Discover Siena
One of the Italian culture pearls

A mysterious medieval city lurking among the hills of Tuscany

Districts of Siena

If you search well, you can find a map of the administrative-territorial division, but you do not need it. The city is small, and all the tourist attractions are connected with the historical center, surrounded by the fortress wall.

Speaking of neighborhoods, it's worth remembering about the Contrada. These districts or counties of Siena exhibit their horses during the Palio. There are now 17 contradas participating in the race, each with its name, such as — Eagle, Tower, Dragon, Snail, Raccoon, Unicorn, Panther, and others. They are distinguished according to historical tradition rather than by reference to local landmarks.

Contradas are the main contestants, but not landmarks for the tourist in terms of interesting places.

Population

Siena is now home to more than 50,000 people, almost half of whom are students at the local university. You'll find cultural and national diversity among them, while the natives are Italians who are used to an unhurried life within the ancient city's walls.

Brief history

The sources do not mention the exact date of the city's foundation and the founder's name. It is only known that the Etruscans founded a settlement there between the IX and IV centuries BC and that it then became part of the Roman state. However, there is a beautiful legend that the sons of Remus founded the city — Senius and Aschius, who, when escaping from Rome, took with them the statue of the Capitoline she-wolf, which became a symbol of the city.

The city was not prosperous under the Romans because it was in the middle of nowhere and far from the roads, so it had no access to commerce. The boost to development came from the Lombardy conquest, which shifted its trade to the routes passing close to Siena. The city began to grow rapidly and accumulate wealth. Eventually, local feudal lords decided to establish the Republic of Siena in the XII century, which lasted until 1555. At that time, the city flourished, and its architectural image, which survives today, was formed.

However, further prosperity was interrupted by a terrible plague epidemic in 1348, called the "Black Death." It wiped out most of the population, and Siena entered an era of stagnation.

In 1555, the Republic of Siena ceased to exist after Spanish King Philip II seized the capital. Since then, Siena seems to have fallen out of history. The city lost its economic power, and no more construction took place, allowing the medieval architectural ensemble to survive to this day. The only interesting date after the fall of the Republic was 1633, when the first modern Palio horse race was held.

Today, Siena is the administrative center of the Tuscany region, known worldwide for its wine production. In addition, it's also a city of students, who make up almost half of its population. Siena is also considered the largest tourist center in the country because its sights annually attract many travelers from different corners of the globe.

The best time to visit Siena

Siena has a subtropical climate characterized by hot and dry summers and humid and cool winters. Therefore, you can safely go to the city from April to October, with spring being the most comfortable time to travel. If the heat does not cause discomfort and you want to watch the spectacle, then feel free to go to Siena in summer, when the spectacular Palio horse races are held on July 2 and August 16 in Piazza del Campo.

Useful tips

It is best to start the journey to Siena from Florence or Pisa, where the international airports and train stations are located. The train or bus can take you quickly and comfortably to the city. The train station is located outside the old center. You can reach it by escalator. On the other hand, the bus station is inside the city wall.

Useful notes

Things to do in Siena

  • Stroll along the Piazza del Campo and look around at the facades of the old houses that attest to their medieval grandeur.
  • Go to the Palazzo Pubblico, walk through the majestic halls, and climb the Torre del Mangia, which offers a stunning panorama of Siena.
  • Visit the City Museum with archeological finds from Ancient Rome and paintings of famous artists from the Renaissance.
  • Enjoy the stunning exterior and interior of Siena Cathedral.
  • Stroll through the city's narrow streets among the walls of ancient houses.
  • See the city's panorama at sunset, when the brick walls look particularly saturated.
  • Visit the Palio horse races in July and August and bet on one of the jockeys.

Map Siena

Hotels in Siena

Latest articles

All
Tomb of Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican
News
11.01.2023
The tomb of Pope Benedict XVI opened to the public
Interior of the Italian restaurant Uliassi
News
10.01.2023
Europe's best restaurant chosen
Замок в итальянской деревне Серравалле
News
28.12.2022
Italy sells an entire village with a castle for 2 million dollars
Trevi Fountain in Rome
News
24.12.2022
Where do coins from the legendary Trevi Fountain go?
View of the Pantheon in the morning
News
20.12.2022
Entrance to the Pantheon will be paid
The world's largest Christmas tree
News
29.11.2022
Italy will light the world's largest Christmas tree