Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

How would you spend 2 days in Siena and San Gimi?

How would you spend 2 days in Siena and San Gimi?

Jan 1st, 2011, 05:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,215
How would you spend 2 days in Siena and San Gimi?

If you had 1 full day to spend in Siena, how would you spend it? I have the Duomo on my list, Orto Botanico, and just wondering around the narrow streets. Does anyone have a recommendation for somewhere to eat overlooking the countryside? It would be lovely to sit outside with good food and seeing the beautiful landscape.

How would you spend 1 full day visiting San Gimi?
JillDavis is offline  
Jan 1st, 2011, 05:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
Jill, Which guide books are you using? Let me suggest the Michelin Green book for Italy and the Top 10 Tuscany book for Tuscany. Try to include Volterra the day you see San Gim.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 1st, 2011, 05:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,215
I am using the Fodors guidebook and that is where I got the Duomo and the Orto Botanico from. There are a few restaurant recommendations in there, but it doesn't say anything about if there is outdoor seating overlooking the countryside.

Good to know about Volterra.
JillDavis is offline  
Jan 1st, 2011, 08:14 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,282
You can eat overlooking the Duomo and a bit of the countryside if you take the alley (via Camporegio?) on the left side of San Domenico (follow it around the corner). There are several restaurants on that alleyway. At night as the sun sets and the Duomo is lit up is a fantastic view. You might want to visit San Domenico also.
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 1st, 2011, 08:46 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,187
Sam Gimi.. I would not spend a day there. It's always packed with crowds and tour buses. Look at the cathedral and it's frescoes and leave for another Tuscan town for a better experience. Volterra as recommended by Bob,or any of the towns in the Chianti region.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,777
Can only suggest re Siena, but definitely see the Duomo. There's also a modest-sized museum containing artwork and such belonging to the Duomo that's worth a visit -- it also affords a nice vantage point for seeing the city. Wandering the old city is great as well, and be sure you take in the Piazza del Campo (the clam shell shaped square that's the focus of this area).
bachslunch is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
The frescoes inside the churches of San Gimignano are exceptional, and very few tourists bother to see them, either because they don't want to pay the few euros it costs to enter, or because they only want to wander around.

In Siena, there is a fascinating mural masterpiece entitled "The Allegory of Good and Bad Government" which you might want to track down.

I recently picked up the most recent edition of the Michelin Green Guide to Italy and I was heartbroken. It has now become of the model of the "vacationer's" guide to Italy, streamlined for the most efficient passage from one relax/picture-snap spot to another, with less and less pointers about how to find the cultural and historic treasures.

This might help you plan a full and rewarding day:


And this was written before the advent of the "Twillight" series, which has really boosted tourism in Volterra, so it's no longer a "secret" anything. Like Siena, people have varied reactions to the town (being a prison is one of its chief attributes), but everybody seems to enjoy the views and, like this article notes, the historic sightseeing itinerary is "blessedly small", so not too much brain work interferes with the wandering and soaking.

zeppole is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
I would spend most of the day in Siena at the Palazzo Pubblico Museum (located at the bottom of the campo). An incredibly fabulous museum full of frescoes. This is where you'll find the Good and Bad Goverment allegory, mentioned by zeppole. If you get to Siena early enough go to the cathedral; if you arrive late you'll stand in line to get into the church.

I thought San Gimignano was not worth the drive there as it's full of shops selling less than quality merchandise. The highlight was the church in which I spent a long time looking at the marvelous frescoes.
adrienne is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,579
For us, San Gimignano is well worth a stop. As with many towns in Tuscany, if history of the region interests you, make a stop in this town. A little general information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Gimignano
iris1745 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 437
Hi JillDavis

Since you seem to be seeking countryside views, I wanted to share our San. G. experience from an old 2006 Fodor's post of mine.

"In San G. we stayed at the Hotel Cisterna - we had a deluxe room with a balcony and a view of valley.

We spent the entire afternoon on the balcony looking out over the valley - with a bottle of wine - enjoying the fabulous views and waiting for the crowds to leave.

The balcony time was one of the best experiences of our trip.

The view was great and it was nice to rest after Florence."

So this is not a eating recommendation for San G. as you requested. And rather than a full day in San G, this would require a one night stay in San G. arrive later - leave early the next morning. (We took the bus from Florence to San G. and then the bus to Siena after which we got a rental car)

We enjoyed walking the town in the early evening and the great gelato from the place in the square. As I recall, my husband took a huge nap too.

Thanks for asking the question and letting me relive a favorite memory! That balcony time was precious.
davispeets is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,579
Davis; Your hotel sounded great. We also loved our hotel within the walls. Stayed three days and did day trips like Volterra. www.anticopozzo.com
iris1745 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,155
Siena , what’s there to do? Piazza del campo, one of the most beautiful and famous piazza in Italy , the seashell shaped piazza where the Palio is run. On the lower end of the campo is the town hall and tower. The Palazzo Pubblico contains many works of Sienese art; one of the more famous frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti shows the effects of good and bad government. The Torre di Mangia provides a breath-taking view of the city (don’t try this if you have a weak heart or are claustrophobic). The Duomo (design most influenced by Giovanni Pisano) was built to impress and it does. Inside are an astonishing number of busts, statues, frescoes, and painting. The octagonal marble pulpit by Nicola Pisano is amazing, as are the works by Donatello, Bernini, and Michelangelo. The Libreria Piccolomini contains many illuminated books and brilliant frescoes. The floor is covered by art but unfortunately most of this is covered by cardboard except during floorshows. Outside the Duomo you can see the Archbishop’s palace, Spedale di Santa Marie delle Scale (1000 year old hospital contains frescoes that are huge), Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. There are palaces (palace of the Piccolomini, Logge del Papa, Loggia della Mercanzia, Palazzo Chigi-Saracini); churches (San Domenico-with the head of Saint Catherine, Basillica di San Francesco, Sant’Agostino) and enotece (the Enoteca Italia in the fortezza has more wines to try then you have time).

The market (by the fortezza) is on Wednesday mornings (about three hundred vendors) providing basic goods to locals. Ceramics are sold all over but especially on the street between the Campo and Duomo.

But with all there is to do don’t miss just strolling through a real town that looks like it hasn’t changed in hundreds of years.
Henry is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 11:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,215
Thanks everyone for all your imput!
JillDavis is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,187
A full day in Siena will be wonderful but you can do several Tuscan villages on the other day, not just San Gimi. Drive the local road from Siena north towards Castellina in Chianti..Also, Monteriggeroni is tiny and interesting,wouldn't take much time to visit.
I assume you're spending a full day in Florence as well.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jan 13th, 2011, 01:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
save and print
NativeNewYorker is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 03:06 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
For some reason, Tuscany is full of "body parts", as a friend called them, pieces of the bodies of saints "preserved" for veneration. Siena famously if slightly gruesomely has the head of St Catherine, a most notable saint.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 04:14 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 33,295
The floor mosaics in the Siena duomo are worth as much time as it takes IMO, not to mention the various other parts of that city. Also agree with a drive over toward Castellina...wonderful countryside.

In San Gim BE PREPARED (depending on when you visit) for LOTS of visitors...a fun place but if i had to choose between the two, Siena would easily win out.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 04:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Henry, thanks for your carefully detailed description of Siena's highlights - saving for a return visit.
latedaytraveler is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:32 PM.