Siena, city famous for its Palio (July 2 and August 16), but also recognized World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO for its exceptional artistic heritage. The medieval town is located in the center-south of Tuscany at 75kms from Florence. Much more intimate than this one, the visits of the monuments being made on foot and separated by short distance, it is nevertheless a city rich in art and in gastronomy. It is easy to find accommodation within walking distance of the attractions, thus benefiting from the incomparable atmosphere that prevails in the evening! Our choice of accommodation ended on the magnificent Palazzo Ravizza located on the outskirts of the historic center, actually within walking distance of the city's attractions. In addition to offering rooms with views of the Tuscan countryside, you can enjoy breakfast in the garden and even free parking.
Accomodation: Palazzo Ravizza, 34 Pian dei Mantellini, reservation on www.palazzoravizza.com
A visit to Siena imperatively involves the Duomo di Siena, a Gothic building erected between 1214 and 1263. Made of white marble blocks, then black and green stripes that represent the colors of the city, it is an exceptional monument. It is possible to obtain a ticket Opa si Pass which visits all the museums of the monument on the website www.operaduomo.siena.it. Do not miss the Piccolomini Library on the left, in the center of the cathedral. There are sublime frescoes and impressive volumes. Another work not to be missed is the parquet floor of the cathedral, an incredible set of different marble mosaics.
Piazza Del Campo is another must. Central square of Siena, it is unique in its curved shape and inclined towards the center. This is where the famous horse race that opposes the 17 "Contrades" (neighborhoods) of the city, the Corsa Del Palio, takes place twice a year. Each of the Contrades has its own church, stable and banners. It is also the site of the Palazzo Pubblico and its tower.
It is very pleasant to stroll through the historic center and get lost in the winding streets filled with shops and cafes. In addition, Siena being in the heart of Tuscany, several interesting excursions are nearby. Limited by time, we chose to go to Gaiole di Chianti to visit the Castello di Brolio, Montalcino for the Castello Banfi, then to Bagno Vignoni and San Quirico d'Orcia. First of all, the Castello di Brolio represents the symbol of the territory of the Chianti Classico. In addition to the wine that is remarkable, the history of the Ricasoli family linked to viticulture since 1141 is incredible. They have a museum that deserves a visit, as well as a very good restaurant on site, L'Osteria del Castello. It is best to book the tour in advance on www.ricasoli.com.
Montalcino is known for the typical red wines of the region, Brunello di Montalcino. Thus, the Castello Banfi is located in a beautiful vineyard where there are also olives trees. There is a shop, a tasting room and two restaurants onsite.
Bagno Vignoni is in the valley of Val d'Orcia where you can find the typical postcard landscapes of Tuscany. This small village is different from the others because its main square is a large hot spring pool surrounded by small shops and cafes ... charming!
San Quirico d'Orcia was an important small village in medieval times, as it was located on the pilgrimage route linking northern Europe to Rome, the Via Francigena. It is in this beautiful fortified village that we enjoyed the best gelato of the trip ... another good reason to visit!
Foodie top picks:
Gaiole di Chianti:
San Quirico d'Orcia:
Until Next Time, Happy Travel!
January 17, 2020