Siena?

Oct 29th, 2002, 04:50 PM
  #1  
Dan
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Siena?

Hi I'm going to Siena in January for a month and would like to know if anyone has any advice for me: what to pack/what to see, etc. Thanks in advance!
 
Oct 29th, 2002, 05:15 PM
  #2  
abc
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I recently visited Siena for 2 days in May. Many tourists come in from Florence for a one day trip and pack the streets until about 5PM or so. It has some breathtaking views just outside the city walls. When we visited, it was the relaxing part of our trip. We took in some fabulous wine and watched the sun set. There is a fantastic gelato place just off the square on the same side as the tower. Try the Crema flavor. We toured Italy for about 16 days and gelato each day. Siena rated second on our list of favorites. Up near the soccer fields there is a very small outdoor market with some great buys. Leather, pasta bowls, jewelry, etc. Have fun relaxing in Siena. The people are great!
 
Oct 29th, 2002, 05:44 PM
  #3  
kam
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Visit the Enoteca Italiana in the old Medici Forteza walls and the Cane e Gatto restaurant--be sure to make a reservation. Siena is a wonderful city, safe and friendly, virtually no crime. It's the city of my husband's grandmother's birth and we've been several times. I envy you a month. There's much to see in the area--Tuscany and Umbria and all the hill towns. Do try to get to Lucca, Montefalco, Todi, Assisi. Weather will be quite cool, possibly raining.
 
Oct 29th, 2002, 10:00 PM
  #4  
Cristina
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For January, bring warm clothes as it can get cold. January is lovely as there are few tourists. On the 6th there is the celebration of the Befana which is an ugly old lady that brings gifts for the children. Coal if they were bad, sugar if they were good and other trinkets. Kinda like an American Christmas. This is happening all over Italy on the 6th but in Siena you can go to the 17 different contrade and see each contrada celebrating, with all of the kids.

Learn about the contrade before coming as they are the backbone of the city.

The museums are great so take your time in each, we have a market every Wednesday if you need clothes, gadgets, fabric, etc. I think by the end of January the frittelle (fried rice dough balls) stand will be set up in the campo square. If so, make sure you get some of these wonderful carnival treats. Oh and cenci (chen chee), try the cenci, they are fried dough strips and they are so wonderful.

Let me know if you need more info.
 
Oct 29th, 2002, 11:23 PM
  #5  
Francesca
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Remember Dan that Siena is much larger than what you will expect, the old town is larger than the old part of Florence and that is what most tourists miss, most people just come for a half day and just go and see the Duomo and the Piazza del Campo omitting the other 90% of the old town closed in the ancient walls. THe fun part according to me is to get lost walking through the dedals of alleyways and as Cristina mentions to try and realize in which Contrada you are walking through. I highly reccomend that you stay inside the walls (Pensione Palazzo Ravizza is the best hotel according to me). I also highly reccomend that you eat at the Enoteca I Terzi in Via dei Termini at lunctime its full of locals (3000 different wines) and you can have just a snack rather than a 3 course meal. Remember that Siena is the safest place in the world,no crime, very little traffic in the old walls, and beautiful. Because the city lost the endless wars with Florence the intent of the latter was to prevent the development of the town that as a result has remained medieval. Have a good time!!

 
Oct 30th, 2002, 05:47 PM
  #6  
Graziella
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Dan, find out which public event of one of the Contradas you can attend.
They have for instance some big lunches that you might be able to attend , paying a ticket, ....the tourist office or any local can help you.
 
Nov 13th, 2002, 06:34 AM
  #7  
Dan
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Thank you all for your great responses. I'm getting more excited for the trip by the minute. Now I have another question: I'm flying into Rome, how can I get from the airport to Siena?
Also, many of you have mentioned that it gets chilly-I was just wondering what approximate temperature range it is (sorry, I ordered The Blue Guide but it hasn't arrived yet so i don't know the answers to some simple questions!
Thanks again!
 
Nov 13th, 2002, 07:31 AM
  #8  
Ira
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Hi Dan,
Is your flight into Rome fixed? You can also fly into Pisa or Florence, which are closer to Siena.

I think you will have to change trains in Florence anyway.
 
