Hotels and vibrant wine bars in Siena for around £100 per night
There’s a lot more to Siena than the Palio, the world-famous horse race that takes place every summer here.
Despite the fact that it is sometimes overshadowed by its neighbor and historical adversary, Florence, this Tuscan city is a Gothic treasure. Galleries are brimming with opulent gilded artworks. There are historic palaces, fashionable stores, and superb wines to be found here.
The Campo, a piazza in the form of a shell in the middle of the city, is the most spectacular of them.
This hotel on the fringes of the city’s northern outskirts is a wonderful option for families since it has two swimming pools (one for children), a tennis court, a restaurant, and lush grounds. The villa’s 18th-century rooms have the greatest charm, but all of the rooms are clean and pleasant as well. It takes 15 minutes to get to the city center by bus.
This friendly hotel, located just outside the city walls, near the towering Porta Romana, is well-deserving of its devoted clientele. Rooms are designed in a simple Tuscan style, yet they are well-kept and immaculately cleaned.
It is roughly a 15-minute walk from the Campo and has parking available. Breakfast is served in the garden throughout the warmer months.
When you want to get away from it all, this old palace in the Contrada della Pantera is a great choice. Traditional features like as beamed ceilings, antiques, and prints provide a sense of timelessness, while the bedrooms are trendy and pleasant. It features its own parking lot, which is unusual for a city center hotel, as well as a calm garden, which is also unusual. The cheapest apartments have a view of the street; the most beautiful have a view of the garden and Tuscan hills.
Simple rooms, tiled flooring, and dark, wooden furnishings characterize this family-run pensione in the countryside. Located in the heart of the city, only a five-minute walk from the Campo, it has a panoramic terrace from where you can have breakfast or take in the views of the surrounding rooftops. Some rooms offer en suite bathrooms, however the cheapest accommodations share a bathroom with other guests.
It is a popular site for aperitifs and offers a broad range of Tuscan wines, many of which are available by the glass (from €5/£4.50) and available by the bottle (from €5/£4.50). Dinners with Chianina beef might be pricey, but platters of exquisite handmade pasta or salads can be had for a reasonable cost.
In this pleasantly chaotic osteria, which is humorously dubbed ‘the skyscraper’ since it is located under an archway near Piazza Salimbeni, there is no menu. Cold meats, olives, and cheese will be served first, followed by pasta — possibly pici (thick spaghetti) with ragu (sauce). Lunchtime is a good time to mingle with the locals. It is located on the Via dei Pontani, and two dishes with wine will cost you around £10 to £14.
Key Largo is a small island off the coast of Florida.
At first glance, this little cafe/bar on Via Rinaldini seems to be no different from the others in the neighborhood. For those who stop in for an espresso and croissant (around £3.50), you’ll learn the establishment’s secret: a little balcony with spectacular views of the Campo.
La Chiacchera is a kind of chiacchera.
On a steep slope near the old residence of Catherine of Siena, who is the city’s patron saint, this restaurant serves robust Tuscan fare in a comfortable setting. Enjoy hearty ribollita (a thick soup made with bread, beans, and vegetables) or wild boar ragu with tagliatelle (around £6 for a main dish, depending on how much you want to spend on it) on one of the somewhat shaky chairs outdoors.
The cathedral in Siena is an awe-inspiring combination of stripes, paintings, and carvings that are so complex that John Ruskin dubbed it ‘absurd.’ The floor, or pavimento, is comprised of 56 marble slabs with inlaid and graffito designs. They have been in existence for more than 200 years and portray mythical and religious subjects. For a few weeks each year, they are opened to the public (admission €15/£13; operaduomo.siena.it).
Pay a visit to the pilgrims’ encampment
If you believe the museum Santa Maria della Scala (admission costs €9/£8, or a combo ticket with Museo Civico costs €14/£12.50, santamariadellascala.com), you’ll be surprised to learn that it was once a functioning hospital. The Sala del Pellegrinaio — a former ward filled with 15th-century murals depicting scenes from everyday life, including one depicting physicians meticulously inspecting a urine sample — is the main attraction here.
The grandiose Palazzo Pubblico, which was constructed in the 13th century as the seat of the Sienese rulers, was meant to impress visitors.
Not to be missed is the Sala dei Nove, where allegorical representations of good governance (happy inhabitants, lush land) and bad government (angry residents, barren land) may be found (ruins and robbers). If you want to see the palace’s 335-foot bell tower, you may climb its 388 steps to the top of the Torre del Mangia (tower and museum €15/£14, or €20/£18 if you go with Santa Maria della Scala, both €15/£14).