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Focus on Siena

The wonderful city of Siena is without doubt one of the very finest in Italy. It is certainly a must-visit when in Tuscany. For that visit, here are a few must-dos:

Historic Centre
Siena is perhaps best known for its historic centre. It is, after all, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Any postcard of the city will show the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. It is here where the biannual Palio di Siena takes place — a renowned horse race between ten of the city’s seventeen different contrade. If you are in Siena in July or August, make sure you do not miss this remarkable spectacle! Surrounding the Piazza are The Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico, both boasting beautiful exterior architecture and interior artworks.

Siena Cathedral (‘Il Duomo’) is a perfect example of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. The impressive façades render the actual building itself a work of art. Inside, the marble stripes, mosaic floor, chapels, and important sculpted monuments make a visit here a memorable experience.

Fonte Giusta
Siena is dotted with fantastic restaurants. La Taverna di San Giuseppe and Osteria Permalico are both definitely worth a visit. However, Trattoria Fonte Giusta is a personal favourite. The volume of local patrons attests to the quality of the food here. The Pici al Ragù di Cinghiale (a fat Sienese spaghetti with Wild Boar Ragu) is exceptional. Elsewhere, make sure you try the gelatos at La Vecchia Latteria. I would suggest the fragola (strawberry) flavour!

Just walk around!
Cliché alert….You get a real sense here of this being the ‘real Italy’. There are two reasons for this. First, these narrow, cobbled streets are unchanged from Siena’s medieval past. More importantly, though, Siena is different in that it is not too touristy. Yes, of course it is popular. However, the city’s unique (contrade-based) identity shines through all year round, in large part because this is not the easiest Italian city to reach. Siena has no airport, and so it takes a bit of effort to get here. It will be worth it though! So, grab a gelato and watch the Sienese world go by…