If you are planning a day trip from Florence and wondering what are the best things to do in one day in Siena, you’ve come to the right place. Spending one day in Siena is good enough time to see the city’s top attractions, explore the beautiful, medieval alleys, and marvel at the old red-brown brick houses.
In this travel guide, I’ll be answering all your questions about visiting Sienna in one day, so you can plan the best day trip for yourself to one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.
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Is Siena Italy in the Tuscany region?
Yes, Siena is a city in central Italy’s Tuscany region. Siena is located in the central part of Tuscany between the Arbia river valley, the Merse valley, the Elsa valley, the Chianti hills, the Montagnola Senese, and the Crete Senesi.
From Siena or Florence (Tuscany’s capital), you can easily explore the rest of the Tuscany region.
What is Siena Italy known for?
Siena Italy is best known for its Medieval brick buildings, cuisine, and Tuscany wines, as well as for the Palio, a horse race held twice a year in the main square, Piazza del Campo.
Is Siena Italy worth visiting?
Siena is definitely worth the day trip from Florence. Ask anyone who has traveled through Tuscany and perhaps everyone would tell you that Siena is their favorite city in the region. With its captivating architecture, beautiful squares, and surrounding hilly landscape, everyone is doomed to fall in love with Siena. The city is also yet another city in Italy known for the combination of nature and history at its core.
Is it better to stay in Florence or Siena?
It depends on your interests; if you enjoy art and have a particular interest in Renaissance, then you should definitely stay in Florence. If you’re more of a medieval architecture fan then you’ll enjoy staying in Siena. Siena is a smaller and lesser-visited city, so you can expect it to be quieter and marginally cheaper. There are also fewer accommodation options. Florence, on the other hand, has more sights to see than Siena, more accommodation and restaurant options, as well as it is better connected to other parts of Italy.
How much does it cost to visit Siena Italy?
For one day in Siena, you should budget at least around 50 EUR. Of course, it is possible to explore Siena for less if you don’t eat in a restaurant and visit only the free attractions. If you, however, plan to visit its most famous attractions, then you should budget around 30 EUR and more just for entry fees.
When is the best time to visit Siena Italy?
Siena is a year-round destination. Weather-wise, the best time to visit Siena and the Tuscany region is in spring to early summer between April and June and in the fall, in late September and the month of October. I would avoid visiting during peak holiday seasons.
I visited Siena on a day trip from Florence at the beginning of November and it was a really good and beautiful time of the year to explore the city.
Does Siena Italy have an airport?
You can fly to any of these airports and then drive to Siena, or take a train/bus.
How to get around Siena Italy?
Exploring Siena is best done on foot. It is a small city and tourist attractions and places of interest are located in one area, so you can easily walk all of Siena in one day.
How to spend one day in Siena Italy on a day trip from Florence?
Spending one day in Siena on a day trip from Florence is one of the best and easiest ways to explore this beautiful Tuscany city. Siena is very compact with just a few big sites, so you can easily cover everything – Piazza del Campo, the Duomo, Torre del Mangia, and more.
Read a full breakdown of things to do in one day in Siena below.
How to get from Florence to Siena?
The best way to get from Florence to Siena is by taking the train. There are no high-speed trains on this route, so the journey takes around 90 minutes, though some lines require a change, extending the trip to 2 hours. There are many trains throughout the day and a one-way ticket starts at 10 EUR.
Trains depart from Firenze Santa Maria Novella and arrive at the Stazione de Siena. Have in mind that Siena’s train station is located outside the city walls, so from there you have to walk about 20 minutes to reach the historic center of Siena.
Things to do in one day in Siena:
Start your one day Siena itinerary with a coffee
When my brother and I were planning our one day Siena itinerary, we decided that we’d wake up early in the morning, get the train, and have coffee and breakfast when we arrive in Siena. That was the best decision that we took on this trip as we found the best coffee and breakfast spot in Siena.
On the way to the historic center of Siena from the train station, there are dozens of coffee shops, but when we were passing many of them weren’t yet open. So, we finally made it into the Old Town checked a couple of places which we decided that we don’t want to sit at, and then we found Torrefazione Fiorella. I promise you, this place has the best coffee and the best pistachio croissants.
