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How to Spend the Perfect One Day in Siena, Italy (2024)

Planning to spend one day in Siena? In this guide, we’re sharing a one-day itinerary with the best things to do, places to eat, and our top tips for visiting one of our favorite cities in Italy.

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With its historic charm, winding medieval streets, and incredible architectural sights, Siena is a must-visit on any Tuscany itinerary.

We’ve visited Siena three times – twice on day trips from Florence and once for an overnight stay. If you can, spending a night in the city is worth it. However, one full day is enough to cover all of the major sights.

To make the most out of your day in Siena, you have to plan strategically. We’ve carefully designed this itinerary to help you navigate the city in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible, including advice on where and when to purchase tickets for certain attractions.

By following our itinerary and tips, you’re sure to have a wonderful day in this beautiful Tuscan city!

One Day in Siena Itinerary

Breakfast at Torrefazione Fiorella

Begin your day in Siena in true Italian style with a cappuccino and delicious stuffed croissants at our favorite little cafe, Torrefazione Fiorella. Located on Via di Citta, just one block away from the Piazza del Campo, this is a popular spot among locals.

Here, you’ll find a selection of traditional Italian pastries, along with freshly brewed coffee. Seating is limited, so you may have to stand at the bar or opt for takeaway.

Address: Via di Città, 13, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
Hours: Monday – Saturday from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Piazza del Campo

Piazza del Campo, Il Campo for short, is one of Italy’s most iconic and grand squares. The piazza is the heart of the city, with both the City Hall and Tower (Torre de Mangia) at its center.

Il Campo is Siena’s social hub, where locals and tourists gather to enjoy a drink or bite to eat. During the summer, the square transforms into a race track for the Palio di Siena. This popular horse race takes place twice a year and is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular events to witness in Italy.

At the top center of the square is the Fonte de Gaia, or Fountain of Joy. This elegant marble fountain is a replica of the original masterpiece sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia in the 15th century. For those interested in seeing the original, it is located inside the Santa Maria della Scala, which is part of your itinerary later in the day.

Torre del Mangia

After a quick walk around Il Campo, make your way to the Palazzo Pubblico (City Hall) where you’ll need to purchase tickets to climb the city’s famed tower, Torre del Mangia.

Tickets to climb the tower often sell out by mid-day, so we recommend arriving right at 10:00 AM when ticket sales open. If you’re planning on climbing the tower later in the day, it’s best to purchase your tickets first thing in the morning before visiting other sights.

Standing at 334 feet (102 meters), the Torre del Mangia is one of the tallest towers in Italy. Constructed in the mid-14th century, it earns its nickname “mangia” from its Giovanni di Balduccio, the tower’s first bell ringer.

He was known for wasting away his earnings, which is aptly reflected in its name. Torre del Mangia literally translates to “tower of the earnings-eater.”

Be prepared for a climb of over 400 steps. The reward at the top of the tower is well worth it, with incredible panoramic views of Siena. Time at the top is limited to 15 minutes per group, so make the most of it. In total, your visit will last 30 minutes.

Getting Tickets

As we mentioned previously, tickets for the tower are not available online. You must visit the City Hall and buy your tickets in person from the ticket office.

During peak season, from May through September, tickets often sell out by the afternoon. To avoid missing out, we recommend arriving at the ticket office as early as possible, ideally right when it opens at 10:00 AM. You have the option to reserve a time slot for later in the day as well.


From March to October, the tower is open daily between 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM. The ticket office closes at 6:15 PM.

From November to February, the tower is open daily from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. The ticket office closes at 3:15 PM.

Time slots are available every 45 minutes, and the visit is limited to 30 minutes per groupl

Ticket Options:

You can either purchase a single ticket for the tower, or you can buy a combined ticket to visit the tower plus a couple of other sights.

  1. Torre del Mangia: €10
  2. Torre del Mangia + Museo Civico: €15
  3. Torre del Mangia + Museo Civico + Santa Maria della Scala: €20

We recommend purchasing option #3 to save money.

