Best Things To Do in Siena, Italy Best Things To Do in Siena, Italy

Best Things To Do in Siena, Italy

Siena, Italy, is one of the most picture-perfect cities with a unique charm that’s hard to put into words. By day, walk through the maze of narrow lanes, discovering medieval art, and cute gelaterias. By night, find romantic trattorias lit by candlelight as you sit in the shadow of gothic buildings and enjoy the satisfying feeling of a belly full of fresh pasta. This atmospheric city is truly one of the gems of Tuscany; enjoy all the top things to do in Siena with this complete travel guide.

8 Things to do in Siena, Italy

Siena is a small and beautiful historical city in the famous region of Tuscany. The city is home to endless beautiful buildings in various terracotta and rose colors that line a maze of alleyways and hidden squares.

things to do siena tuscany

Among these buildings, discover the historic center of Siena, which is of such high historical value it’s been named a UNESCO world heritage site.

This area is known for its medieval art and beautiful frescoes, which can be found inside magnificent buildings, showcasing that you can find just as many treasures on the inside as you can on the outside in Siena. 

siena tuscany italy things to do

The city was hit badly by the Plague in the 1300s and hasn’t changed since, so a visit here feels like a time machine to the past. As such, days in Siena can be taken slowly, learning, taking photos, and admiring the fantastic views you’ll find from many of the steep hilltop streets. Here are the top things to do in Siena!

siena italy streets

1. Piazza del Campo

Piazza del Campo is the main square in Siena, known fondly by the locals as Il Campo (meaning ‘field’ in Italian). It’s easy to see why when you enter the vast shell-shaped square lined by beautiful ancient buildings. You’ll find many of the important sites on, or close to, this square, so it’s a great place to start any city walking trip. 

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Best Things To Do in Siena, Italy

Discover Torre del Mangia, Palazzo Publico and the Fountain of Gaia. The fountain sits at the center and is used as a meeting point by locals, so it’s a great place to sit and people-watch. 

siena things to do Piazza del Campo

2. Cathedral Siena (Siena Duomo)

The Cathedral of Siena is one of the most spectacular sights and a top thing to do in Siena. The mammoth Gothic building was built using white stone and rose marble, with various colors running through it. Treasures are waiting inside, where you can find some of the most breathtaking frescoes across the ceilings and walls. 

things to do siena italy Cathedral Siena tuscany

3. Battistero di San Giovanni

Battistero di San Giovanni sits at the back of the Cathedral on a lower level that is accessed by some steps. This small church, another gothic building, is much quieter than the cathedral and a nice place to spend half an hour and escape the heat on summer days. Look out for its incredible frescoes, detailed decoration, and famous hexagonal baptismal font. 

siena italy Battistero di San Giovanni

4. Palazzo Pubblico – Top Thing to do in Siena!

The Palazzo Pubblico is a stunning palace on the Il Campo square. Created in the 13th century, this beautiful building was once where the republic government would sit. Every room inside has intricate decorations, paintings, and frescoes which can be seen on a guided tour. 

siena Palazzo Pubblico

However, the adjoining tower, Torre del Mangia, is the real icon of Sienna, dominating the skyline for miles around. Standing at 88 meters tall, you can snake your way up the 400 steps all the way to the top. You get a magnificent birdseye view of the city and the surrounding Tuscan countryside from this height. Enjoy this top thing to do in Siena!

5. Church of San Domenico

The Church of San Domenico might not be as luxurious as the Cathedral, but it’s still beautiful inside and out. Plus, it has the uniqueness of an unusual mix of styles as bits of the church have been added over the years. However, the best part of all is its hilltop location, providing fantastic views out onto the orange-tiled rooves and terracotta buildings of Sienna. This traditional Italian building, surrounded by green Cypress trees, is a must-see on your trip to Siena. 

siena tuscany things to do Church of San Domenico

6. Elsa Trail and Waterfall

The Elsa Trail is a beautiful natural area located just a 30-minute drive from Siena. This stunning walking path is a slice of heaven, away from the city’s bustling streets, that worm between milky blue pools and waterfalls. Pack a picnic and jump in the car, crossing gorgeous Tuscan landscapes to enjoy a refreshing swim in the waters. 

Read: Elsa Trail, Tuscany, and Diborrato Waterfall

If you don’t have a car, you can take a public bus from the center of Siena (number 130 or 131).  

tuscany waterfall elsa trail

7. Visit San Gimignano from Siena

Close to the Elsa Trail and Waterfall is San Gimignano, whose remarkable nickname is Manhattan of the Middle Ages. It owes the nickname to the large number of residential towers that were once a status symbol for families building the highest. The higher, the better.

 San Gimignano beautiful places tuscany italy

San Gimignano is about a 1h 15 min drive from Siena, but if you combine this with the Diborrato Waterfall, it’s a perfect thing to do from Siena.

things to do siena day trip San Gimignano

8. A Day Trip to Pienza and Montepulciano

Montepulciano and Pienza are two beautiful locations located in the southern part of Tuscany. From Siena, it is about a 1-hour drive by car. Pienza is a charming little hilltop village known as the capital of the tasty pecorino cheese.

Montepulciano italy

Montepulciano is a small medieval city with great little restaurants and sites to visit. The two are very different and, therefore, a great visit on a day trip from Siena.

Tours in Pienza and Montepulciano

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How to Visit Siena in Italy

Florence and Pisa are the nearest airports, and you can drive to Siena in 1.5 hours from both of these. 

Find flights to Siena ✈️

Train connections are great throughout Italy. From Florence, you can reach Siena in 1.5 hours. If you’re coming from bigger cities like Rome or Milan, you’ll have to change trains in Florence.

italy travel train

Renting a car in Italy is one of the best ways to get around Tuscany, giving you the freedom to enjoy the top things to do in Siena and the beautiful nature in the surrounding region. Once you get to Siena, you can park it in this free parking spot

Tip: In the historical center, no cars are allowed. This makes it a wonderful experience to wander on the streets of Siena.

italy red fiat 500

Getting Around

Siena is a small city and very walkable. In fact, inside the historical center, this is the only option as there are no cars allowed. It’s the best way to see the tiny streets and find fantastic wine bars, beautiful townhouses, and more medieval gems.

Alternatively, do as the Italians do and rent a Vespa for your trip. Have fun driving the Vespa through the picturesque Italian streets!

italy vespa

Where to Stay in Siena

The historic center is the best option as this puts you right in the heart of Siena so you can walk everywhere and wake up to the sight of ancient buildings in the morning mist. Please be aware that you can’t drive or park in this area, so it might be better to stay outside of this area if you’re driving a car.

Many people choose to stay on a farm in the Tuscan countryside instead, venturing into Siena for a day trip. 

Best Time to Visit Siena, Italy

The summer months in Siena are hot, and the small compact city gets busy with travelers on their summer holidays.


Although the summer makes for a great atmosphere, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn can be a better option for quieter streets, lower prices, and warm temperatures that are perfect for a day of sightseeing. 

Best Cafes and Restaurants

The food in Siena doesn’t disappoint! There are lots of local delicacies here, such as truffle, porcini mushrooms, and the typical almond cookie of Siena. Head to a cozy trattoria and enjoy the local pasta, Pici (made with flour and water), and a delicious homemade sauce of tomato and garlic. Some of our favorite restaurants were:

  • Osteria Permalico
  • Osteria Degli Svitati
  • Torrefazione Fiorella
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Plus, the region is famous worldwide for its wine, so you can pair it with some of the tastiest varieties.

Blog comments (1)

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  • Erle Levey

    A beautiful and informative introduction to Siena and the Tuscan countryside … congratulations

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