Siena is one of the most popular and visited cities in Tuscany, and also one of the most beautiful. Surrounded by the olive groves and vineyards of Chianti, Siena is a city extremely rich in history and art and with strong local traditions.
It is also a magnificent ensemble of medieval palaces, cathedrals, towers and a soaring skyline built on three hills surrounded by well-preserved walls. The city is filled with fine examples of Gothic architecture and ancient buildings cast in warm, brown Siena-colored brick. You will feel like in a journey backwards through time, walking through the winding alleyways surrounding the unique and world famous Piazza del Campo or climbing the steep steps to view its treasures of art.
It is here that the fabulous Palio di Siena occurs in the summer of each year. A tradition since medieval times, this popular horse race set into a medieval atmosphere of ancient tournaments. Held in the Piazza del Campo every year, the event is preceded by a historic cortege and procession in costume with all the symbolisms of ancient tournaments.
In Siena there are often various arrangements of entertainment. The city hosts an array of concerts, theater performances, festivals and movie premieres. There are many music and jazz festivals that take place in the city center. Every Wednesday there is an extensive city market that Italians flock to from other local towns just to get in on the exclusive items and deals.
Food is another pleasure offered by this city. Siena’s cuisine is made from impeccably fresh ingredients, kept simple and cooked with time and care. And we cannot forget about the wine, with its access to the green hills and sun-drenched valleys of the Chianti region, Siena enjoys an uninterrupted expanse of vineyards.
Suggested Restaurants in Siena:
- In Siena, visitors certainly deserve a visit to the famous restaurant ‘Arnolfo’ which holds a Michelin Star (http://www.arnolfo.com) and is near the new ‘Hotel Castello di Casole’, which has won for two consecutive years the award for best Luxury resort in Europe. The area is popular especially in the summer for the international touring class.
- Taverna San Giuseppe, Siena (http://www.tavernasangiuseppe.it) – Located in the heart of Siena, their menu presents the finest quality of the city’s most authentic and traditional recipes
- “Contrada” and “La Cantina”, Siena inside the Castel Monastero hotel (http://www.castelmonastero.com/it/gourmet-dining) – This is a luxury hotel and resort that has its two restaurants and kitchens in the hands of the world famous and true master chef Gordon Ramsay.
- In Siena is the 5 star and famous Luxury Resort “La Bagnaia” (http://www.labagnaiaresort.com/en/5-star-hotel-tuscany/73-0.html) with views of forest landscapes, village streets and the ancient Tuscan countryside.
- Also in Siena, there is Castel Monastero, (http://www.castelmonastero.com/it/home), a luxury hotel and resort that has its two restaurants and both kitchens in the hands of the world famous and true master chef Gordon Ramsay.
Sports Facilities in Siena:
- Close to the city you will find many golf courses, like the The Royal Golf La Bagnaia (http://www.royalgolflabagnaia.com/) which is the first golf course in Tuscany. Offers 18 holes designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The course is enhanced by beautiful lakes and a majestic Club House and is only 25 minutes away from the city.
- Golf Club Valdichiana (http://www.golfclubvaldichiana.it/) that offers a 9-hole course in the middle of Tuscany and is 45 minutes away from the city.
- Just 50 minutes away, there is another excellent golf club, called Castiglion del Bosco Golf Club. (http://golf.castigliondelbosco.com/). offers a natural setting, dotted with cypress trees, which follows the contours of the historic landscape of the Val d’Orcia. With an 18-hole golf course that was designed by the legendary winner of the British Open, Tom Weiskopf.
Annual Festivals in Siena:
- Il Palio, Siena – Held on 2nd of July each year, Il Palio is a major event on the city’s calendar. The Palio is an unusual race involving bareback riders dressed in 15th-century costume. Each rider represents one of Siena’s 17 contrade, or city districts. The riders and horses process through the streets, ending at Piazza del Campo where thousands wait to watch the race. The event is held again in August.
- Fiera di San Giuseppe, Siena – A traditional festival in March, which celebrates the feast of St Joseph. Stalls are set up in Siena’s Contrada dell’Onda and there are donkey races, floats and tournaments.
- Siena Jazz Festival – Held in June and carrying through to July, a series of jazz sessions and concerts are held in public locations throughout Siena, including the Logge del Papa.
- Festa dell’Olio, Siena – Held in mid-December. This traditional festival celebrates the olive oil produced from the first crop of the season which was harvested earlier in the month. As well as olive oil tastings. There’s plenty of music and dancing to keep everyone entertained.