Situated atop three hills, Siena qualifies as Italy's ultimate "hill town." Its thriving historic center, with movie-set 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. Nurse a drink on the main square, then wander narrow streets, still 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 colorful flags of neighborhood pride flutter everywhere. Even with all the tourists, a strong local spirit pervades.
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, with cathedral art (Duccio's Maestá) and sweeping Tuscan views.
▲ City Tower Siena's 330-foot tower climb.
▲ Pinacoteca Fine Sienese paintings.
▲ Baptistery of San Giovanni Cave-like building with baptismal font decorated by Ghiberti and Donatello.
▲ Santa Maria della Scala Museum with much of the original Fountain of Joy, Byzantine reliquaries, and vibrant frescoes depicting day-to-day life in a medieval hospital.
Crypt Site of 12th-century church, housing some of Siena's oldest frescoes.
Basilica of San Domenico Huge brick church with St. Catherine's head and thumb.
Sanctuary of St. Catherine Home of St. Catherine.