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Siena is yet another of the wonderful towns in the Tuscany region that is very popular and for good reason. There is so much to see and do as well as being very accessible by car, bus and train. Before you can spend time in Siena you first have to get there therefore I will show you the options.
Most often people traveling to Siena are coming from either Florence or Rome. I will start by showing you how to get there by bus from both. I would mention that most people going to Siena from wherever believe taking the bus is the better way to get to Siena as the train station there is outside of town and not quite as convenient.
From Florence you will want to leave from the bus station that is near the main train station which is Santa Maria Novella station just a little north of Florence, there is another train station east of Florence which is the Firenze Campo di Marte so make sure you know which one you are going to.
The bus station is basically on the end of the train station so it is almost like the train tracks are pointing to the bus station. There are two different buses going to Siena the rapid bus which is nonstop and the regular bus which stops in little towns on the way to Siena.
The regular bus takes about an hour and a half to get there, with the rapid bus you can save about 15 minutes. Once in Siena the bus will drop you off in the middle of town across the street from the soccer stadium.
From Rome, you must leave from the Tiburtina bus depot which is about a mile and a half north of the Rome termini train station, the ride from Rome is about 3 and a half hours or so and is direct. From what I understand the bus from Rome stops at the Siena train station before making its way to the same bus station drop off that comes from Florence.
By train from Florence, go to the Santa Maria Novella station a little north of Florence where you can get tickets if you haven't gotten them yet but make sure you validate your ticket before you get on the train they are very picky about this. The train is about an hour and a half ride to Siena and puts you north of town where the train station is located.
From Rome you can take the train from either the Termini station or Tiburtina station, the trip is a little over 3 hours but has a stop about three quarters of the way there in Chiusi-Chianciano where you have to switch trains. This is the biggest reason why most people prefer the bus as you stay on the bus the entire trip. Once in Siena you depart from the station just north of town.
If you plan on going by car you can take a variety of routs depending on what scenery you are looking for. There are a few parking areas in Siena and the easiest way to find them is to type into google maps Siena parking lots, it doesn't tell you if it is a free lot or a pay lot but at least you will know where you can park.
Things to do in Siena are wide ranging because of the diversity of the city but also has many of the things you would expect in an Italian city such as churches and museums and an unexpected event as well.
Basilica of San Domenico, built in the 13 century as a convent , constructed entirely of brick in a gothic style of architecture, it looks kind of plain from the exterior however the real joy is inside as there are paintings from famous artists from many different eras.
Fountain of Fontebranda, this reminds me much more of a cistern than a fountain as most of it is under cover whereas traditional fountains are in open air, it is worth seeing and close to other attractions.
Piazza del Duomo, one of the bigger plazas in the city and surrounds the Duomo of Siena, one of the most beautiful churches in the city showing off its magnificent architecture, the plaza also has several other attractions to see within the plaza.
Basilica of San Francesco, a rather plain looking church from the outside with one of the more beautiful alters of any church in the city. The Basilica also has many large paintings inside by famous artists of the time.
Church of Saint Christopher, id one of the more famous churches in Siena nestled on the end of the small Plaza Tolomei and is one of the oldest churches in Siena. Like so many other churches in Italy the real beauty of the church is inside.
Saving the best for last the Plaza del Campo has many things to see including historical buildings, the main square fountain and the civic museum. However the best thing to see if you happen to be in Siena on July 2nd or August 16th would be the annual Palio of Siena which is a horse race like no other. The Plaza is transformed by bringing truck loads of dirt which is laid out on the outskirts of the plaza and a horse race is run. What makes it different is that the riders are riding bareback no saddles at all which represents the tradition of the race.
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