Top Hotels in Siena Historical Center
Reviewed on Sep 4, 2020
Reviewed on Mar 1, 2020
Top things to do in Siena Historical Center
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Siena Historical Center
One of Europe’s best-preserved medieval centers is filled with references to Siena’s long and interesting artistic, intellectual and political history. Entirely preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Siena Historical Center is a must-visit destination to learn about late medieval and early Renaissance art, history and architecture. Siena was one of the great communes of medieval Italy, remarkable for its brick buildings, which retained gothic touches well into the 16th century, and its unusual secular, quasi-democratic government. See that greatness still on display in its streets, where beautiful stonework in every loggia and palazzo seems covered with multiple layers of classical and religious references.
Get acquainted with Siena’s long economic history at the Monte dei Paschi, one of the world’s oldest banks, still housed within the impressive gothic walls of the 14th-century Palazzo Salimbeni. Learn about the city’s past at the Palazzo Pubblico on the Piazza del Campo, which has for centuries formed the center of civic life in the unusually democratic city.
Appreciate Siena’s role in medieval artistic life by visiting the grand Siena Cathedral, whose striped, statue-adorned façade is complemented by the incredible number of artworks housed inside.
Examine the mixed classical and religious themes on the lavishly decorated Fonte Gaia, a monumental fountain, and meander down the Banchi di Sotto to see the wealth of Siena’s medieval merchants on full display.
The Siena Historical Center is the beating heart of the city, making it extremely easy to access from nearly anywhere. Walk here from the train station in a few minutes or hop on one of the buses that travel between the area’s most famous sites.
Many of the historic center’s streets are closed to private vehicles, which may make parking difficult, though there are several municipal parking garages. Even within the historical center, Siena is hilly, so plan for a few climbs.
Though it can be crowded, climb the 300 narrow steps up to the Torre del Mangia in the evenings for the classic view of tile rooftops in the Siena Historical Center turning fiery red in the fading light.