Siena, situated atop three hills, qualifies as Italy’s ultimate “hill town.” Its thriving historic center, with red-brick lanes cascading every which way, offers Italy’s best medieval city experience. For those who dream of a Fiat-free Italy, Siena is a haven. Pedestrians rule in the old center of town, as the only drivers allowed are residents and cabbies. Sit at a café on the main square. Wander narrow streets lined with colorful flags and studded with iron rings to tether horses. While nearby Florence has the blockbuster museums, Siena has an easy-to-enjoy soul: Courtyards sport flower-decked wells, alleys dead-end at rooftop views, and the sky is a rich blue dome.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Il Campo Best square in Italy.
▲▲▲ Duomo Art-packed cathedral with mosaic floors and statues by Michelangelo and Bernini.
▲▲ Civic Museum City museum in City Hall with Sienese frescoes, the Effects of Good and Bad Government.
▲▲ Duomo Museum Siena’s best museum, displaying cathedral art (including Duccio’s Maestá) and offering sweeping Tuscan views.
▲ City Tower 330-foot tower climb.
▲ Pinacoteca Fine Sienese paintings.
▲ Baptistery Cave-like building with baptismal font decorated by Ghiberti and Donatello.
▲ Santa Maria della Scala Museum with vibrant ceiling and wall frescoes depicting day-to-day life in a medieval hospital, much of the original Fountain of Joy, and an Etruscan artifact exhibit.
Crypt Site of 12th-century church, housing some of Siena’s oldest frescoes.
Church of San Domenico Huge brick church with St. Catherine’s head and thumb.
Sanctuary of St. Catherine Home of St. Catherine.