If you want to experience medieval Tuscany at its finest then Siena is undoubtedly the place to go. This fine unspoilt city is regarded as the very best example of its kind, and is easy to reach from either Pisa or Florence airports by car. Touring Tuscany by car is the most convenient way of getting to know this wonderful part of Italy, and with hire cars available to collect at either airport, having been booked online, you can enjoy the region at your own pace. The delights of Siena are many, and include some of the finest old buildings in Europe.
Il Campo, the beautiful central piazza of the city, is the main focal point, surrounded by many fine medieval buildings. It is famous as the site of the legendary Palio, a horse race that has its roots deep in history and feudal challenges that is run as a tradition every summer. If you are in Siena for the Palio festival it is a real treat, and one that is entirely unique to this glorious city.
Within the piazza is the magnificent Palazzo Publico, which with it adjoined Torre del Mangia – a stunning tower – dominates the skyline. Built around the year 1300, it is still used as a centre for the municipal offices of the city, the purpose it was intended for when first erected. Visitors can climb the steps of the tower – there are more than 500 of them – and take in the breathtaking views of the city from the top, while the less energetic can enjoy the many interesting artefacts in the adjacent Civic Museum.
The Duomo of Siena – the cathedral – is another spectacular building that stands proud on the skyline, and the medieval buildings that surround it give an air of stepping back in time. As one of the least changed cities in Tuscany, Siena is a perfect opportunity to see what a great medieval city must have looked like in its prime. Renaissance era Italy has never been better represented than it is here, in the many museums, galleries and buildings that the city supports.
Italy is a food-lovers paradise, and Siena is no exception. Fantastic restaurants serving traditional Tuscan dishes are well worth the effort, while the local wines are exemplary and many bars will be more than happy to serve you a glass. Cafes are perfect for relaxing among locals, although it is worth noting that this is a very popular resort, and one that can be busy in the high season.
There is much to see and do in and around Siena, and whether you are visiting for the day or staying near the city it will not disappoint. There are many shops here, with some delightful boutiques, and it is easy to reach many other towns and cities – including the wonderful Pisa and Florence – by road, while visitors can take flights to either Pisa or Florence airports and be in Siena by renting a car in Siena in no time at all.