Civic Museum

Located within the medieval Gothic Palazzo Pubblico, which has served as the seat of Siena’s government since the Middle Ages, the Museo Civico (Civic Museum) is home to some of the city’s most exquisite frescoes.

These remarkable artworks, painted by the Sienese pictorial school from the 14th to the 19th centuries, adorn the series of grand halls. As you wander through, admire the frescoes depicting significant historical events and milestones of the local government.

Plan on spending an hour here.

Practical Information: From November to February, the museum is open from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. From March to October, opening hours are 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM.

Single tickets cost €6 per person. Combined ticket options are available, we recommend getting the second option below.

  • Torre del Mangia + Museo Civico: €15
  • Torre del Mangia + Museo Civico + Santa Maria della Scala: €20

Santa Maria della Scala

Situated in Piazza del Duomo, Santa Maria della Scala is a former hospital dating back to the Middle Ages. For centuries, it served as a refuge for pilgrims and children, and was in operation until the late 1900s.

Today, you can explore this historic complex and its various attractions, including medieval frescoes, a Children’s Art Museum, an Archaeological Museum, a church, and the Piccolomini Spannochi art collection.

There is so much to see here that it can be a bit overwhelming. Two highlights not to be missed are:

  • The original marble pieces of the Fonte Gaia, whose replica is located in Il Campo square.
  • Pellegrinaio Hall (Pilgrim’s Hall), which is covered in vibrant 15th century frescoes that tell stories of the hospital’s past.

If you are short on time, make sure to visit the two sights above. Otherwise, you can take your time to visit the other museums within the complex.

Practical Information: From March 15 – October 31, the complex is open from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM. Between November 1 – March 14, opening hours vary. Check the official website for up to date information.

Full price tickets cost €9. We recommend purchasing the combined ticket below to save money:

  • Torre del Mangia + Museo Civico + Santa Maria della Scala: €20


Spending a day in Siena gives you the opportunity to try some Tuscan cuisine! For a delicious lunch, we recommend Osteria degli Svitati. Located outside of the touristy areas, this cozy restaurant serves fantastic homemade pasta dishes.

Alternatively, Compagnia dei Vinattieri serves a variety of tasty and affordable options as well. Make sure to call ahead and reserve a table in advance for both of these restaurants.

If you’re in a hurry, Pizzeria Poppi Ivano is a solid choice for pizza by the slice. Try the Ciaccino, a local specialty made of thin foccacia bread stuffed with Prosciutto and mozzarella.

Siena Duomo Complex

After lunch, head to the Duomo di Siena, the city’s magnificent cathedral and a must-see attraction. Plan on spending between 2-3 hours here.

Tickets for the Duomo

With several ticket options, it can be a bit confusing deciding which one to choose, so let’s simplify it. There are three main ticket types for the Duomo:

  • Cathedral ticket – €7 full price: This pass grants entry to the Cathedral and Piccolomini Library.
  • Opa Si Pass – €16 full price: This option includes access to the Cathedral, Piccolomini Library, Cathedral Museum, Crypt, Baptistry, and Panorama.
  • Gate of Heaven Pass – €23 full price: Includes all the benefits of the Opa Si Pass, plus exclusive access to the cathedral’s rooftop.

So what pass should you get? It depends on your budget and time. If you have 2-3 hours, we highly recommend getting the Gate of Heaven Pass for its amazing views from the cathedral’s roof.

However, if you only have an hour, either the Cathedral Ticket or Opa Si Pass is still worth it to get a glimpse at the interior!

Purchase your tickets online in advance, especially during the peak season from May to September. To avoid waiting in line or missing out on the Gate of Heaven, try to secure your tickets at least a few weeks before your visit.

Your Visit to the Duomo

There is a lot to see inside of the Siena’s Duomo complex, and you need to be strategic in planning your visit. If you opt for the Gate of Heaven Pass, the reserved time on your ticket is the starting time of your rooftop tour. Make sure to arrive 20 minutes early to get to the starting point on time.

