siena cathedral

Exploring Siena {Holiday in Tuscany Part Three} ǀ Travel

Jess McGlynnJuly 25, 2017

I sat down to write this post, knowing that I was going to share with you how our trip to Siena was my favourite part of our entire holiday in Tuscany when I realised that I’d actually taken hardly any photos.  I want to say that it’s because I was simply busy admiring the architecture and soaking up the heritage…which is probably partly true.

But I also did manage to capture a lot of video footage so as well as pointing you towards part one and part two of these holiday posts I’m also going to go ahead and share our Siena vlog which I think captures our day pretty well.

I will, of course also share here how much we enjoyed our time, with just a handful less pictures than I would have liked.

Siena is another city which has strict regulations on driving within the walls so as with San Gimignano which researched places to park at the bottom end of the city and then made our way up inside the city walls.  It was pretty straightforward; we parked at the train station and about a two minute walk away is a little shopping complex which has a network of escalators which take you right up to the top and into Siena itself.  It was a fairly long walk from the city walls into the heart of Siena and the streets are mostly cobbled but everything is well signposted so there’s never much doubt of which direction you need to head.

siena pastries

We also found the sweetest pastry shop which gave us some much needed fuel to keep on walking.

As Siena is a ‘limited traffic area’ you can only drive and park within the walls if you have a special license and you will get fined if you enter without one.  Whilst we were there we saw a tourist being pulled over.

Siena was one of the cities I knew I absolutely wanted to visit whilst we were in Tuscany.  It’s probably no surprise that the reason why is book related: I had read Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato a while ago and had fallen in love with the city so being given the chance I wasn’t going to pass it up.

siena street

siena street

There is so much to see and do in Siena it was almost a little overwhelming.  We knew that we wanted to see the Il Campo which is the famous square where the famous Palio race is held each year and there is a very helpful tourist office in the Piazza del Duomo where you can purchase tickets to get into some of the main attractions including the cathedral.  There are different grades of ticket depending on what you want to see and the staff are very helpful.

We opted for the cathedral, the Piccolomini library and the Museum of the Opera del Duomo which also comes with a tower climb for a panoramic view.  It was absolutely scorching on the day that we visited so although we didn’t do all of the touristy things it was about all we could handle and I’m pleased we saw some of the main sights.

siena cathedral

siena cathedral bell tower

siena cathedral roof

The cathedral is just breathtaking and has been so well preserved that it is just awe-inspiring.

The Piccolomini library is housed within the cathedral and again, it was stunning.

cathedral library roof

siena cathedral interior

panoramic siena

siena rooftops

After we had been to the cathedral we went across to the Museo della Opera and climbed up to look out across the Piazza del Duomo and the cathedral.  Compared with the panoramic climb we had done in San Gimignano this one felt much sturdier and I’m pleased to say I was less of a wimp!

We then headed to Il Campo and enjoyed some gelato whilst soaking up our surroundings.  One thing I really noticed and loved about Siena was the mass of beautiful buildings.  Pretty much every street that we walked down had some gorgeous architecture and I really fell in love.

piazza del duomo

piazza del duomo

The only downside was that it was so much busier than either Volterra or San Gimignano had been and we really noticed the difference.  We had thought about going to Florence instead of Siena but I’m glad we didn’t in the end as I imagine it would have been even worse.  Pretty much everywhere you looked there were gaggles of tour groups milling around.  Obviously we were tourists as well but it was much more noticeable than in either of the other places we had been.

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