, facing the soft landscape of the Val d’Orcia to the northeast and closing the eastern side of the Maremma. The first thing you should probably know is that in ancient times, Mount Amiata was a volcano – but don’t worry: today it is dormant and, at 1736 metres, it’s the highest in Italy! This area has remained untouched and has maintained its rural charm.
The Mount Amiata area is a paradise for sport lovers and all those ve want to explore this beautiful territory by bike, on horseback, on foot or simply visiting the historical hamlets. Here are some ideas to spend a memorable holiday in this area.
As said before, Mount Amiata was an active volcano in antiquity, meaning that although it’s now inactive, today it is home to many natural thermal springs. There are three thermal spas in the area around Mount Amiata: Bagni San Filippo, Bagno Vignoni and, just a few kilometres away, San Casciano dei Bagni. These thermal springs flow endlessly from deep underground.
During our visit to Siena, we had the opportunity to go up into one of Europe's famous towers without waiting in line for an hour to do so. It's the Mangia Tower and it's 88 meters tall and from there you can see the best views of the city. The climb is difficult, but it's worth it.
Construction on the building started in the 13th century, even though it wasn't finished until the 17th. The white marble sculptured entrance is part of the lower part with windows topped with geometric shapes and its completely different from the upper parts that have huge windows with three bays.
I have been lucky enough to time my journey with this incredible party. We arrived at the station at 12.30h. There is a walk to the village center. Once there we ate early so we could be in the square before 5 o'clock. While we were eating the parade began. Each neighborhood has a flag and a rider. They march through the streets of Siena showing off. In the central square set-up like a bullring they closed all entrances and exits because the parade begins (flags, horses, music, etc ...) The big race begins at 7 o'clock. But beware, there is one draw to determine the order of the horses. To start the race all have to be insane (which is not easy because that means all of them) and that the race is valid one also has to be ahead of others. It was exciting but the problem is that the last train left at 21.17 and at 20.30 we were still there. You can not imagine the run that we did in order to catch the train. I liked it but it but it was a pain as well as being really hot.
Currently the originals are in Santa Maria della Scala, in front of the cathedral.
They've set up a big space in the lower levels of the building where they show, more than just original pieces, a big studio showing its renovation and the development of its history.
This is a magnificent Gothic Church, it's wide and spacious and T-shaped, which highlights its severe aspect, in the spirit of the mendicant order. This building has an interesting interior, there are frescoes depicting the life of Saint Catherine of Siena, Sodom, and the Renaissance tabernacle, with the remains of the saint. Another highlight of the church is that it's closely linked to the life of the saint of Siena. Here this woman had her ecstasies. A mere two hundred meters away on the street named Santa Catalina, is her birthplace, in the Santuario di Santa Caterina. If the man of the store finds out that you are from Valencia, he will leave everything to show you enchanting frescoes which represent San Vicente Ferrer.
Three important buildings are in Salimbeni Square, but the Salimbeni Palace is without a doubt the most important. From the moment the Monte dei Paschi bank rented the central office, founded more than 500 years ago. Inside you'll find a rich collection of paintings and works of art that are possible to visit with a reservation.
Now, with the 150 anniversary of the unification of Italy, the lighting of this place at night is spectacular.
The construction was first commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini Todeschini, who later became Pope Pius III, only 25 days before his death in Rome. It was built under the cathedral, and the entrance is adorned with beautiful marble arches. The frescoes were added between 1502 and 1507, representing different events in the life of Cardinal Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Pius III's uncle, who was Pope Pius II. Unlike its walls, the roof of the library has images of mythological figures and the Graces. Opening hours: daily from 9am to 7.30pm from March to October, from 2 to 7.30pm on Sundays, from 10am to 1pm and 2 to 5pm November to March, and Sunday afternoons.
The Battistero Di San Giovanni is a religious building located just behind the Cathedral (Duomo) de Siena. This Battistero dates back to the 14th century and in its interior houses a beautiful baptismal font made of marble.