If you purchase the Opa Si Pass, arrive at the reserved time at proceed directly to the line for the Panorama, located inside the Cathedral Museum. This line can get long and you may end up waiting 30 minutes to an hour, which is why we suggest starting your visit with this.

After you’ve finished your tours, feel free to wander through the rest of the complex at your leisure.

Inside of the Siena Duomo Complex

Siena Duomo and Piccolomini Library: Constructed in the 13th century, Siena’s cathedral is one of the most magnificent in Italy. It features striking black and white marble, with striped marble columns and intricately inlaid marble floors.

The cathedral’s pulpit was designed and sculpted by Nicola Pisano in the mid-1200s. Additionally, there are many artworks throughout the building by famous artists, such as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini.

Adjacent to the cathedral, the Piccolomini Library was established in the late 1400s to honor Pope Pius II (Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini). The library is renowned for its vibrant frescoes by Pinturicchio, which decorate the walls and ceilings above the historic manuscripts.

New Cathedral & Panorama: In 1339, ambitious plans to expand the cathedral were set in motion, but the project was tragically cut short by the Black Death in 1348, leaving the “New Cathedral” unfinished.

Today, you can stroll atop the remaining walls of the outer facade, enjoying breathtaking panoramic views of Siena’s city center.

Cathedral Museum: The Duomo Museum offers an intimate look at some of the cathedral’s most significant artworks, including the Rose Window by Duccio di Buoninsegna and sculptures by Donatello, Pisano, and Jacopo della Quercia.

Crypt: Beneath the cathedral lies the crypt, originally the site of the 12th-century church that preceded the existing structure. It houses exquisite 13th-century frescoes that are worth seeing.

Baptistry: The Baptistry of San Giovanni Battista is a fine example of Renaissance art. The Baptismal Font, built by notable artists including Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia, was sculpted in the 15th century. Its ceiling is adorned with frescoes that were painted by several Sienese artists, also in the 15th century.

TOUR OPTION: Siena Cathedral and City Walking Tour

Take time to wander the streets

After a full day of sightseeing in Siena, take some time to stroll through the charming medieval streets of the old town. I love getting lost in historic places and taking it all in.

If you are up for another church visit, then we recommend walking to the other side of Siena to the Basilica of San Domenico. Take a quick look around this massive Gothic church. It’s pretty basic inside, but the walk to get here is lovely.

If you’re looking for the best panoramic views of Siena, head to this viewpoint.


For dinner, we recommend La Taverna di San Giuseppe, one of Siena’s most acclaimed restaurants, which is also included on the Michelin Guide. Call ahead to reserve a table – it’s popular and difficult to get a last minute reservation.

Order one of their seasonal dishes or try something local like wild boar.

COOKING CLASS: Book this Tuscan Cooking Class in the heart of Siena for a unique experience!

Half-day & Full-day Itinerary

Below, we are sharing an overview of this full-day itinerary and also a half-day itinerary for anyone taking a day trip from Florence or a nearby town.

Half-Day Siena Itinerary

  • Torre del Mangia – Start with this in order to get tickets before they sell out
  • Piazza del Campo
  • Siena Duomo Complex
  • Lunch
  • Wander the streets

Full-Day Siena Itinerary

  • Breakfast at Torrefazione Fiorella
  • Piazza del Campo
  • Torre del Mangia
  • Civic Museum
  • Santa Maria della Scala
  • Lunch
  • Siena Duomo Complex
  • Wander the Streets
  • Dinner

Siena Tour Options

Map of Siena

This map includes the best things to do with one day in Siena, including restaurants, sights, and parking options.

To save the map to Google Maps on your phone or computer, click on the star next to the title. Once you do this, you’ll be able to find the map in your “saved maps” list on your phone.

To see a list of all the items on the map, click the box with arrow on the left. To enlarge the map, click the box on the right.

Palio di Siena

Palio di Siena is one of the most famous events in Italy. Every year, on July 2 and August 16, Siena’s neighborhoods compete in this historic horse race.

