We didn’t intend to spend one night in Siena, but it worked out perfectly. I thought that we might visit Siena on a day trip from Florence, but the idea of staying right off the campo became irresistible! That is exactly how we ended up spending one night in Siena in transit between Venice and Florence.
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One Night in Siena, Italy – Where to Stay
La Terrazza sul Campo appeared in my research, and I immediately fell in love with its location. When I visited Siena during my study abroad semester, I sat on the campo for a long time. I booked the La Citta di Siena junior suite, and a few days before we arrived, I received an email from Viola with all the details about how to find the hotel. This proved to be quite useful as our taxi driver had not heard of it. I showed him the email, and he knew exactly where to go. We had a short walk through the pedestrian zone, but the hotel was easy to find. Viola checked us in and gave us an order form for breakfast after escorting us to our room. (She delivers deliver your custom order to your room at the time you choose!)
La Terrazza sul Campo – La Citta di Siena
First of all, the La Citta di Siena junior suite is huge! It is easily the size of a small apartment. There are beautiful frescos on the ceiling and beautiful tiling on the floors, but it’s the windows that open onto the campo that captured my attention.
As far as the bed goes, it is more firm than I expected, but I slept well all the same. The bathroom is completely renovated and includes both rainhead and handheld showers. We did not experience any issues with hot water or water pressure. The amenity basket in the bathroom included every sundry you could possibly want.
The thermostat allowed us to keep the room comfortable without any issue. There is an in-room tea set that has everything necessary to prepare a cup of tea. The room includes a mini-fridge, a sitting area, a desk, and a small table. I found myself sitting at the table to work, eat breakfast, and people watch on multiple occasions. It is absolutely magical, and I was sorry that we only spent one night in Siena!
Best Overview of Siena
Siena Walking Tour – We arrived in Siena around 12:30pm, checked into our hotel, and by 1:20, we were waiting for our guide in the campo. This tour is a great introduction to the city! After learning more about the campo and its role in the Palio, our guide led us to one of the contrade museums. There, we enjoyed seeing historical Palio costumes, flags, and tapestries depicting the win of a particular contrade. It is an incredible look into the history of Siena and its “neighborhood” pride!
She showed us some beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside before following the winding narrow streets around to the Siena Duomo and finishing the tour at the basilica of Saint Maria dei Servi. We did not have trouble keeping up with our guide, but there were older people who struggled with the hills, so if you have limited mobility, this may not be the tour for you.
The Siena Duomo is incredible. There’s no other way to describe it. Thirteen years ago, I was entranced by its starry ceilings. I was no less enraptured with it on this trip, but I was surprised to see all the gold. I didn’t remember that part from my previous adventure. We took advantage of the audioguide offered by the basilica, which was great, but it was a little long for the late afternoon. I suggest doing it earlier in the day or first thing in the morning.
You can purchase tickets in the office across from the Duomo, but the audioguide is purchased in the cathedral. We did not wait in line at all in the late afternoon. Even thought we only had one night in Siena, we made a second trip early Sunday morning to appreciate it without the large crowds. I cannot even imagine how big it would have been if it had been completed.
Enjoy the Campo
I’ll admit it. We’re big square people. We love to grab meals from the grocery store and people watch. Siena (and its campo) was no exception. There’s a fantastic market to the right of the clock tower, and we made multiple trips there. We spent blue hour here, and the blue contrasting against the siena brick was gorgeous. Before heading back to our hotel for the night, we picked up gelato and made another stroll around the campo. We spent the predawn hour here. It was empty until around 10:00 on Sunday morning, so get up early to enjoy the city without so many tourists! (Oh, the daytrippers!)
We had hoped to visit the synagogue in Siena, but it wasn’t open early enough on Sunday. They have a particularly touching monument to the individuals who were lost in the Holocaust on a nondescript street in front of the synagogue. From there, we chose to follow the old city walls around Siena. This provides beautiful views and a look into daily life (it was Palm Sunday for us!). We found the entire old city to be very well preserved. I encourage you to duck into courtyards, watch for churches (there are many!), and enjoy the scenery. It is the perfect way to see more of Siena than the Duomo.
I’m going to cheat on this – I’ve only got one recommendation and it’s not actually a restaurant! We had a really terrible dinner. Because Americans don’t enjoy meat cooked the same way as the Italians, we ended up with a completely inedible bistecca. Sad!!
We did, however, discover La Proscuitteria, which was celebrating its grand re-opening. It was CRAZY. And – it is delicious. (We even hit up the one in Florence twice.) They created the most delicious open-faced sandwiches using fresh bread, olive oil, proscuitto and poppy seeds! I cannot recommend this place enough. My mouth waters every time I think about it! This is a great place for lunch, a snack, or a light dinner. (It is not a full service restaurant. It’s part of a chain, but it is tasty.)
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