It is by the artist Jacobo della Quercia and it has several bronze panels that recreate the life of Saint John the Baptist. Its walls are decorated with frescos.
It's a magnificent work of art that you shouldn't miss.
I recommend you buy the "all-inclusive" ticket that lets you access the building, even the duomo. I'll explain it to you in a different place.
This was one of the first buildings built after the Medicis took over the city. It has a Latin cross design and a single nave with an octagonal dome. The baroque interior houses many works of art. The main altar was built by dei Flaminio, and was conducted over 24 years, from 1617, to 1631. Here you can see the terracotta bust of Madonna di Provenzano. In this square you have a beautiful view of the Tuscan landscape.
This basilica was built between the years 1228 and 1255. It was later enlarged in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the original Romanesque building thus became Gothic. It has a large nave with significant wood paneling. Its interior survived the great fire that happened in the seventeenth century. It houses important paintings, stained glass and artwork. The complex includes university branches, including an economic department that's fortunate to have access to one of the cloisters, which also leads to their library.
This is a tranquil area with magnificent views of the medieval city, popular with the citizens of Siena who go walking or jogging here. The Lizza is a public park in front of the Fortress of Santa Barbara, a fortress built by Cosimo I of the Medici family. It was opened to the public in 1778, and its internal area, Liberty Square, is largely used for recreational activities. Movies are projected here outdoors in summer, and exhibitions, events, and conferences take place here.
The national gallery is one of Siena's leading museums, inaugurated in 1932, with the first catalogue published by Cesare Brandi a year later. The collections cover 26 rooms on the ground and first floors, with works from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries by Duccio, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, as well as other painters of the Sienese school - Stefano di Giovanni, Sano di Pietro, Lorenzo di Pietro, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni and Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Domenico Beccafumi, Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, Girolamo Genga ...
Along the streets of Siena, feel free to browse and enter open palaces, they won't disappoint. Here is the Palazzo Chigi Saracini, built in the twelfth century by the Marescotti, a noble family from Siena. The Palazzo then belonged to Count Galgano Saracini Lucarini. It's housed the Academy of Music Chigiana since 1932.
At the door of the Chiesa di San Niccolo in Sasso, aside from the cathedral, you will find the sales offices where you can buy a ten euro ticket that allows you to visit different monuments. The church houses important works of religious art, and gives you access to a viewpoint from which the views of the cathedral and the rooftops of Siena are incomparable. You can also enter the San Giovanni Baptistery, the crypts, the oratory of San Bernardino, and the spectacular cathedral.
Saint Catherine performed many miracles, before and after death, and became the co-patron of Italy, along with Saint Francis. This is the house where St. Catherine actually lived. The sanctuary, dating back to 1464, is more interesting for its meditation and contemplation than for its architecture. It has undergone several restorations, so the original appearance has been altered. It is located in the centre, in Via di Santa Caterina. Hours: Summer: 9:00 to 12:30 and 15:30 to 18:00. Winter: 14:30 to 19:00.
If you're wondering what to do in Siena, you should start with a stroll through the historic center. Most of the places to visit in Siena are found in this area, and you can wander leisurely around as the center is a pedestrian zone. Indeed, before coming to Tuscany you should know that walking is the number one way to get around most cities. Kit yourself out with good comfortable clothes before deciding which things to see in Siena.
For some authentic Siena activities, head to La Piazza del Campo. This is the famous Palio, where horses compete to achieve the highest standards. And for more Siena attractions, take a trip back in time to reach the celebrated Palazzo Pubblico. Dating back to medieval times, this is where you'll find some of the most interesting attractions in Siena, like the Civic Museum and the Torre del Mangia.
And continue your tour of stuff to do in Siena by following the Via di Cita to reach the famous cathedral, one of the most beautiful buildings in the region. Check out what minube users have to say about their experiences of this city, and we guarantee you won't miss out on any of the things to do in Siena!