The race is held in the Piazza del Campo, where a temporary dirt track is set up and thousands of locals gather to partake in this deeply rooted Medieval tradition.

The winner’s flag is proudly displayed outside the Palazzo Pubblico (City Hall), and celebratory parades fill the streets following the race. Trials take place over the three days leading up to the event, giving you a chance to get a glimpse of the excitement, even if you aren’t visiting on race day.

I was in Siena for the pre-race festivities, and the energy and excitement was one one of my favorite travel memories. Piazza del Campo was buzzing with locals chanting, waving their flags, and cheering with pride.

If you have the opportunity to attend, I highly recommend. It’s an experience that truly captures the spirit of Siena.

Best Foods to Try in Siena

Siena’s cuisine is strongly influenced by its Tuscan surroundings. Rich pastas and hearty dishes, along with local wines, are are served at the city’s restaurants.

Here are some foods & dishes worth trying in Siena:

  • Wild Boar: You’ll find this popular Tuscan meat in both pasta dishes, served as a ragu, and second courses. It may not sound the most appetizing, but when cooked right, it’s extremely tender and flavorful.
  • Ribollita: A popular Tuscan soup that is made with cannellini beans and thickened with bread. It’s one of my favorite Italian dishes!
  • Pici: A thick and round noodle pasta that is served all over Tuscany. You’ll find it with all sorts of sauces, but the most popular dish in Siena is Pici all’Aglione, made with a garlic and tomato sauce.
  • Malfatti: Meaning “badly made”, these spinach and ricotta dumplings are a tasty local specialty.
  • Panforte: A popular Christmas dessert seasoned with a mix of citrus, cinnamon, and honey.
  • Ricciarelli: Sweet and chewy, these almond cookies are a must try!

Best Time to Visit Siena

The best times to visit Siena are in the late spring and early fall, specifically in May, September, and October. These months offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season.

Summer in Tuscany is beautiful but it’s crowded. Expect higher prices for accommodation, crowded sights, and hot weather.

Winter is chilly and wet. The Christmas season is quite festive, and there is usually a holiday market set up in the Piazza del Campo.

I’ve visited Siena in June, August, and September. Fortunately, I lucked out with weather every time and enjoyed blue skies and sunshine.

September is probably my favorite time of year to go to Siena. Not only because it’s less busy but also because the countryside is spectacular this time of year with the vineyards at their prime.

Is One Day in Siena enough time?

Yes, one day in Siena is the perfect amount of time to explore the city’s main attractions; however, keep in mind that this itinerary is quite packed. If you prefer a more relaxed pace, then consider spending a night and extending your stay to 1.5-2 days.

Siena is also a popular day trip from Florence. If you’re planning on doing this, then try to catch an early morning train or bus to maximize your time.

Additionally, Siena is an excellent base for exploring the Tuscany region, which makes it a great place to spend a few nights and take day trips. It’s close to many of the famous towns, such as San Gimignano, Volterra, Montepulciano, Cortona, and Pienza.

How to Get to Siena

By Train

Siena’s central train station is located at the base of the hill, around 2km on foot from Piazza del Campo. During my first visit to Siena, I made the mistake of walking this distance with my luggage, which took about 30 minutes and was mostly uphill

To save both time and effort, I recommend taking a taxi from the train station directly to your accommodation or first stop. This I especially helpful if you are carrying luggage or if you visiting on a day trip.

Alternatively, you can use the city bus service. Several buses depart from the front of the station and drop you off just outside of the old town, where you’ll have to walk an additional 10 minutes. You can buy your tickets at the tobacco shop / newsstand inside of the train station.

To find the best route, use Google Maps to check the bus options when you arrive.

To get back to the train station by bus, Google Maps is again useful for finding the best route. You can also catch a bus from Piazza del Sale, just make sure to confirm with the driver that they are heading to the station.

  • From Florence, the train journey takes around 1.5 hours.
  • From Rome, the train takes about 3.5 hours to Siena.

