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Siena Italy Vacation Travel

More About Siena Italy - Editor's Tips - Weather Maps & Dining

When to go?
July 2nd and August 16th, and the three days preceding each date, are either the best dates to visit Sienna, or the worst, depending on your perspective. On these days, Sienna hosts a colorful spectacle, the Palio di Siena. Street pageantry builds throughout the week in anticipation of a quirky horse race in the historic town center, Piazza del Campo. If you are lucky enough to get a room and you do not mind crowds, it is absolutely not to be missed. If your idea of a good time is a quiet morning cappuccino at a street side cafe;, then you are better off visiting Sienna in the Spring or Fall, when the weather is usually great and there is a little more breathing room on the streets.

Where to stay?
Ideally, find a hotel in the medieval town center within your budget. Cars are prohibited within the town center, so once you get settled, you can experience Sienna the old fashioned way. A great alternative is to stay at a nearby farm or vineyard estate that accommodates tourists in what has become to be known as agritourism.

What to do?
The Palio di Sienna, held each year on in the Piazza del Campo on July 2nd and August 16th, is the feature event in Sienna, if not in all of Tuscany. On the remaining 363 days of the year, you can (and should) simply enjoy a cafe; on the Piazza del Campo, which is often described as the most beautiful piazza in all of Italy. If it is your first visit, and you have a strong heart and lungs, climb the 503 steps to the top of Torre del Mangia for a magnificent view of Sienna and the Tuscan countryside. The classic take home gift is Panforte, a locally produced dense cake; but for something a little different, take a day trip to a local winery, then sample and buy Vin Santo, a fine and rare commodity outside of Tuscany.


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