Things to Do in Siena, Italy

A holiday in Tuscany is on many people’s want-to lists, and the lovely medieval town of Siena is one of the key destinations within this region. Just arriving in Siena is incredible enough, with its beautiful old buildings making it quite postcard-like. But of course most people want to do more, and this list of things to do in Siena should help you plan a very enjoyable stay.

Things to do in Siena

Siena Skyline by James Temple

The Palio Horse Race

Held twice each summer on 2 July and 16 August, the Palio horse race is one of Siena’s most famous attractions – we even have a poster of it on our bedroom wall! It has a grand tradition stretching back for a milennium and obviously, Siena is pretty crowded at Palio time – but the atmosphere is electric.

Things to do in Siena

Preparations for the Palio by One for RM

Piazza del Campo

The Piazza del Campo square in central Siena is not only the venue for the twice-annual Palio Horse Race, but also a beautiful square which provides an orientation point for all your strolls around Siena; it’s also famous for being uniquely built in a shell-like shape.

Things to do in Siena

Piazza del Campo by benleto

Duomo

The Duomo is Siena’s large cathedral, and easily one of the most beautiful churches you’ll find in Italy. Dating back to the thirteenth century, it’s built in a Gothic style and features distinctive (and photogenic) black and white marble on the outside and a very detailed mosaic floor inside. Within the Duomo’s complex you’ll find the Baptistery and the Museo dell’Opera but unfortunately you have to pay separate entrance fees for each of these.

Things to do in Siena

Siena’s Duomo by dottorpeni

Palazzo Pubblico

The  or town hall is located on the Piazza del Campo and is a medieval stone and brick building. You can climb up the tower (Torre del Mangia) for great views over the square and of Siena in general.

Things to do in Siena

Looking up at the Torre del Mangia by Paulo Bertinetto

Casa di Santa Caterina

The Casa di Santa Caterina is the birthplace of Saint Catherine, one of the two patron saints of Italy (the other is Saint Francis of Assisi), and it’s a convenient short stroll from the Duomo. It is set up to demonstrate Saint Catherine’s early life with the family kitchen and bedroom.

Pinacoteca Nazionale

The Pinacoteca Nazionale or National Picture Gallery is the place for art-lovers to head to, with paintings from Siena masters from the twelfth century through to the seventeenth century.  Many of the famous artists from the Sienese School of painting are represented.

Where to Stay in Siena

You can search for the best deal on hotels in Siena on the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

Guides to Other Cities in Italy

Our Europe city guides cover these Italian cities:

More Things to Do in Italy

We’ve plenty more tips for things to do in Italy on Europe a la Carte.