You can purchase your tickets online in advance at

By Bus

The bus from Florence to Siena is quicker and cheaper than the train, making it the preferred option. The 131 R bus departs from the Florence Bus Station, conveniently located across from Firenze Santa Maria Novella strain station.

The bus journey takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes each way and drops you off at Piazza Gramsci, which is just an 11-minute walk from Piazza del Campo.

To help plan your journey, visit the trip planner page on the AT Website, which is the official bus site for Tuscany. Enter “Firenze” into the Partenza (departure) field and “Siena” into the Arrivo (arrival) field, along with your travel date and preferred time of arrival. This will display a schedule and some bus options to choose from.

Purchase your tickets at the bus station in Florence. If you are planning a return trip to Flornece on the same day, buy round-trip tickets in the morning to simplify your travel.

For those traveling from Rome, check the available bus routes on FlixBus. The journey takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes.

By Car

We have driven to Siena multiple times and it’s fairly straightforward. It’s important to note that you cannot park directly in the city center. Instead, there are several parking lots situated down he hill from the old town.

To find the best parking option, you can search for “parking” on Google Maps and a few options will pop up. We parked at “Parking Santa Caterina” on our last trip to Siena, and it was just a short walk to the center.

Here are a few parking lots that we recommend:

  • Parking Santa Caterina – underground parking garage
  • Viale della Vecchia Parking – outdoor paid parking
  • Parcheggio Stadio – parking near the stadium
  • Parcheggio San Francesco – outdoor paid parking

If you’re looking to rent a car, we always book through Discover Cars, our go-to for renting cars in Europe. We have used them to book several cars in Italy and have always had a positive experience.

Where to Stay in Siena


  • Grand Hotel Continental – A gorgeous 5-star hotel, located in the heart of Siena, with frescoed ceilings and old world charm. Private parking is available.
  • Certosa di Maggiano – Just over a mile from the Piazza del Campo, this unique hotel is set inside of a former monastery dating back to the 14th century. There is a an outdoor pool and free parking.


  • Palazzetto Rosso – Located in Siena’s old town, this hotel blends modern design with Medieval architecture. Breakfast is included.
  • Residenza d’Epoca Palazzo Borghesi – This charming boutique hotel is located inside of a palace that was once owned by the famous Borghesi family. The location is central to all of the sights and breakfast is included.
  • Residenza d’Epoca Campo Regio Relais – With stellar views of Siena, this lovely hotel offers well-decorated rooms with modern amenities.


  • Residenza d’Epoca ” Il Campo” – You won’t find a better view than from this apartment. With it’s location in Piazza del Campo, you get to enjoy unobstructed views of the Torre del Mangia.


  • Hotel Palazzo di Valli – Set inside of an 18th century villa, this hotel is located in the countryside near Siena. If you’re looking for a cozy, authentic stay, this is a great option.
  • B&B Governo dei Nove – Just a short walk from the center of Siena, this bed and breakfast offers modern rooms and a delicious breakfast.

Tips for Visiting Siena

  • Take the bus from Florence: If you’re planning a day trip from Florence, the bus is the quickest and most convenient way to get to Siena. The bus drops you off close to the center, whereas the train station is a 30+ minute walk or a short taxi ride from the old town.
  • Book tickets in advance: Once you know your dates, reserve your tickets for the Siena Duomo complex to ensure you get your preferred time and ticket type.
  • Purchase combo tickets: Save money buy purchasing combo tickets that group several sights into one ticket. We recommend buying the Torre del Mangia + Museo Civico + Santa Maria della Scala ticket, which can be purchased at any of these sights.
  • Arrive early in the morning: Try to arrive in Siena between 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM to maximize your time.
  • Make restaurant reservations: Siena is an extremely popular destination and restaurants book up quickly. Call ahead to reserve a table in advance.

More Information for your Trip to Italy


Italy Travel Insurance – We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out Travel Insurance Master to find the best plan for you.

Italy Rental Cars – We’ve rented a car in Italy many times, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.

Italy Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in Italy, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to Italy, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed.

Italy Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for Italy? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through Booking for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from.

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