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Siena was originally an Etruscan settlement that later became the Roman city of Sena Julia, this colony disappeared, later flourished under the Lombard kings. In the 12th century it became a self-governing commune. Siena endured between 1355 and 1559 the two most troubled centuries in its history: a long period of economic and demographic decline, of social conflict, and of increasing. instability and tension in political life. Florence was the biggest enemy of Siena: war with Florence was inevitable and the struggle lasted until 1555, when Siena was conquered by the Florentines, losing its autonomy, reconquered until unification with Italy.
Siena is one of the best-preserved medieval Italian cities, it is located in the Central Italy and it is easily reachable from every part of Europe and Italy. It borders Arezzo, Grosseto, Umbria, Florence and Pisa.
Siena and its environs are various, and rich of places to visit: the Crete Senesi, an area that consists of a range of hills and woods among villages in the North-East part of Siena; Montalcino and Montepulciano, famous for its wine and its beautiful territory, Elsa’s Valley, San Gimignano, San Quirico d’Orcia and many others beautiful places to visit.
From a touristical point of view Siena offers thermal springs, places to visit by bike, by an ancient train, by feet.
The historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.
Siena’s Palio has secular origins: the first Palio take place in 1644.
Every year on July 2 and August 16, the medieval city of Siena comes alive for one of the world's most known festivals, known around the world as a unique horse race.
The backbone of Palio are Siena's 17 contrade, a district into which the town is divided, that in the past had an administrative role: today contrada has lost its administrative function and become an area held together by its residents' common devotions.
During your holidays take a break and visit Siena, her churches and museums.
Here are some of the most famous monuments to see.
The heart of Siena is the Public Piazza Del Campo, a semicircular public square: its shapes, that remembers that of a shell, the nine gibes that go up to aureole from the inferior part of the public square symbolize the Council of that Nine Good Men who governed the city from 1287 to 1335, period in which Siena grew with prosperity.
Situated in the highest point of the city, the dome of Saint Maria is one of the most reliable examples of the Italian Romanesque-gothic architecture; remarkable is the christening font, a work of Jacopo Della Quercia, decorated with statues and bronze bas-relief. Among the works to emphasize for their artistic value as symbols of Italian gothic sculpture, are to be mentioned the marble Pulpit by Nicholas Pisano and its students and the rinascimental Piccolomini bookcase enriched by worth frescoes of Pinturicchio.
Inside of the Pinacoteca Nazionale it is possible to admire an important collection of senese painting works of great masters such as Duccio di Buoninsegna, Ambrogio and Peter Lorenzetti, Sassetta, Sodoma and Beccafumi, from the XIII to XVII century.
Saint Maria of the Scale is an immense complex served as a hospital for many years.
and it was in fact the oldest hospital in Europe.
After the exhaustion of the sanitary functions, is progressively opening new spaces to the public. The building also houses the Museo Archeologico which exposes a remarkable archaeological complexes, archaeological finds of preistorica, Etruscan and Roman age, testifying the evolution of the civilization in this territory.
Founded by the cardinal Francisco Piccolomini, the construction of the Library was begun in 1492 for house the extensive collection of books belonging to his uncle, Enea Silvio Piccolomini. In the Piccolomini Library, Pinturicchio executed the entire decoration, with wonderful frescoes.
Siena typical food
Taste the perfumes and flavours of the Italian touch of the typical local dishes in Siena countryside where you can find genuine foods and fresh Tuscan products. Siena’s dishes are the same of the classical Tuscan food: one of the biggest difference is a higher use of garlic and aromatic herbs like pepper and tarragon.
Some typical dishes are: the lentil pheasant soup, the bean soup, the frog soup, crostini with game meats, and many others dishes You can taste in Siena’s restaurants.
Siena is famous for its cheese: Pienza cheese, pecorino cheese, Marzolino cheese.
Other local products are olive oil and the famous wines of Siena’s land.
By plane: the closest airports are Pisa and Florence airports, that serve national and international airlines, reachable from the main European towns or through connections with domestic flights from Rome and Milan airports.
By train: Siena’s train station is 2 km far from the center of the town. If you arrive from North, there are many trains leaving from Santa Maria Novella station (in Florence). If you arrive from south there is a direct link from Siena and Grosseto.
For more informations visit the website of Ferrovie dello Stato.
By car: Siena is easily reachable from the main Italian motorway, A1.
Coming from North Italy, leave the A1 motorway at Florence Certosa station and proceed in the other motorway Florence-Siena.
Coming from South Italy, leave the A1 motorway at Val di Chiana station and continue for Bettolle-Siena link road.