August 11, 2022

There’s way more to Siena than the Palio, the infamous horse race held right here every summer season. 

Although it tends to be overshadowed by neighbouring Florence — its historic rival — this Tuscan metropolis is a Gothic gem. Galleries brim with superb gilded work. There are medieval palaces, fashionable outlets and glorious wines.  

Most dazzling of all is the Campo, the shell-shaped piazza on the coronary heart of town.

Siena, pictured, is a Gothic gem of a metropolis that’s stuffed with medieval palaces, fashionable outlets and glorious wines

The place to remain 

Lodge Backyard

Two swimming swimming pools (one for youngsters), a tennis courtroom, a restaurant and leafy gardens make this lodge on town’s northern outskirts a sensible choice for households. Rooms with essentially the most character are within the 18th-century villa, however all are clear and comfy. It’s a 15-minute bus trip to town centre.

Doubles from £55, gardenhotel.it.

Lodge Santa Caterina

Simply outdoors town partitions, by the imposing Porta Romana, this welcoming lodge deserves its loyal following. Rooms are furnished in fundamental Tuscan type, however are neat and spotlessly clear. 

It has parking and is a couple of 15-minute stroll from the Campo. In summer season, you’ll be able to breakfast within the backyard.

Doubles from £68, hotelsantacaterinasiena.com.

Hotel Santa Caterina is about a 15-minute walk from the Campo (pictured), the shell-shaped piazza at the heart of the city

Lodge Santa Caterina is a couple of 15-minute stroll from the Campo (pictured), the shell-shaped piazza on the coronary heart of town

A communal area in Palazzo Ravizza, where the bedrooms are stylish and comfortable and doubles are priced from £93

A communal space in Palazzo Ravizza, the place the bedrooms are fashionable and comfy and doubles are priced from £93

Palazzo Ravizza

This former palace, tucked away within the Contrada della Pantera, makes a romantic bolthole. Beamed ceilings, antiques and prints present interval allure, whereas the bedrooms are fashionable and comfy. Unusually for a city-centre lodge, it has its personal parking in addition to a tranquil backyard. The most affordable rooms overlook the road; the loveliest look on to the backyard and Tuscan hills.

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Doubles from £93, palazzoravizza.com.

Albergo Bernini

It is a family-run pensione with easy rooms, tiled flooring and darkish, picket furnishings. It’s centrally situated — only a five-minute stroll to the Campo — and has a panoramic terrace the place you’ll be able to have breakfast, or gaze over the rooftops. Some rooms are en suite, however the least expensive have shared loos.

Doubles from £48, albergobernini.com.

The place to eat

I Terzi

Not removed from the Campo, this vigorous little enoteca (wine bar) is a well-liked spot for aperitifs, and has a wide array of Tuscan wines — many obtainable by the glass (from €5/£4.50). Essential programs resembling Chianina beef might be costly, however plates of scrumptious home made pasta or salads are moderately priced (enotecaiterzi.it). 

A narrow street in Siena. There’s much more to the city than the Palio, the notorious horse race held here each summer

A slim avenue in Siena. There’s way more to town than the Palio, the infamous horse race held right here every summer season

The view of the Torre del Mangia from Via Rinaldini - the street that's home to the Key Largo cafe/bar

The view of the Torre del Mangia from By way of Rinaldini – the road that’s residence to the Key Largo cafe/bar 

Il Grattacielo

There’s no menu at this cheerfully chaotic osteria, sarcastically named ‘the skyscraper’ because it’s beneath an archway close to Piazza Salimbeni. Queue for chilly meats, olives and cheese adopted by pasta — maybe pici (like thick spaghetti) with ragu. Share tables with locals at lunchtime. It’s on the By way of dei Pontani and two programs with wine involves about £10 to £14.

Key Largo

At first sight, there’s nothing to differentiate this little cafe/bar on By way of Rinaldini from the others. Nevertheless, for those who pop in for an espresso and a pastry (about £3.50), you’ll uncover its secret — a bit balcony with excellent views of the Campo.

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La Chiacchera

Perched on a steep hill close to the previous residence of Catherine of Siena, town’s patron saint, it is a good place to seek out hearty Tuscan dishes. Seize one of many barely wobbly seats outdoors and luxuriate in filling ribollita (a thick soup made with bread, beans and greens) or wild boar ragu with tagliatelle (about £6 for a most important course, osterialachiacchera.it).

What to see and do

Admire the duomo

Feast your eyes on an eye-popping mix of stripes, frescoes and ornate carvings during a visit to Siena’s cathedral, pictured above

Feast your eyes on an eye-popping mixture of stripes, frescoes and ornate carvings throughout a go to to Siena’s cathedral, pictured above

Siena’s cathedral is an eye-popping mixture of stripes, frescoes and carvings so ornate John Ruskin known as it ‘absurd’. The ground, or pavimento, options 56 inlaid and graffito marble slabs. Created over 200 years, they depict mythological and biblical scenes. They’re uncovered yearly for a number of weeks (entrance €15/£13, operaduomo.siena.it).

Go to the pilgrims’ relaxation

It’s onerous to consider the museum Santa Maria della Scala was a working hospital till the Eighties (entrance prices €9/£8, or a joint ticket with Museo Civico prices €14/£12.50, santamariadellascala.com). The spotlight right here is the Sala del Pellegrinaio — a former ward adorned with Fifteenth-century frescoes of every day life, together with one exhibiting docs studiously analyzing a urine pattern.

See the seat of presidency

The interior of the imposing Palazzo Pubblico, which was built in the 13th century as the seat of the Sienese authorities

The inside of the imposing Palazzo Pubblico, which was constructed within the thirteenth century because the seat of the Sienese authorities

Constructed within the thirteenth century because the seat of the Sienese authorities, the imposing Palazzo Pubblico was supposed to impress.

Don’t miss the Sala dei Nove, the place frescoes depict allegorical scenes of fine authorities (completely satisfied residents, lush land) and unhealthy authorities (ruins and robbers). You’ll be able to climb the 388 steps to the highest of the Torre del Mangia, the palace’s lofty 335 ft bell tower (tower and museum €15/£14, or €20/£18 joint with Santa Maria della Scala, comune.siena.it).

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Easy methods to get there

EasyJet has returns from Gatwick to Pisa from £54 (easyjet.com). From Pisa you’ll be able to take a prepare to Siena, through Empoli, or take the prepare to Florence after which a bus to Siena.