SIENA

Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900–400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina.
The Etruscans were a tribe of advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill forts. A Roman town called Saena Julia was founded at the site in the time of the Emperor Augustus. Some archaeologists assert that Siena was controlled for a period by a Gaulish tribe called the Senones.

Food & Wine Experience

When it comes to food and wine, no other region of Italy can match the multitude of offerings here.

With such variety and quality of products, this is the premiere region to go to for wine and food enthusiasts. In terms of wine, it hosts some of the most revered and renowned appellations including the celebrated Brunello di Montalcino, the noble red of Montepulciano, and the legendary Chianti Classico.

It is also home to some of the most precious vintages in the entire world, such as the illustrious ‘Super Tuscans’ of Ornellaia and Sassicaia from Bolgheri… a truly decadent experience for both aspiring wine connoisseurs and the most experienced oenophiles amongst us.
For epicurean delights, we encourage you to dig into the Tuscan culture with a visit to Mercato Centrale, the ‘central market’ of Florence, for samplings of the most delicious local, seasonal products with one of our expert gastronomists.

Tuscan cuisine lovers should not miss the opportunity to participate in an unforgettable cooking experience with us. We offer a wide range of tailored cookery classes – suitable for beginner to advanced cooks – taking place in luxury villas, private homes or a local agriturismo (a farm featuring local produce). Get to know the secrets of the Cucina Povera (literally translated as ‘the cooking of the poor’ or ‘peasant cooking’) – including some of the simplest yet most delicious cooking techniques in the world.

Outdoor Experiences

hen it comes to outdoor activities, Tuscany is the most ideal of Italian destinations. It’s legendary and varied landscapes offer travelers an incredible range of potential experiences. Let us enthrall you as we wander through the eternal hills of Chianti, trek through the Apuan Alps, or hike in the coastal Parks of Maremma and the unspoiled expanse of the Casentino forest.

At Poggio Baronti, we have tailored a number of diverse and exceptional activities directed at all ages and aspirations.

You can cycle in Val d’Orcia or Crete Senesi, enjoy leisurely walks in the Chianti countryside, enjoy a thrilling hot air balloon ride over the verdant Tuscan hills, participate in a truffle hunt in beautiful areas such as Crete Senesi and San Miniato, go horseback riding along coastal Maremma, book a boat trip to any number of beautiful islands in the Tuscan archipelago (including Giglio and Ciannutri and so, so much more.

The Siena Cathedral (Duomo), begun in the 12th century, is a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380.

The original plan called for an ambitiously massive basilica, the largest then in the world, with, as was customary, an east-west nave. However, the scarcity of funds, in part due to war and plague, truncated the project, and the Sienese created a subdued version from the original plan’s north-south transept. The east wall of the abandoned original folly of a nave still stands; through an internal staircase, visitors can climb for a grand view of the city.

The Siena Cathedral Pulpit is an octagonal 13th-century masterpiece sculpted by Nicola Pisano with lion pedestals and biblical bas-relief panels. The inlaid marble mosaic floor of the cathedral, designed and labored on by many artists, is among the most elaborate in Italy.

The Sacristy and Piccolomini library have well preserved Renaissance frescos by Ghirlandaio and Pinturicchio respectively. Other sculptors active in the church and in the subterranean baptistry are Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and others. The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo contains Duccio’s famous Maestà (1308–11) and various other works by Sienese masters. More Sienese paintings are to be found in the Pinacoteca, e.g. 13th-century works by Dietisalvi di Speme.

The Piazza del Campo, the shell-shaped town square, unfurls before the Palazzo Pubblico with its tall Torre del Mangia. This is part of the site for the Palio horse race. The Palazzo Pubblico, itself a great work of architecture, houses yet another important art museum. Included within the museum is Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s frescoes depicting the Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government and also some of the finest frescoes of Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti.

The Palazzo Salimbeni, located in a piazza of the same name, was the original headquarters and remains in possession of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of the oldest banks in continuous existence in Europe.

