Siena (Tuscany): what to see in 1 day


What to see in Siena, itinerary including the main monuments and places of interest in this Tuscan city, famous for the traditional palio that takes place in Piazza del Campo.

Tourist information

The city of Siena rises on three hills, surrounded by a hilly landscape famous all over the world for its beauty.

Its homogeneous and compact historic center is the legacy of a medieval period of great splendor, during which the town planning aspect of the city was very well taken care of.

For an interesting tourist visit you can start from Piazza Del Campo, where the Palazzo Pubblico is located with the Torre del Mangia at the end of the left wing, while inside it houses the Civic Museum.

The State Archives Museum is housed in the Piccolomini Palace.

From the staircase in front of the Basilica San Clemente in S. Maria dei Servi a beautiful panorama opens onto the city.

Continuing we find the Loggia della Mercanzia, Via di Città with Palazzo Chigi Saracini, Piazza del Duomo with the imposing Cathedral, Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala and the Church of the Santissima Annunziata.

The Metropolitan Opera Museum is located in a building in Piazza Jacopo della Quercia.

The Baptistery is located under the apse of the Duomo, overlooking Piazza San Giovanni. The National Art Gallery occupies Palazzo Buonsignori and Palazzo Brigidi.

The Church of S.Agostino and that of S.Nicolò al Carmine, with the Carmelite Convent.

In the northern sector of the city, the Palazzo Tomei, the Basilica of Santa Maria di Provenzano, overlooking Piazza Tomei, overlooks the square in front with a view of a stretch of walls and the Sienese hills.

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The Basilica of San Francesco, which closes the square of the same name, also overlooks a wide panorama.

The Oratory of San Bernardino, the Shrine of the House of Santa Caterina, co-patron of Italy, and the imposing Basilica of San Domenico, with the chapel of S. Caterina, deserve attention.

Continuing we find the Fortress of Santa Barbara, where there is an exhibition with tasting of typical wines, the Church of Fontegiusta and Porta Camollia.

What see

Piazza del Campo

A fine example that testifies to compliance with specific urban planning rules is Piazza del Campo, with its harmonious shell-shaped shape.

The Palio takes place twice a year in this square or "the field" as the Sienese call it. At the center of the square is a copy of the Fonte Gaia, a rectangular basin by Jacopo della Quercia (the original fifteenth-century panels are located in the Museum Complex of Santa Maria della Scala).

They overlook the square, the Palazzo Comunale or Palazzo Pubblico, a significant testimony of civil Gothic architecture in Tuscany. From the end of the left wing of the Palace rises the bold Torre del Mangia, symbol of the secularism of the Sienese Republic.

At the foot of the tower, the Cappella di Piazza, built by the Sienese to fulfill a vow after the plague of 1348, on the other sides of the square, ancient buildings with elegant facades surround.

Siena Cathedral

Not far from Piazza del Campo is the Duomo, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, a fascinating Romanesque-Gothic building, the pride of this city. On the site where the current Cathedral is located stood a Church that was part of a building, which seems to have been the Bishop's residence until the year 913.

In the twelfth century this church was incorporated into the construction of a new structure which was gradually enlarged and rebuilt in the following century. Between 1258 and the beginning of 1300, the period in which the monks of San Galgano were administrators of the work of the Duomo, the works were entrusted to Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni.

In 1339, when Siena was at the height of its splendor, it was planned to make the Church the transept of a much wider work, but the works were interrupted in 1357 due to the collapse of the structures and above all due to the plague of 1348, a scourge for the Sienese.

Subsequently between 1377 and 1382 (year of completion) the upper part of the facade and the vaults of the central nave were built, while the facade called "il frontetone" remains unfinished, from which today you can admire a beautiful panorama of the city .

Santa Maria della Scala Museum

Opposite the Cathedral is the Museum Complex of Santa Maria della Scala, a large medieval building, a precious historical and artistic testimony of this city.

The large complex, one of the first examples in Europe of a hospital and hospice for pilgrims and foreigners, has undergone a recovery work and has been made suitable for hosting cultural and museum activities.

To date, the museum itinerary includes the Pellegrinao, the Old Sacristy, the Cappella del Manto, the Cappella della Madonna, the Church of the Santissima Annunziata, the medieval barn, the premises of the Compagnia di Santa Caterina della Notte, the new Archaeological Museum, and other exhibition spaces of Palazzo Squarcialupi.

Palazzo Piccolomini

Along the well-known Via di Città is Palazzo Piccolomini, also known as Palazzo delle Papesse.

The building, a typical example of Florentine Renaissance architecture, was built by Giacomo and Andrea Piccolomini Todeschini, grandchildren of Pope Pius II.

The project was entrusted to Bernardo Rossellino and the direction of the works to Pietro Paolo del Porrina.

The building, which was enlarged in the 17th century, houses the state archive.

Palazzo Chigi-Saracini

Palazzo Chigi-Saracini, the seat of the prestigious Chigiana Music Academy, also overlooks Via di Città.

The Palace was built in the mid-twelfth century by the Marescotti Ghibelline family, and before the Palazzo Pubblico was built it was the seat of the Council of the Republic of Siena.

In 1506 when the palace was purchased by the Piccolomini-Mandoli family, renovations were carried out and the building took on a Renaissance appearance.

In 1770 the Palace became the property of the Saracini family who enlarged the facade and enriched it with precious works of art collected by Galgano Saracini.

These works will be part of a museum which will be inaugurated in the early nineteenth century.

In 1877 the palace was inherited by the Chigi family. The last owner of the Palace, Count Guido Chigi Saracini, had the building renovated, and the Chigiana Music Academy was established here.

Basilica of San Domenico

San Domenico, in via Camporegio, is one of the most important churches in Siena.

The building was built by the Dominicans on land donated to order by the Malavolti family, in the year 1226.

The Gothic architecture of the Basilica is due to an expansion which took place in the following century.

This church is linked to Santa Caterina, here is the relic of his head and in the Cappella delle Volte, where the Dominican tertiaries met to pray, a large part of his mystical life took place.

In this chapel there is also the truthful portrait of Santa Caterina, a fresco by Andrea Vanni.

Basilica of San Francesco

San Francesco is the church overlooking the square of the same name, built in the thirteenth century in Romanesque style.

Expansions that took place in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries transformed the structure into a refined work in Gothic art.

In 1655 it was partially destroyed by a fire, and rebuilt in the alleged original Gothic forms in 1885-92 by Giuseppe Partini.

The interior of the Basilica, the facade and the door underwent changes compared to the original.

The Church is also famous for the Eucharistic miracle that took place there on August 14, 1730.

Church of Sant'Agostino

Sant'Agostino was erected in the 13th century and renovated by Luigi Vanvitelli in 1747.

Inside there are various artistic masterpieces, including the Crucifixion by Perugino, the Madonna and Child between Angels and Saints by Lorenzetti, and the Adoration of the Magi of Sodom.

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