A day tour to discover the most seducing enemy of Florence

Located in the south of Florence, why choose Siena for a day trip or maybe spending even a night there?
With very simple words: Siena is beautiful. Full stop.

You can’t miss a visit here. Just if you want to see the crazy Palio! You don’t know about Palio? Read our article and discover it!

Siena is a small city, 60 thousand people approximately, it has a small city center, almost all pedestrian, with middle age streets that sometimes could be labyrinthine, but they are always a surprise, because they hide austere buildings with jewels of art inside that you never expect!

The beauty is everywhere. Also in the history of the city. Siena has important origins and the people there are very proud of them. It was founded by Remos’s son, Senio. That’s why one of the symbols of the city is the famous she wolf, almost like the one of Rome.

It grows in the Middle age and thanks to trade and banking activity, it becomes an economical power, always in fights and war against Florence. They soon become good enemies, and the rivalry it’s still on!
In Siena was founded the ancient back of the world still active, the Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

It was probably due to the plague, the terrible black death in 1348, that Siena fell and it never recovered. But Despite its weakness and the economical disasters that the city was living after the plague, it was able to stay independent from the attacks of Florence and the Medici family until 1555. For a very long time though!

The city is divided in 17 CONTRADE. That’s a word that you have to learn. It’s just a senese word and it means district, quarter.
Each Contrada has specific bounders, a symbol, a color, a church and a museum. Each contrada every year has to make an important decision: choosing the best jockey and a horse to try to win the Palio, the crazy horse race, organised twice a year, July the second and august the 16th.
But the palio is all year long! The people of Siena literally live for Palio!
This horse race takes place in the main political square of Siena, Campo square. It has a unique shape, a shall shape. Another Unesco site of Tuscany. In the middle of Campo square you can see the Joy fountain and it’s dominated by the fantastic political palace, with the famous Torre del Mangia, the eater tower (named after the most famous tower keeper).
Inside you can find amazing middle age frescoes made by the Lorenzetti’s brothers, showing the idea of the good and bad government. They were done when the city was ruled by Nine people that used to belong to the most important Noble families of Siena. It was the golden age of the city.
After the Palio of August, the winner and the horse go to be blessed at the Cathedral.

The Cathedral of Siena it’s majestic. It was done in the middle age, and it’s dedicated to the Asuncion of Virgin Mary. In the XIV they tried to enlarge it to make it the biggest cathedral of the world, but they did not succeed! Outside you can see the “facciatone” the skeleton of the project that they had in mind!
Inside instead you can find works from the Middle age, like the Pulpit of Nicola Pisano, to the Renaissance ( like Donatello and Michelangelo statues or the amazing Piccolomini library and its frescoes) to the Baroque style( even Bernini worked here!!!).
But the real jewel is the floor of the Duomo. The floor was covered with amazing mosaics with histories mainly from the Old and the New testament, done between the XIV and the XIX Century.
For conservative reasons, it’s almost all covered all year long to protect it. It’s completely open just 2 months a year, after the second Palio until the late October.
We suggest you come to see it. The sense of beauty and spiritualism it’s unique.
Siena it’s also a very religious city. It was built along the pilgrim route of the Via Francigena to Rome, and it was the birthplace of Saint Catherine which today is one of the main Saint protectors of Italy and Europe. Her head is conserved as a relic in the church of Saint Domenico.
A good visit of Siena has to includes a lunch or dinner to taste the local pasta called Pici with the typical sauces, tomatoes and garlic (pici all’aglione) or with pecorino cheese and pepper (pici cacio e pepe) and a glass of Chianti wine. As a dessert try the Ricciarelli or Panforte (read or article about this fantastic sweets!)

So are you coming with us? Ask us for the perfect tour in Siena