The swallows start to sing early in Siena.
Emerging at first light from the crevices within ancient stone and terracotta, they dip and weave between the rooftops that cluster up the three hills upon which the Tuscan city was crafted.
A powerhouse to rival the great cities of Europe before the Black Plague’s kiss of death in the 14th century, Siena is home to a wealth of medieval history, art, and culture; for many, it’s the embodiment of a medieval city. Composed of copper-red brick, soft-pink marble, Gothic-grey cobbles and icons draped in gold, it winds its way up on a pilgrimage to the gorgeous crescendo of its Humbug-striped Duomo – a Cathedral to rival any in Italy for beauty and intricate craft.
That this glorious Sienese skyline has changed so little in the last 600 years or so is remarkable but, come summertime, it serves merely as the backdrop for the song and dance of a thousand small birds.
A popular day trip from it longtime rival – nearby Florence – Tuscany’s compact ‘second city’ is certainly more than deserving of a few slow nights on its own merits, or to use as a convenient base from which to explore the surrounding wine region.
After our own stay in Siena, we wanted to share our favourite experiences and places to help you curate your own visit. From the secret viewpoints to seek out and art in the depths of the city’s foundations, to sunsets at a hipster hangout beyond the walls, witnessing a world-famous horse race, a local-led cooking class, and climbing one of the tallest towers in Italy, these are the unmissable moments to savour.
This is 13 Wonderful Things To Do in Siena, Italy.
p.s. for more historical context, planning tips, transport connections, and common mistakes to avoid, we recommend you also read the companion post to our Siena guide: 7 Things To Know Before You Visit Siena (published soon).
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