And we weren’t the only ones who love this place. We chose it because there were plenty of local people waiting to get their morning espresso, which is always a good sign. So, even if you decide to have a coffee and breakfast in Florence before getting the train, do pass by here for an afternoon coffee and a snack. You can thank me later.
Enjoy Piazza del Campo, Siena’s top attraction
Located in the heart of the historic center, Piazza del Campo is THE place to visit in Siena. Built some time before the 13th century as a marketplace, Piazza del Campo is considered one of the most beautiful medieval squares in all of Europe. What makes the square so unique is the brick pavement and surrounding buildings, as well as the shell-shaped form of the piazza.
Other key sights of Siena are also located at the square, including Fonte Gaia, the largest fountain of the city. At Piazza del Campo, you’ll also find Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico.
Climb to the top of the Torre del Mangia
With its height of 87 meters, Torre del Mangia is the third tallest historic tower in Italy. It was built to be the exact same height as the Siena Cathedral to showcase that the Church and State possessed equal power in Siena, but it is actually taller (if you include the lightning rod, it is 102 meters high in total). The name Torre del Mangia literally translates to ”Tower of the Eater” and it’s named after Mangiaguadagni, the “profit-eater”, so-called because he was very liberal in the amount of money he would spend in the inns and taverns of Siena.
The bell tower of Torre del Mangia provides a panoramic view of Siena and Plazza del Campo. You can admire the view after climbing up the 400 steps leading to the top. The entry fee is 13 EUR, but you can a combined ticket which also includes a visit to the Civic Museum.
Admire the Duomo di Siena
When spending one day in Siena, one of the best things to do is to admire the beautiful Duomo. Built in 1245, the Dumo is one of the top attractions of Siena combining elements of French gothic, romanesque, and classical architecture. Take a walk around the cathedral to soak it all in, and then if you decide, you can get inside to see artworks of Michelangelo and Donatello.
Housed inside the Cathedral of Siena, the Piccolomini library impresses its visitors with its frescoes some of which represent some scenes of the life of Pope Pius II. which the library is dedicated to. It was built to preserve the right heritage of tomes that were housed in it, but nowadays all that remains are choral books.
Entry ticket is 20 EUR
Walk to Basilica di San Domenico
The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as Basilica Cateriniana, is one of the most important churches in Siena. You can enter it and check the frescoes for free, but in my opinion, there is nothing special about them or the church in general (maybe because I am generally not interested in such sights).
However, I really enjoyed the small, charming streets leading to the church, the view from there, as well as the small green area in front of the church.
Porta Camollia is one of the gateways to the medieval city that has been regularly used as a way to protect the city from danger. It is located on via Camollia and is the gate that you’re most likely to enter the historic center from. Although, there is nothing much to see or do around the gate, do spend a couple of minutes to pass through the three arches and get yourself some nice shots.
Wonder aimlessly the medieval center, one of the best things to do in Siena
The absolute best thing to do in one day in Siena is just wandering around its pretty, medieval streets. You’re sure to find plenty of small, beautiful piazzas, houses, fountains, arches, and views. Even if you’re interested in entering the museums, churches, etc., doing just that is worth the day trip to Siena.
My favorite: Relax in Orto de’ Pecci
To me, personally, the highlight of my one day trip to Siena was the Orto de’ Pecci garden. The Orto de’ Pecci is a little slice of countryside in the heart of Siena only a few hundred meters away from Piazza del Campo. In the past, it was used as a part of the Ospedale Psihiatrico (Psychiatric Hospital), and recovered patients would cultivate fruits and vegetables for the whole hospital, and have cared for the farmyard animals.
Nowadays, the Orto de’ Pecci garden is the perfect spot to take a break from sightseeing and just enjoy the greenery and the animals that are wandering freely around it. There is also a restaurant.
I hope that this article gave you a good overview of the best things to do in one day in Siena and how to plan your perfect trip to this beautiful medieval Italian town. If you have any additional questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section below, and don’t hesitate to contact me.