What to see in Siena in 2 days

Siena is a historical and cultural city located in the heart of Tuscany. Famous for its medieval architecture, narrow alleys and magnificent squares, it is one of the most visited cities in Italy. Renowned for its artistic heritage, for events, such as the Palio di Siena that has made it famous throughout the world, and for its typical cuisine, it is a destination not to be missed for anyone wishing to discover Tuscany and its history.  If you are planning a trip to visit this beautiful city, here are some tips on what to see in Siena in two days. 

Visit Siena in two days

If you are taking a trip to discover Tuscany, Siena is definitely one of the must-see stops. Rich in history and tradition, it is a true jewel of medieval architecture, sure to enchant all visitors. In just two days, it is possible both to visit the numerous monuments and buildings that make up the magnificent historical centre and to take an excursion into the suggestive Sienese hills and the numerous historical villages that surround the city. 

To treat yourself to an all-round experience, be sure to sample the traditional cuisine of Siena, which includes dishes such as ribollita, pappardelle with wild boar sauce, pici and schiacciata senese. Here, then, is a brief guide that provides itineraries for visiting Siena in two days so as not to miss out on the beauty this city has to offer. 

Itinerary Day 1 

On the first day of this itinerary you start by visiting the historic city centre, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. In fact, it includes some of the most evocative places to spend time such as, for example, Piazza del Campo; Siena’s most famous square, known to all for the Palio di Siena and its characteristic shell shape, represents the beating heart of the city. 

From the first millennium, Piazza del Campo became a vital centre of commerce, strategically positioned between the roads that connected Siena to Florence and Rome. However, it was during the Rule of the Nine in 1200 that this area actually became a square, with the addition of a pavement and the construction of the Palazzo Pubblico, the city’s political hub.

After a short lunch break in one of the characteristic taverns in the centre, we head to the Museo Civico, located inside the Palazzo Pubblico, a must-see place for lovers of medieval art history and for anyone curious to learn more about the city of Siena. Here, we can admire a treasure trove of works of great historical and artistic importance, including Lorenzetti’s Allegory of the Effects of Good and Bad Government, a cycle of frescoes painted between 1338 and 1339 to celebrate the Rule of the Nine. Other notable works are also displayed here, such as Simone Martini’s Maestà, as well as Sienese paintings and sculptures from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Also inside the Palazzo Pubblico, you can access the Torre del Mangia, an imposing 88-metre-high structure that towers over the beautiful Piazza del Campo. This tower is open to those visitors hardy enough to tackle 400 steps in order to be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Siena.

As a last stop on your first day in Siena, try wandering through the magnificent complex of Santa Maria della Scala, a veritable labyrinth of buildings, each with a unique story to tell. This architectural complexity reflects the multiple roles the site has played over the centuries; in fact, Santa Maria della Scala was the city’s first hospital, but also one of the first shelters for pilgrims in Europe. 

Today, the complex still retains some traces of this interesting past and often hosts exhibitions and events; there is also a Children’s Art Museum  with thematic and interactive tours for youngsters.

Itinerary Day 2

The first thing to see on the second day of the visit is undoubtedly the Gothic complex of the Duomo di Siena, one of the must-see sights in the city. Apart from its imposing size and ornate façade, the interior of the cathedral is a veritable treasure. Works to be admired include Nicola Pisano’s pulpit, sculptures by Donatello and Michelangelo, and much more. But it is only when you climb to the top of the cathedral and admire the view from the ‘Gate of Heaven‘ that the Duomo fully reveals its grandeur, offering a unique view of the city of Siena.

Having concluded their exploration of Siena Cathedral, lovers of medieval history cannot miss the National Picture Gallery. Here you can find works by the most important Sienese painters, from Simone Martini to Sassetta, from Duccio di Buoninsegna to Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. At the end of the tour, you can treat yourself to local delicacies by sampling the wares at the many local inns and trattorias.

Just a ten-minute walk from Piazza del Campo is the Church of San Domenico, one of the oldest churches in Siena. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that it houses the head-relic of St Catherine, who donned the tunic of the Mantellate Sisters in this very church. The Saint’s relic is kept inside a marble altar by Giovanni di Stefano, inside the chapel of St Catherine, where you can also admire the frescoes by Sodoma and Francesco Vanni. 

Abd for a relaxing end to the day, you can take a stroll through the streets of the historic centre to browse the city’s most characteristic shops. To spend your last few hours in the open air, a few steps from the historic centre you can also visit the Orto de Pecci, a small corner of greenery located in the heart of Siena, whose history is unknown even to most of the city’s inhabitants. 

The name, in fact, derives from the activities carried out by the patients of the old psychiatric hospital in Siena, who came here to grow fruit and vegetables. Today, this green space is ideal for those who want to spend a few hours relaxing in the sun, but also for families looking for an outdoor space where their children can play. 

To conclude the second day, you can go to another place of interest, the Fortezza Medicea, one of the best places to enjoy a 360° view of the city. In fact, by climbing the walls and ramparts that surround it, it is possible to walk around and observe the city of Siena in all its beauty.

One more day to visit Siena

Siena is a city of extraordinary beauty and charm, rich in history and tradition. Spending an extra day there makes it is possible to fully admire its artistic and architectural heritage. You can discover the city’s hidden corners, immersing yourself in its thousand-year-old history and in the culinary and popular traditions that make it unique. So, let’s find out how to visit Siena in 3 days.

I Comuni di Terre di Siena