Post by Enrico
This guide is based on my own experiences and on recommendations from locals. I’d like to thank the Hotel Athena staff for their precious tips.
You have booked a flight, rented a room and bought all the touristic guides your favorite bookshop had on its shelves.
You are almost there, you only need to arrive to your destination and start with your tour. But, wait a second. You have only one day and the pieces of information on your guides seem endless: how can you choose which restaurant or museum is actually better? No worries, or at least don’t if you plan to go to Siena: have a look at the one-day tour I have prepared.
I promise you both landmarks and hidden gems to make the best out of your one-day experience in Siena!
How to visit Siena in only a day: the itinerary starts at breakfast time
Start your trip early in the morning, in Via della Sapienza 36, where there’s an authentic and traditional pasticceria, the Pasticceria Sinatti.
Have a cappuccino together with one of the delicacies of Siena. If you wish to eat something crunchy, choose the cantucci, similar to cookies and with pieces of almonds inside the dough. If, on the other side, you want to try a completely new flavour, try the panforte, a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts and resembling to a fruitcake.
Walks and landmarks
The first part of your tour includes the must-see landmarks, those every guide puts in their top five. The first thing you’ll see is the Chiesa Caterina di San Domenico. It’s one of the most important churches of Siena and is characterized by a beautiful chapel built during the Renaissance.
Have a tour of its chiostro¸ plunged in a silent atmosphere since 1425. After a short walk, you’ll reach the famous Piazza del Campo. Its shape, similar to a shell, makes it truly unique and you’ll feel as if the buildings are stretching out to give you a warm hug.
Twice a year, on July 2nd and August 16th, the Palio di Siena takes place in Piazza del Campo. The Palio is a long-established tradition that involves horses racing in the square. Each horse belongs to one of the 17 contrada that represent the Tuscan cities. If you can’t assist the Palio, then visit a contrada, like the Contrada Capitana dell’Onda, that has its headquarter behind Piazza del Campo.
The Torre del Mangia is another must see. It’s one of the most ancient and tallest Italian towers and it reaches the height of the Campanile of the Duomo: the Torre, in fact, was built to symbolize the balance between divine and temporal powers. Reach the top of it to witness a breath-taking view, and then go to the Duomo. Apart from its beautiful exterior and interior, you can now see the Duomo terraces: buy an OPASi Pass to witness its amazing panorama. More info about the Tower on the Siena’s municipality official website.
It’s time to try the typical cuisine: Salefino Vino & Cucina
After such a cultural morning, you deserve some time to relax and eat something tasteful. Reach Via degli Umiliati 1/3 and enter Claudio and Alice’s realm. You’ll be warmly welcomed into a cozy space and asked to order from a wide selection of dishes. My suggestion is to start with some salumi and formaggi, and then order a portion of pasta fresca, like the fettucine with zucchini. Salefino Vino & Cucina has also a good selection of red wines: it’s forbidden to ask for water!
Another side of the city: peaceful walks and amazing views
As I promised, the second part of this itinerary is made of non-traditional places, to help you enjoy also the hidden treasures of such a beautiful city like Siena.
First of all, take Via Rossi and be careful to look at the walls surrounding you. If you are careful enough, you’ll notice a marble-woman peeking over a curtain.
Get to Piazza Salimbeni and stop for a moment in front of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena headquarter, one of the oldest banks in the world.
Near the Monte dei Paschi, there’s the Consorzio Agrario, a high quality supermarket, where you can buy local goods at super accessible rates.
If you wish to spend some time in green, open spaces, head to the Orti dei Tolomei, a beautiful park with lots of benches and a playground for children.
Siena’s night out
By now, you’ll be quite tired, but loaded with beautiful pics and happy memories.
All you need is to sit in a relaxing atmosphere and enjoy your last part of this intense day. For such a purpose, there’s nothing better than La Taverna di San Giuseppe, a restaurant with stone-walls and kind waiters.
Eat something with tartufo (truffle) or, if you are a curious tooth, go for the cocoa tagliatelle with ragù: it’s an unforgettable experience!
When your dinner is over, you can stroll around Siena’s small allies and look back at this fruitful experience of yours.
Post by Enrico