By Courtney Singer
Siena
Italy
Photo gallery
Siena is an ancient city located in the heart of Italy’s Tuscany region. The exact founding of the city is unknown, but both Roman legend and documents mark it as one of the oldest urban centers in the Roman Empire. In fact, a possible etymology of the town’s name is the Latin word “Senex” meaning “old.” With its narrow winding streets and beautiful brick buildings, this definition fits perfectly with the charmingly antiquated feel of this Tuscan hill town.
   
EscapeWizard.com invites you to visit this medieval township. The city can be accessed easily by car, bus, train, or airplane. Please be advised that driving within city limits is not permitted unless you are a resident and parking is around 1.50 Euro an hour. The train station, Stazione Ferroviaria, is located about 3 kilometers outside of the city center. To get into the main area of town, you can take a local minibus or a taxi. The closest international airport to Siena is the Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA) in Pisa, but it is possible to take a domestic flight into the Siena Airport Ampugnano (SAY). You can purchase your tickets through EscapeWizard.com. To do so, please use the following link (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php).  When booking hotel accommodations, vacationers can click on this link to book with EscapeWizard.com today (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).
   
Upon arrival, EscapeWizard.com suggests you make your way to the Piazza del Campo. Shaped like a seashell, the Piazza is both a Italian historical landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is buttressed on one side by the Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia. The Palazzo Pubblico is a Gothic masterpiece and contains the Museo Civico, home to the best of Sienese art. The Torre del Mangia is one of the tallest towers in Italy. The 503 stairs can be climbed for a birds-eye view of the city and surrounding countryside. Another major Siena attraction recommended by EscapeWizard.com is the cathedral, or Duomo. Built starting in the 12th century, the Duomo is a prime example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. The main portion of the church was completed in the 14th century, but the east wall was left uncompleted after the Black Death razed the city’s population and coffer. 
   
Besides the sights highlighted above, there are many more interesting attractions to visit in Siena. The Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana, Baptistery, Libreria Piccolomini, etc are all worth a visit. In addition, reduced-price cumulative ticket combinations are possible to purchase if you wish to visit multiple sights over the duration of a day or two.     
   
One of the most important events in the Sienese year is the Palio di Siena. The Palio includes two huge horse races that occur on July 2nd and August 16th respectively, and take place in the Piazza del Campo. The competitors in the Palio are representatives from each contrada, or ward, within the city. Originally developed to supply troops to the multiple militias that were hired to defend the city, there are currently 17 contrade, each represented by an animal or symbol.  
   
Sienese cuisine personifies the Tuscan attitude towards food. More than in the rest of Italy, you will see multiple types of meat served around Siena. Recommended fare is the famed Fiorentina steak with a nice Chianti. Nightlife in Siena can be relatively staid, but there are various wonderful wine bars. You are especially encouraged to visit the Enoteca Italiana, located in the scenic Fortezza Medicea. Not just a darling bar and restaurant, but also Italy’s Museo di Vino  Make sure to visit the wine cellar for a chance to read and learn about hundreds of Italian wines.
     
Siena is the perfect mix of Italy both past and present. If you wish to know what the daily life looked like to a 14th century Tuscan, EscapeWisdom.com hopes you will consider visiting this quaint town set in the hills. Just click the link above and book your next vacation with EscapeWizard.com.