Siena Travel Guide - Tuscany

The main word is sustainability: the use of local products, the creation of a network responsible for sales and consistent, a careful selection of organic foods, all from the surrounding areas… This is just… Siena!
 Piazza del Campo is the principal public space of the historic center of Siena
Piazza del Campo of Siena, photo by Giorgos

1. Best things to do in Siena (Tuscany)

You can start visiting Siena with a welcome dinner at the workshop of Stigliano, which welcomes visitors inside a project of active citizenship and direct participation in the exchange and mutual enrichment through the experiences that each of the patrons can use to create a network of relationships and knowledge of the area.

The first steps can be moved  from the Church of San Domenico, a typically Romanesque marvel, expanded in 1300 in the classic gothic fashion that we can still admire. The vertical momentum will not be abandoned even after the reconstruction that took place in the late 1800s, after which the church drastically changed the internal aspect.

The church is famous for the small private chapel at St. Catherine of Siena, which contains his relics.

This marble pulpit in the Duomo of Siena was carved by Nicola Pisano in 1268
Pisano Pulpit, Duomo of Siena, photo by Joe de Sousa

The cathedral is the ideal second step, here you can see the breathtaking views that this intersection of streets and walls jealously conceals. In a few minutes, through the narrow and shady lanes of the beautiful Siena, you can arrive at the magnificent cathedral. Nestled in the square, winks at her “twin” of Pisa. The composition and structure of the cathedrals of Tuscany was affected, in fact, by the obvious influence of local materials (colored marbles).

Palio di Siena
Palio di Siena, photo by Teymur Madjderey

2. Taste and local food

The point: simple but unique food. Everything is based on a poor but excellent good: bread, in any variation. The Cinta Senese, finocchiona and lard enrich the flavor of the "poor" bread, made strictly at home.

Do not miss a delicious aperitif with toasted black bread prepared according to tradition, served with bovine spleen, onions and anchovies.

The soups are always present, from acquacotta to typical soups with bread crumbs and soaked with onion, tomato, oil and vinegar.

The famous Florentine steak Dominates Siena, it is grilled and cooked strictly by Chianina, typical of Tuscany. And then… Siena tripe and the legendary... Ribollita!

Ricciarelli of Siena are a delicious biscuits
Ricciarelli of Siena, photo by Wei-Duan Woo

Do not miss the desserts : Panforte di Siena, Gingerbread, ricciarelli and yummy and delicious almond biscuits!

Walking the streets swept by the incipient pale autumn sun you can warm up in one of the typical restaurants of the district: “La Taverna di San Giuseppe”, in the district (contrada) of the Wave, a few steps from the profane font in which babyies receives the initiation to the Contrada once born. Set in a background of the 1100s, the tavern looks warm and informal, despite the exclusivity and sophistication in its dishes. Ingredients are typically Tuscan, wholesome and homemade. Very special spicy salami and combinations with fruits and vegetables.

3. Nature, sport and green itineraries

You can conclude your visit riding in the Val di Merse. You can choose, for starters, a 30 km trip, so called ” Wandering of Sovicille.”

It starts from Stigliano, it crosses the Marshes, San Rocco a Pilli, Sovicille and than gets you to Torri. The roads are secondary roads, just a little frequented by motorists. The surrounding countryside almost reminds Scotland. You can also choose to lengthen the path along the river Rosia, which gives its name to the adjacent village. In this case, a feast for the eyes, the “Ponte della Pia”, it may surprise you.

Near the town of  San Quirico d'Orcia in the region and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val d'Orcia in Tuscany, Italy.
Road to Val d'Orcia, photo by Tommy Clark

4. The Via Francigena and surroundings

And what about walking? The Via Francigena goes on relentless and runs between rows of cypress trees. San Gimignano stands outside the hills with its towers and its fairy-tale silhouette. As in the Middle Ages, the red – ocher of the earth of Siena accompanies the paths that lead into the Elsa Valley, with its splendid Romanesque Coneo Badia, Colle Val d’Elsa and Monteriggioni, a beautiful medieval town surrounded by impressive and intact city walls.

The Val d’ Arbia shows the rolling hills of the Crete Senesi, we are beginning to write the history of the Via Francigena: buildings born in road service such as hotels and hospitals, churches, abbeys and canonical, fortified structures such as the granary of Cuna, once  deposit of tailings to the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. Buonconvento with its beautiful historical center, located in the heart of the Crete welcomes visitors with a warm embrace. The road continues in Val d’Orcia, soft green grass dunes  Cottony hills that run slow, in ethereal space. The feet will find comfort at the Farm Grossola, beautiful stone farmhouse in Castiglione d’ Orcia. We can move in the direction of  Bagno Vignoni, a true pearl.

Bagno Vignoni, in the region of Val d'Orcia
Bagno Vignoni, in the region of Val d'Orcia, photo by Simona

5. Where to stay in the city and surrounding

Discover all eco-friendly accommodations in the province of Siena, organic agritourisms surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, or eco-friendly Bed & Breakfasts and hotels set in the heart of medieval villages.

Discover all eco-friendly accommodations in Siena

 

by Angela Sebastianelli

Cover photo by Richard Scott, via flickr

Eco-friendly accommodations

Agrivilla i pini

San Gimignano (Tuscany)

Starting from 139,00 €
Torre Doganiera relax nel senese

Casole d'Elsa (Toscana)

Starting from 75,00 €
Sarna Residence San Quirico d'Orcia

San Quirico d'Orcia (Tuscany)

Starting from 65,00 €
Agriturismo I Vecchi Lecci

San Gimignano (Toscana)

Starting from 65,00 €
Bio Agriturismo Reggioli

Gaiole in Chianti (Tuscany)

Starting from 78,00 €
Poggio alla Rocca

Civitella Paganico (Tuscany)

Starting from 120,00 €
B&B Paradiso n.4

Siena (Toscana)

Starting from 80,00 €
Campeggio bivacco nel bosco

Gambassi Terme (Toscana)

Starting from 9,00 €
Poderi Arcangelo

San Gimignano (Toscana)

Starting from 95,00 €
Chianti B&B Design

Siena (Tuscany)

Starting from 110,00 €
Hotel Sovestro

San Gimignano (Tuscany)

Starting from 125,00 €
Country Retreat Pieve Marsina

Gaiole in Chianti (Tuscany)

Starting from 140,00 €
Agriturismo Il Rigo

San Quirico d'Orcia (Tuscany)

Starting from 100,00 €
Fattoria Le Pietre Vive

Castelnuovo Berardenga (Tuscany)

Starting from 110,00 €
Il Pino Bioagricoltura

Terranuova Bracciolini (Toscana)

Starting from 70,00 €