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Things to do in Siena

Things to do in  Siena

Welcome to Siena

A soaring Gothic cityscape, warren of medieval cobblestone alleys, and raucous annual Palio horse race make UNESCO-listed Siena a Tuscan A-lister. Visitors can marvel at its open-air museum of a historic center—thick with architectural masterpieces like the Piazza del Campo and Duomo—and soak up the authentic vibe of the contrade neighborhoods. Set in the heart of Chianti, Siena is also a popular departure point for countryside wine tours and cooking classes, outings on horseback or Vespa scooter, hot air balloon adventures, and hill town hopping between Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, and San Gimignano.

Top 15 attractions in Siena

Siena Cathedral (Duomo)

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The Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena) is one Tuscany’s most beautiful churches, second perhaps only to Florence's Santa Maria del Fiore. The magnificent Gothic and Romanesque structure is hard to miss thanks to its tall spires, bold white-and-green stripes, and ornate facade. Inside, the cathedral is equally impressive with works of art by Donatello, Bernini, and Michelangelo.More

Piazza del Campo

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Siena’s central Piazza del Campo is one of the most beautiful and famous squares in Tuscany. This sweeping, shell-shaped space is anchored by the magnificent Palazzo Pubblico (home to the Museo Civico) and soaring Torre del Mangia tower, and hosts the historic Palio di Siena festival each July and August.More

Siena Historic Center (Siena Centro Storico)

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With its lively piazzas, Gothic monuments, and well-preserved city walls, the Siena Historic Center (Siena Centro Storico) is one of Italy’s most impressive medieval cityscapes. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, the old town is an open-air museum of striking historical architecture, including the Piazza del Campo and the Gothic cathedral.More

Montalcino

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The medieval center of Montalcino is certainly picturesque, but this hilltop village south of Siena is best known as the birthplace of the prestigious Brunello wines. A favorite destination for oenophiles, pretty Montalcino is also popular with photographers and foodies.More

Mangia Tower (Torre del Mangia)

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Piercing the sky above Siena, the soaring Mangia Tower (Torre del Mangia) is a notable feature of the medieval town’s skyline. It affords views across the rooftops to the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Climb the hundreds of steps to the top, or admire this imposing bell tower in Piazza del Campo from below.More

Palio of Siena (Palio di Siena)

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Every year in July and August, Piazza del Campo hosts the raucous Il Palio, a historic, bareback horse race between 10 of Siena’s 17 contrade (town districts). The festivities also encompass religious services, pageants, and banquets.More

Montalcino Fortress (Fortezza di Montalcino)

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Montalcino is known as the heart of Tuscany’s Brunello di Montalcino wine production, but oenophiles shouldn’t overlook this hill town’s spectacular Fortezza di Montalcino, an imposing 14th-century fortress set above the town’s medieval center with sweeping views from its watchtowers and an atmospheric wine shop.More

Basilica of San Domenico (Basilica di San Domenico)

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One of the most historically important churches in Siena, the Basilica of San Domenico (Basilica di San Domenico) is famous for another saint: the city’s own Saint Catherine. It was here that Catherine took her vows in 1363 at the age of 15, and the church holds a number of her relics, including her head, thumb, and whip used for self-flagellation.More

Siena Civic Museum (Museo Civico di Siena)

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The Siena Civic Museum (Museo Civico di Siena), housed in Palazzo Pubblico on Piazza del Campo, is one of the most important museums in Siena, with a large collection of frescoes, paintings, and sculptures from the Sienese school and others. The most significant is Ambrogio Lorenzetti's massive 14th-century fresco cycleThe Allegory of Good and Bad Government.More

Fonte Gaia (Gaia Fountain)

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The heart of Siena is Piazza del Campo, and the heart of this famous square is Fonte Gaia (Gaia Fountain). Dating from the 15th century, the fountain is lined with replicas of the original bas-relief panels by Jacopo della Quercia, considered a precursor to Michelangelo, and is one of the top attractions in this Tuscan town.More

Baptistery of San Giovanni (Battistero di San Giovanni)

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The Cathedral complex is among Siena’s top attractions, and it includes both the Duomo and adjacent Baptistery of San Giovanni (Battistero di San Giovanni). Echoing the Cathedral’s Gothic architecture, the stripped-down facade of the baptistery belies its sumptuous interiors, decorated by some of the 15th century's most important artists.More

Abbey of Sant'Antimo (Abbazia di Sant'Antimo)

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One of Tuscany’s most beautiful sights, the Abbey of Sant'Antimo (Abbazia di Sant'Antimo) is a 12th-century Romanesque church and monastery set deep in the rolling olive groves outside the hilltown of Montalcino in the Val d'Orcia. The abbey is a popular stop during wine tours or day trips through the Tuscan countryside.More

Santa Maria della Scala

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One of Europe’s first hospitals, Santa Maria della Scala was endowed by Siena’s wealthiest medieval families, who also commissioned artworks to decorate the building. View the original frescoes and altarpieces inside the chapels and oratories of this historic hospital, now a museum, on a tour of Siena’s most important sights.More

Siena Piazza del Mercato

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Siena is one of Tuscany’s most striking medieval cities, with soaring Gothic churches and lively piazzas—including the historic Piazza del Mercato. Site of the city’s market for centuries, this important square behind Piazza del Campo offers some of the best views in the city center over the surrounding countryside.More

National Art Gallery of Siena (Pinacoteca Nazionale Siena)

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Siena’s National Art Gallery houses a large collection of paintings from the Sienese School, an artistic movement from the 13th and 15th centuries. Peruse paintings and sculpture from the late Middle Ages through the Renaissance at this museum.More

Top activities in Siena

Small-Group Brunello di Montalcino Wine-Tasting Trip from Siena
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Half-Day Brunello di Montalcino Wine Tour from Siena
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Chianti and San Gimignano - 3 Wineries and Lunch
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Tuscan Cooking Class in Siena

Tuscan Cooking Class in Siena

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Brunello di Montalcino Wine Tour of 3 Wineries with Pairing Lunch Small Group
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Full-Day Winery Tour in Montepulciano with Tasting and Lunch
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Small-Group San Gimignano and Volterra Day Trip from Siena
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Small Group E-Bike Chianti Tour with Winery lunch from Siena
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