Siena is without doubt one of the most beautiful Italian cities. A city where the architecture soars and is like a giant, open-air Gothic, museum. Although often overshadowed by Florence, Siena is truly a depiction of what you would expect from a Tuscan city. Set on a hill, the city boasts with amazing views and an astonishingly beautiful and well retained medieval forms.
Another interesting fact about Siena is that it’s city centre is divided into several areas known as “Contrada”. Each Contrada has it’s own symbol & is marked by flags displayed on the tiny medieval streets.
The most famous event that takes place twice a year is the Palio, horse race. The Palio dates back to the 6th century and it’s a tradition widely treasured by the Sienese. During the Palio, 10 Sienese contradas challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city.
The Palio occurs on Piazza del Campo, which is one of the biggest medieval squares in the world dating back to the mid 12th century. Famous for its unique shell-shape, the square greatly dominates the city centre and nowadays it serves as a carpet on which young locals meet and relax.
Just like in every Italian city/town the most important building it the Cathedral. It is very common for the Duomo to be built on the highest spot of the city and this was also the case in Siena. If you observe the panoramas below (taken from some Tuscan hill near Siena) you can clearly see the Duomo standing out tall above all other buildings.
Now let’s talk about the dining in Siena. First for pre-dinner drinks, it’s definitely worth considering the cafes around the piazza, they were always buzzing with lively people. Siena boasts with many traditional dishes. From Wild boar, Cinta Senese that are combined with local hand made pasta to the great wine from its province, choices will not come scarce. Therefore when doing a Tuscan trip make sure to taste some its wines and stock up your suitcase with your favourites. Our favourites were certainly the magnificent Brunello di Montalcino, Montepulciano and Chianti.
We certainly didn’t manage to try all restaurants but some research and eye judgement helped us to stumble on two excellent restaurants: Tre Cristi and Le Campane.