Should You Visit Florence or Siena?
Posted by Mikolaj (15/06/2017)
These two cities have long been in competition with one another. From quarrels over deciding where one ends and the other begins, to trying to out do each other by attempting to build more impressive cathedrals and domes.
Have you heard about the story of the black rooster? Legend has it that to decide where the border should be, both cities sent a horseman out on a race at the crack of dawn. Each city had a rooster to signal this, the Florentines left their black rooster famished so it crowed just before dawn. This gave them a headstart and consequently they claimed the majority of the lands.
We’re not trying to add fuel to the fire, but we know this is a common decision our customers face. If you are only going to Tuscany for a short period, you may only have time to visit one city, so how do you choose which one? Is it better to stay in Florence or Siena?
It isn’t an easy decision. Many people end up going to see the more famous Florence, but Siena should not be underestimated. To help you with your decision, here are some reasons to visit both.
Florence is obviously home to some very famous sights, so if you love museums, art galleries and sightseeing then this is your city. Be sure to check out key attractions including the Duomo, Giotto’s Campanile, Palazzo Vecchio, The Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio and the Palazzo Pitti.
Florence can get extremely busy during peak season, so if you don’t like crowds you may want to plan a visit in the off-season. There’s often huge queues for the main attractions, especially during busy times. It’s to be expected as Florence is such a huge tourist city.
Experience panoramic views of the city at the Piazzale Michelangelo where you can take in the classic and famous Florentine vistas. Florence is a city of the arts, and it’s packed with culture, so if this is your scene, you may prefer to spend a few days here instead of Siena.
Keep in mind if you visit Florence parking and driving is a bit of a nightmare. So if you have a car, Siena may be the better option. There are no driving zones in Florence where only the locals with permits are allowed, which limits where you can go.
But it is possible to drive and park if you do your research before you go. If travelling by train or bus, there are plenty of public transport options in Florence that will take you to towns nearby. Florence has much better public transports than Siena, so that’s something to consider.
If you want to visit Siena and the surrounding area, then it’s probably best you drive or hire a car. Siena is actually a really good base for touring Tuscany, because it’s within reaching distance of many of the hilltop towns like San Gimignano.
Compared to Florence, Siena is quieter and has more of an authentic Italian vibe. It can still attract hordes of tourists but not quite on the same scale that Florence does. Wander around the cobbled narrow streets, admire the medieval walls and enjoy an ice cream in the famous main square.
Siena also offers magnificent views of its own, all you have to do is make it up the steps to the top of the Torra del Mangia. The region of Siena is Tuscany at its absolute best, with pretty Tuscan towns, amazing scenery and excellent wine.
So there you have it. Both cities have their strengths, and both are most definitely worth a visit. Where you go just depends on your priorities and mode of transport. If you are staying in Tuscany longer than a couple of days then you can easily do both, they aren’t that far apart. You can drive from one to the other in one or two hours depending on whether or not you take the toll road.
If you are still stuck and can’t decide, why not let the apartment you stay in influence your decision. Have a look on our website for villas near Siena and Florence and simply choose your favourite property.