Housed in the notable Gothic Palazzo Chigi-Saracini on Via di Città is the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena’s conservatory of music.

Other churches in the city include:

The historic synagogue is also preserved and open to visitors.

The city’s gardens include the Orto Botanico dell’Università di Siena, a botanical garden maintained by the University of Siena.

The Medicean Fortress houses the Enoteca Italiana and the Siena Jazz School, with courses and concerts throughout the year, and a festival during the International Siena Jazz Masterclasses.

In the neighbourhood are numerous patrician villas, some of which are attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi:

Siena in English sometimes spelled Sienna; Latin: Sena Iulia) is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.

The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008.

Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year.

Siena is located in the central part of Tuscany, in the middle of a vast hilly landscape between the Arbia river valley (south), the Merse valley (south-west), the Elsa valley (north), the Chianti hills (north-east), the Montagnola Senese (west) and the Crete Senesi (south-east). The city lies at 322 m above sea level.

Climate: Siena has a typical inland Mediterranean climate. Average rainfall is 750 mm (29.5 in), with the maximum in November and the minimum in July. July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 22.2 °C (72.0 °F), and January the coldest.

Contrade: Siena retains a ward-centric culture from medieval times. Each ward (contrada) is represented by an animal or mascot, and has its own boundary and distinct identity. Ward rivalries are most rampant during the annual horse race (Palio) in the Piazza del Campo.

The Palio: The Palio di Siena is a traditional medieval horse race run around the Piazza del Campo twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August. The event is attended by large crowds, and is widely televised. Seventeen Contrade (which are city neighbourhoods originally formed as battalions for the city’s defence) vie for the trophy: a painted banner, or Palio bearing an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Art: Over the centuries, Siena has had a rich tradition of arts and artists. The list of artists from the Sienese School include Duccio and his student Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti and Martino di Bartolomeo. A number of well-known works of Renaissance and High Renaissance art still remain in galleries or churches in Siena.

The Church of San Domenico contains art by Guido da Siena, dating to the mid-13th century. Duccio’s Maestà, which was commissioned by the City of Siena in 1308, was instrumental in leading Italian painting away from the hieratic representations of Byzantine art and directing it towards more direct presentations of reality. And his Madonna and Child with Saints polyptych, painted between 1311 and 1318, remains at the city’s Pinacoteca Nazionale.

The Pinacoteca also includes several works by Domenico Beccafumi, as well as art by Lorenzo Lotto, Domenico di Bartolo and Fra Bartolomeo.

Airport: The nearest international airports to Siena are Peretola Airport in Florence and Galileo Galilei International Airport in Pisa. There are two to three buses daily (Sena line) between Siena and Bologna Airport as well.

Train: Siena can be reached by train from both Pisa and Florence, changing at Empoli. Siena railway station is located at the bottom of a long hill outside the city walls. A series of escalators connects the train station with the old city on top of hill.

Buses: leave from Piazza Gramsci, located within the city walls. Buses are available directly to and from Florence, a one-hour trip, as well as from Rome (three hours), Milan (four and a half hours), and from various other towns in Tuscany and beyond.

Road: By road, Siena is linked to Florence by a “superstrada” (the Raccordo Autostradale RA03 – Siena-Firenze), a form of toll free autostrada. The superstrada to Florence is indicated on some road signs with the letters SI-FI, referring to province abbreviations. A continuation of the same four lane road to the south east will facilitate the drive towards Perugia and to Rome by the A1 highway.

Almost no automobile traffic is permitted within the city centre. Several large car parks are located immediately outside the city walls. The “La Fortezza” and “Il Campo” car parks are closest to the centre; free parking areas are further out (near Porta Romana). Commercial traffic is permitted within the city only during morning hours.

VISIT SIENA AND START MAKING MEMORIES

Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. Come and discover the beauty of Siena.

We never fail to impress. Soak up the sun, style, and sophistication of Tuscany and start planning your trip to Poggio Baronti today.