15 Fun Things to Do in Siena, Italy

Siena is a picturesque little Tuscan town and before I left on my gap year, everyone I told we planned on spending a few weeks in Italy said I simply had to go visit Tuscany. We spent a few days in Florence before taking the short trip south to Siena. With all the things to do in Siena, Italy, was it worth a visit? Yes, absolutely.

Best known for it’s UNESCO listed walled town centre, Siena is the perfect location to get away from the hustle and bustle. It has a nice combination of food, wine, museums and scenery. Here are some ideas for things to see in Siena during your visit.

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Enjoy Coffee (or Wine) in the Piazza del Campo

Piazza del Campo with the Fonte Gaia

The Piazza del Campo is the main public space in the town and a visit is a must do in Siena during your visit. In fact, it is so central to the town, it would almost be impossible to avoid it. It is bordered on one side by the Palazzo Pubblico and the other sides contain restaurants, cafes, bars, or a combination of all at once!

During the day the umbrellas come out creating a perfect undercover location for that morning coffee. Just sit here and while away some of the day people watching, which makes this the best free thing to do in Siena.

If coffee is not your preference, you can enjoy a meal, or later in the day, a glass of wine while enjoying the atmosphere.

The Piazza del Campo is also the location of the traditional Palio horse race that takes place in Siena twice a year on 2nd July and 16th August.


Visit the Duoma di Siena

Duoma di Siena. The black and white is Siena’s traditional colours.

The Duoma di Siena, or Siena Cathedral, is a beautiful, mostly white 13th century medieval cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and one of the most popular Siena attractions. The stunning facade gives way to an impressive interior.

Included in the entry ticket is a visit to the Piccolomini Library, a stunning room containing beautiful frescoes. The frescoes tell the story of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, a Bishop of Siena in the fifteenth century, who later became Pope Pius II. The builder was his nephew, who then also went on the become Pope Pius III.

Unlike many churches in Italy, there is a €4 entry fee to go inside, but this is included with some of the many ticket bundles that are available. Note that modest dress is required to enter.

Click through here to purchase a Skip-the-Line ticket to the Duomo which also includes the Bapistry, Crypt, Libreria Piccolomini, Museo dell’Opera and Facciatone.


Visit the Basilica of San Domenico

Like all good Italian towns, there is more than one impressive church in Siena. Right up on the hilltop is the Basilica of San Domenico, also dating from the 13th Century. Originally a gothic building, fires, earthquakes and general renovations have left it a strange mish-mash of styles.

This church is where many of the relics of Saint Catherine of Siena can be found, including a huge painting of her on one wall. Nearby you can also visit her house, the Santuario di Santa Caterina.


Take a Siena Photo Tour

If you are visiting Siena for a special occasion such as your honeymoon, birthday or anniversary, why not immortalise the visit by taking a photo tour through the streets with a professional photographer. They will ensure you get the best Siena views and hidden corners to allow you to capture some amazing shots to dress up either your walls at home of your Instagram feed.

Click through here to see more details of the tour and availability on your dates.

Search the Streets for the Seventeen Animals of the Contrade

Siena Attractions
Flags of one of the seventeen Contrade

One of the best free things to do in Siena is to hunt down the flags of the Contrade. Historically Siena is divided into seventeen Contrade, or districts. Each has it’s own flag and symbol. These are visible in many hidden and not-so-hidden places as you wander throughout the city. How many Siena Contrada flags can you spot while checking out the Siena sights?


Walk the City Walls

What to do in Siena
One of the gates in the walls of Siena

It is possible to walk all the way around the city following the ancient city walls. If you have a few hours, then walk the whole loop, but if you don’t have the time, walk a section.  It is also possible to get up on top of the walls for a scenic view at Fortezza Medicea

Football Lovers can Watch Siena Play

Right in the centre of Siena is the football stadium that is the home to the Siena football club. If there is a game on and you need to get your fix while you are here, join the locals cheering them on.


Visit the Fontabranda

Siena Fontebranda
The three arches of the Fontebranda

The Fontabranda is a medieval fountain made by Jacopo della Quercia that would have been used for not only the town’s water supply, but to bathe in too! It is famous for being mentioned in Dante’s classic book “Inferno”. Now it is filled with stunningly clear water and some big fish. It is said to still be safe to drink from, but we didn’t test it.


Take a Cooking Class

The region of Tuscany is famous for it’s food and wine, and your visit to Siena is the perfect opportunity to learn to cook some of the local food just the way Grandma does. Take a class in a professional setting with a chef to guide you along the way, or do a market visit and private learn to cook class with a local Cesarina in their own home.

Hunt for a Bargain in the Markets

Siena things to do
Markets below the walls of the city.

Every Wednesday markets are set up around the Fortezza Medicea area. There is a huge variety ranging from clothing and accessories, shoes, household goods, and food. The best time to visit is in the morning, but it can get quite busy, with both locals and visitors all searching for bargains.


Eat Gelato

Siena gelato shop
Some of the range at La Vecchia Latteria

Eating gelato should be something to do in every Italian town! We found a great place in Siena behind the Duomo that is worth a visit. La Vecchia Latteria had a line out the door so we figured it must be good. Prices were on the lower end of the scale, with 2 scoops in a cup costing us €2. I chose my favourite stracciatella (chocolate chip) and a new one, nicciola, which turned out to be hazelnut. Both were extremely smooth, and possibly the best I have tried in Italy so far!


Visit a Museum

The Palazzo Pubblico houses three museums

There are quite a few museums to choose from when you are looking for what to do in Siena. The Museo Civico (or Civic Museum) is one of three housed in the Palazzo Pubblico and is a showcase for local Siena artworks. It is particularly well known for its frescos including the “Bad and the Good Government” by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. It is also possible while here to climb the steps up the Torre del Mangia to get a stunning view of the surrounding countryside.

Another option is the Santa Maria della Scala which is housed in an old hospital building originally treating pilgrims and the poor.

There are many different combinations of tickets that can be bought if you wish to see more than one museum, so keep this in mind when considering where to go. One option is the OPA SI Pass, but there are other combinations on sale at the ticket offices.


Do a Wine Tour

Imagine wine tasting with these views

Tuscany is so well known for it’s food and wine that you cannot leave the region without doing at least one of the day trips from Siena to visit the vineyards and taste some of the local Italian wine. There are many options, from tours to certain areas, combinations with food, combinations with local historical sights, private or with a group, half day, full day – even a one hour Italian wine experience in Siena itself if you are short on time.

Click through to book one of the many options available here

Explore the Region on Horseback

Siena is famous for its horse race, so why not immerse yourself in the culture and take a ride yourself? It can be a simple guided ride through the countryside, or you can combine two of the fabulous Siena activities and do a longer ride that includes some wine tasting too.

Do a Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Tuscan Countryside

Float over the Tuscan Hills

I love hot air balloons, and wish this was available during my visit. Alas, I only found it afterwards, but what a way to see the rolling hills, castles and cute little villages! Imagine floating silently through the crisp air while marvelling at the scene unfolding below you. Truely a bucket list experience.

Click through to book your hot air balloon experience here

Only time for a Day Trip to Siena from Florence?

Since Siena is located only about an hour and a half from Florence, there are plenty of tours that leave from there and visit Siena. Here are a few suggestions

Looking for accomodation in Siena?

Now that you know what to do in Siena, where are you going to stay?

The view from our window

We stayed at Casa di Osio. This B&B is only a few minutes walk from the Piazza del Campo on the main street. If you are lucky enough to get the back room like we were, you will have fantastic views over Siena to the rolling hills beyond.

Click here to see reviews on other hotels and properties that are available for your dates on Booking.com

For more ideas in other locations in Tuscany, click through to see my other posts:
Travel Diaries – Tuscany
One Day in Pisa
Things to do in Lucca, Italy

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26 thoughts on “15 Fun Things to Do in Siena, Italy”

  1. Awww man, the pic of that ice-cream brings me right back to Florence last year! Italian ice-cream is UNREAL!

  2. ?? Siena looks Lovely. Great view from your bedroom window. Would love to spend some time in Tuscany … buy an old farm house and live happily ever after eating Gelato, “Under the Tuscan Sun”.

    • Thanks! Italy is definitely amazing for the architecture, and Siena has it’s fair share to check out!

    • Hahaha, yes, I have the same shot a few times over in different locations! I just says “I’m on holidays” doesn’t it?

  3. I loved Tuscany. I went there last November. Not the best time to travel to the area, but still some beautiful colors left on the trees. I only stayed one night in Sienna, but I loved it. It’s one of those stops you just have to do in Italy.

    • It’s a lovely place to spend a few days, and not too far from many other well known towns, such as Florence and Pisa.

  4. Siena looks amazing, can’t believe I haven’t been there yet, even after visiting close by several times. Love the architecture on your pictures, so definitely another Italian city for my bucketlist:)

    • We were there at the end of May, so got in just before all the crowds hit for the summer. I’m sure it would be crazy a month or two later.

  5. Love your photos, Siena looks like such a lovely city! I went to Italy a few years ago but definitely didn’t spend enough time there, hopefully I’ll get to revisit some time soon!

  6. My husband and I are traveling Italy over the next two weeks and will be in Siena for 3 days. Although we have a wine tasting, walking tour and dinner that night and a cooking class for the next day, we are interested in, but cannot find online, anything about the night life in Siena. Can you help? Thanks so much.

    • Hmm, good question! We were mostly exhausted after our long days so didn’t have long nights out, but we did visit a bar one night overlooking the Piazza del Campo. We only stayed for a couple of drinks while enoying the view over the square. I didn’t notice any nightclubs or any information about them, but that’s not really my scene so I may not have noticed. I would suggest going into one of the bars on your first day and asking the locals – they will be able to tell you the best places to go!

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