Why You Will Fall In Love With Siena
Posted by Virginie (25/11/2016)
I’m going to explain why I think you will fall in love with Siena. Before going to Tuscany, you have probably mainly heard about how amazing Florence is, and I don’t disagree, it is, but personally I preferred Siena. Here’s why.
There’s just something charming and magical about Siena. The city is quite spread out, so even when it gets busy it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. Plus Siena is a relatively small city, with a population of around 50,00. The cobbled streets and old walls that line the city will immediately captivate you and you will quickly discover why Siena is a much-loved Italian city.
Siena is different from any other city I have visited. It’s definitely got its own distinct personality, and it doesn’t really feel like a city. To me it seemed as though we had been transformed back in time.
It feels like a local town in disguise. The city is split into 17 districts, each with their own specific names and colours. Each time you visit Siena you will discover new shops, places to eat and hidden gems.
Siena has arguably one of Europe’s best Medieval squares, it’s the perfect place to go and enjoy an ice cream, gather your thoughts, or grab a bite to eat and sit and admire the magnificent architecture that surrounds you. The Piazza del Campo is at the heart of Siena’s historic centre. It’s also world famous for hosting the Palio horse race.
Other major sights to see in Siena include Siena Cathedral, which definitely rivals Florence Cathedral. It’s even more impressive once you get inside. Watch out for the Fonte Gaia in the main square, it’s the largest fountain in the city. You will also be in awe of the Palazzo Pubblico, a stunning 13th century palace that was built in 1297.
If you visit Siena you absolutely must make your way up to the top of the Torre del Mangia.It’s an 87 metre high tower that offers panoramic views of the city. Not only can you see the entire city from above, you can also gaze into the distance and admire the countryside and mountains in the distance. It’s not an easy climb, it gets quite narrow towards the top and you have to climb a grand total of 400 steps, but it’s well worth the effort.
Siena’s centre is closed to vehicles aside from buses and cars with a local permit, so you may want to get the train. We drove and managed to find a car park just outside the city walls for two euros an hour. Siena was only about a 45 minute drive from where we were staying in Lecchi in Chianti.
It’s easy to see why Siena is such a charismatic European city, but you really do have to visit it for yourself to understand. If you are going on a Tuscan road trip, be sure to stop off in Siena.