On a holiday to Italy, if you choose to stay in Florence as a base, the rest of Tuscany is virtually laid out on your doorstep. There’s so much to discover in this wonderful region that sometimes it’s hard to fit it all in if you only have a short time. Getting out into the countryside with a Tuscany tour from Florence is the solution – although one will never be enough! |
One of the most popular choices for a Tuscany tour from Florence is a visit to the stunning hilltop city of Siena. Its small, compact historical centre is packed to the brim with museums, monuments and spectacular Gothic architecture. It’s such a cultural and historical gem that it’s often referred to as an ‘open-air museum’ in itself and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When you visit Siena on a Tuscany tour from Florence, you’ll have plenty of time to not only explore the iconic highlights for which it’s so famous, but to also spend some time just wandering the charming cobbled streets and soaking up the storied ambience.
Here are some of the highlights not to be missed.
Piazza del Campo
The Piazza del Campo is the heart of Medieval Siena in every sense and is one of the biggest squares of its kind in the world. Its distinctive shell-like shape makes it instantly recognisable and, as well as being the centre of local life since 1300, it’s the setting for the famous bi-annual Palio horse race. It’s a popular meeting place for locals and tourists and a wonderful place to sit in one of the many cafes and restaurants that line the edges and people-watch. Its centrepiece (although not in the centre) is the beautiful Fonte Gaia, which, although a replica of the original that stood here, is an impressive sculpture.
Torre del Mangia
If you’re looking for the Torre del Mangia, look up! The 88-metre tower is situated right in the Piazza and, if you’re game and have the energy to ascend the narrow stairwell, offers the most spectacular views over the entire city and out over the rolling hills beyond. The 400 steps are well worth it for the absolutely unforgettable experience.
The Duomo (Santa Maria Assunta)
The Duomo, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, has a striking dark green and dazzling white marble façade (which was designed to reflect the colours of the city) and the interiors are every bit as impressive as the exterior. It’s hard to know where to look when you enter, with its incredibly ornate floors, frescos and other works by renowned artists including Michelangelo, Donatello, and Pinturicchio and a pulpit by Nicola Pisano. Don’t rush this one, as it’s deserving of much more than a passing glance.
Visit Siena on a Tuscany Tour from Florence
A visit to Siena is the perfect Tuscany tour from Florence, with the cities being just over an hour away from each other by road. It means that you’ll have a leisurely journey and then plenty of time to explore not only these highlights above (and many more), but also to spend time in some of the lesser-known nooks and crannies to discover the authentic local life of this wonderful Medieval city.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including great itineraries for a Tuscany tour from Florence. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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