What to do - Attractions in Siena
Any good guidebook can help you find your way around the usual tourist haunts. While some are certainly worth seeing, such as the Siena Duomo and Duomo's museum (Museo dell'Opera) and climbing to the top of the Torre di Mangia in the historic center, there are a few not-so-typical things you might want to consider doing while in Siena.
My list of things to do, in no particular order:
- Sit on the Piazza del Campo sipping wine and watch the world go by.
- Eat a really late meal on the Piazza del Campo.
- Eat outside somewhere.
- Try wild boar (cinghiale).
- Order a meal in Italian at Boccon del Prete.
- Pick a bar, order a caffe and watch Italians go about their business.
- Visit the cemetery just outside the walls.
- Go to the Duomo of Siena for mass.
- Take the evening passegiata (stroll) on Via Banchi di Sopra and Via di Citta.
- Go to the open air mercato (market) next to the Fortezza.
- Take one of Roberto Bechi's tours of Siena.
- Study Italian somewhere in the city.
Cool things to do nearby
Stop at the enoteca in Montalcino to sample some of the world's greatest red wines.
Then drive over to Montepulciano and check out the Poliziano cantina on Piazza Grande in the city's historic center to sample another incredible red wine.
And while you're in Montepulciano stop at the handmade coppersmith's shop on 64 Via dell'Opio nel Corso, ph. 0578 758753. The shop is run by the smith himself and his wife and the quality of his workmanship is rivaled only by the reasonable cost.
Stop in the small hilltop village of Pienza and visit the Palazzo Piccolimini in Pienza - summer home for Pope Pius II and member of the powerful Sienese family, the Piccolomini, name that you see pop all over the place in Siena.
Cruise over to the abandoned Cistercian abbey at San Galgano, southwest of Siena. And don't forget to visit the smaller church on the hill nearby to see the "sword in the stone."
Siena, then and now
Several years ago a Senese friend asked me to re-photograph some old images of Siena he had on the wall of his wine shop -- out of that project came the following little video. Don't forget to turn your speakers up: