Piazza del Campo

Siena, a sustainable city

Siena is one of the most enchanting cities in Tuscany and is famous for its historical, artistic and cultural heritage. Through a series of policies and initiatives, the city has distinguished itself by enhancing its cultural and environmental heritage, along with protecting the city’s collective assets. It is by winning an esteemed award that the city’s great commitment and dedication to achieving certain standards has been enshrined. 

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council: what is it?

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is a global organisation founded in 2007 with the aim of determining global standards for sustainable tourism. The GSTC aims to promote, develop and support sustainable tourism worldwide, through collaboration with all those involved in the tourism sector, including governments, non-governmental organisations, private sector companies and local communities. The global council has developed a set ofguidelines, criteria and indicators for sustainable tourism that help and guide tourist locations on how to improve their environmental, cultural and socio-economic sustainability.


It is an important point of reference for anyone who wants to assess sustainability in a tourism company, an association or, more generally, a tourist location. The organisation has created a series of universal criteria of sustainability for tourism, covering four areas: environmental management, social responsibility, economic management and local culture. Tour operators can use these criteria to assess and improve their sustainability, and to obtain GSTC certification. 


The certification process is rigorous and requires achieving a set of minimum scores in each assessment area. Tour operators who reach these minimums receive GSTC certification, which confirms their commitment to sustainable development and makes them known in the global marketplace. The city of Siena managed to achieve these important criteria: but how did it do it?

The awarding of the prestigious prize

Among the most sustainable cities in Italy, Siena holds a special place: although it has always been famous for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed medieval city centre and the breathtaking panorama of the surrounding Tuscan countryside, it has recently been certified with a prestigious international award. On 7 March (2023), in fact, the city was the recipient of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) award, which is a highly coveted recognition in the world of eco-sustainable and responsible tourism. 

This certificate was awarded to Siena because of its constant focus onpreserving the city’s cultural and natural heritage and its commitment to reducing the environmental impact caused by tourism.

The certifying body recognised that there was certain evidence of sustainability in Siena and the ability to combine art, history, nature and culture in a sustainable and responsible manner. The city has been able to promote tourism in a conscious manner, respecting the environment and keeping local traditions alive. Siena has demonstrated innovative solutions for the management and promotion of tourism, including the creation of responsible tourism programmes, the promotion of local businesses and the encouragement of walking and cycling tourism.

The award attested to Siena’s commitment toeco-sustainable tourism, but also highlighted the city as a model of excellence for other cities, making an important contribution to the promotion of eco-tourism globally. This recognition represents a great opportunity to make the city’s beauty and valuable natural and cultural resources even better known, but also to share good practices with other places wishing to take the same eco-friendly path.

This certificate represents a strong boost for the city of Siena and the entire Tuscan territory, which will reap great benefits in terms of visibility and tourist attraction. Thanks to its strong cultural identity and sensitivity to the environment, it has succeeded in establishing itself as a virtuous example of a sustainable city and of eco-responsible tourism, outperforming the competition of many other international destinations. This victory marks a new beginning for Siena, a new recognition for its ongoing commitment and efforts to achieve sustainable development.

It is well worth the trip for a memorable and, what’s more, environmentally friendly experience!

I Comuni di Terre di Siena