Nov 13th, 2002, 08:33 PM
  #9  
Henry
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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 this is covered by cardboard except during floorshows (bring on the nuns – sorry). 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.
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 12:42 PM
  #10  
Jenna
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Dan, I'm really jealous. You're going to love Siena-I've spent time in many Italian cities and my favorite by far is Siena.
I don't know if you've been to Italy before, but consider daytrips to other parts of Tuscany-especially Florence. Although others in these forums have derided it for its touristy atmosphere (and it's true!), it's still a must-see, especially since you're so close.
Good luck, you're going to have a great time!
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 01:14 PM
  #11  
JoeE.
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Need some travel help from you seasoned travelers.

Am planning to spend some time in Siena and wanted to use it as a a "home port" for a few days and visit Florence and a small town south of Siena named Scansano. I don't want to rent a car and can't find it there are bus or train routes between Sienna and Scansano.
Also, does anyone have any hotel recommendations for Siena..looking for mid-priced 3-star type place for me and the family. Thanks
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 11:47 PM
  #12  
FRancesca
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Dear Dan
Hi!!Forget being able to participate at any of the dinners organized by the Contrade unless you are not invited you are not allowed as you must be a member. The only dinner they sell tickets for visitors is the banquet the night before the race in July and August. To reach Siena from the Rome airport via train you must do the following. Train from airport to Roma Termini- Take Intercity for Milan or Florence (not eurostar!!) and get off in Chiusi- here you will find a small local train for Siena. The city is very badly connected you must need patience. The other solution is to take the eurostar to Florence from Rome and then take the bus to Siena (Siena Rapida)when you leave the platform to the right-exit thestation-down the steps-cross the road-turn left for 30 meters then to your right is the bus terminal
 
Nov 16th, 2002, 02:51 AM
  #13  
Mark
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There are buses from Roma Tiburtina to Siena. Time table on www.lazzi.it/senaautolinee/roma_siena_e.htm.

Trains from the airport Roma Fiumcino every 15 minutes to Roma Tiburtina (44 minutes).
 
Nov 16th, 2002, 11:33 AM
  #14  
Capo
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Hi Dan. Siena is a wonderful city, a great choice. Il Campo is a dramatic square, and unusual for its seashell shape and downward slope.

We stayed in Siena for five nights last spring and our favorite place to eat, besides our locanda, the Locanda Garibaldi (run by Marcello, a soft-spoken artist), was Osteria Nonna Gina (Pian dei Mantellini, 2). I can't vouch for what the website below says, but they call it the "best authentic home-style cooking in Siena." We thought the food was great; the atmosphere is very cozy and colorful; and it was always packed with people.
http://www.tuscanhouse.com/travelpla...ntsinsiena.htm

I imagine you're planning on it, and I'd highly recommend visiting some of the nearby towns. Our favorites were the hilltowns of Cortona and Volterra, and we thought the ridgetop road to Volterra was especially beautiful.
 
Nov 21st, 2002, 10:25 AM
  #15  
Elaine
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Dan,
We were visiting Italy last winter during February and the weather was chillier than I expected-low 50's. I'm not sure if that's how it will be in Siena (we were in Rome mostly) but it's something to keep in mind.
Have fun!
 
Dec 4th, 2002, 04:42 PM
  #16  
pam
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just came back from a three week tour of italy and have to say that siena was not as great as we expected-somewhat boring, especially for a couple with three kids in tow. try florence, it's better, and everyone speaks english.
 
Dec 9th, 2002, 10:12 AM
  #17  
Emma
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hi, i, too, am going to siena soon and will be in siena for the ephiphany (sp). i want to go to mass on that day and was wondering about dress code for italian churches. will i have to wear a skirt? cover my head with a scarf? does anyone know the answer to this question? thanks!
 
Dec 9th, 2002, 10:30 AM
  #18  
Ira
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Hi Emma,
This question has been discussed before. The general consensus was to wear what you would normally wear to church at home.

You might want to carry a scarf.
 
Dec 9th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #19  
what
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Pam - there's a good reason to avoid a town - lack of English spoken. How dare those Sienese fail to speak English. Do they think they are Italian, or something?
 
Dec 10th, 2002, 09:34 AM
  #20  
pam
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sorry, i didn't mean it the way it sounded. what i meant was that it was easier for us, with several children in tow and none of us speaking italian, to get around in florence.
that aside, i would still say florence was better. siena simply didn't "excite me"
 

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