Sienna for one night?

Oct 1st, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Sienna for one night?

I am getting cold feet on my decision to book 5 nights in the Pienza area and would like your thoughts on spending the last one or two of those nights in Siena instead. We are on a 16 day trek - starting in Rome for 4 nights, then Naples area for 4 nights. We will have a car for 5 nights in the Tuscany area, and will end with 3 nights in Vienna. I know we can't see everything - and don't want to jump around too much, but..... I keep reading about how nice Siena is after dark - and dark will come early when we are there in November. So, rather than daytripping there and back from Pienza, would it make sense to stay there the fifth night? That would give us most of the day that we arrive in Siena for exploring, plus the morning of the next day which will be a Sunday, before we drive on to Venice. If we do it as a day trip from Pienza, could we have dinner in Siena and drive back after dark without too much trouble?
nancythenice is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 10:54 AM
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Siena is about an hour from Pienza. The problem with staying one night is parking. If I were only staying one night, I would want to be in the old part, but you would have to find somewhere to park your car overnight.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:03 AM
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I'm the type that doesn't mind single-night stays as long as I don't have too many of them, so I'd do it. Siena is great at night and, yes, stay in the old part.
Leely2 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:06 AM
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I know that parking will be an issue, but won't it be an issue for a daytrip too? I am thinking we would leave the car outside the walls in one of the car parks overnight. Or stay as close as we can in a hotel with parking.
nancythenice is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:31 AM
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This solves you hotel and parking situation. Stay at Palazzo Ravizza in Siena. We have stayed here as have many of our friends. Splurge for a garden side (quiet) room. Free parking.

maitaitom is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:35 AM
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I looked at that Palazzo Ravizza. It is more expensive than I would prefer given the exchange rate - but for one night may be doable. How long to walk from there to the central plaza? By the way - I notice I spelled Siena wrong in the title --- my bad. It shows what a newby I am.
nancythenice is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:51 AM
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From my recollection, I don't even think it was a ten minute walk to the Campo, but I could be off by a few minutes. I think other people have been there since me, so maybe they will have a better recollection of time. In any event, it was an easy walk.

maitaitom is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 12:59 PM
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I will be staying at the Palazzo Ravizza this Sunday for 2 nights. So, it gets my vote also!
joannyc is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 02:11 PM
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Yes it is worth staying overnight. We visited for one night and wished we had the time to stay longer. Don't be me wrong that, you will be able to do a lot with just one night. Have fun!
Gina817 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 02:20 PM
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I think for November it is too big a risk to book an expensive hotel in a town just an hour away from your base. You could get completely rained out that evening -- and find yourself shut up in a hotel room instead of experience Siena after dark.

In November, Siena is not likely to be overrun with tourists. Make it a daytime day trip from Pienza.

For what it's worth, I find Siena pretty chilly a town, with its violent history and still-violent, primitive palio. That's a subjective opinion, but the feeling that Siena is nice and romantic is not universal!

I think you might really enjoy settling into and slowing down in Toscana's prime wine harvesting and new olive oil area in November. You might find yourself very drawn to getting off the beaten track. If you get a rainy day, you might want to head to Saturnia to sit in the hotsprings. There is San Galgano not too far away. The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore in quite close, and fascinating history of the region, if you get curious, can be found inside walled Buonconvento.

Have a great time. I wouldn't change those plans.
zeppole is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 02:27 PM
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You want a night with Sienna in Siena?
hsv is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 09:57 AM
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You hit the right note Zeppole. I would very much like to remain flexible in my planning - so we can follow our noses and the weather. In fact, having no reservations at all is very tempting, since I have never been before and really don't know what will seem most attractive when we are there. But I can see that having the one base camp in many ways facilitates picking and choosing options as we go. Thanks for the input from all.
nancythenice is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 10:19 AM
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"For what it's worth, I find Siena pretty chilly a town, with its violent history and still-violent, primitive palio."

willit is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 10:51 AM
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zeppole, thanks for posting that. I have been several times and Siena has never charmed me. It is not a place I would choose to spend much time in.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 07:23 AM
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We stayed three nights in Pienza and moved on to one night in Siena. I'm glad I went, but for me at least, Siena didn't live up to the hype and I wished I'd stayed that 4th night in Pienza. However there is a lot more to see and do at night in Siena as opposed to Pienza if that matters to you.
Kennedy429 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 08:04 AM
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Parking in Siena can be confusing and difficult. We have found 2 places to park that are easier. Coming from North or South exit Siena Sud; go toward Siena and at the large elongated roundabout find the sign for “il campo” parking. Just follow the signs and park in the parking garage.

Another good parking place is by Porto Ovile. When coming the small Chianti roads. Follow the signs to” Porto Ovile”; Turn left just before entering the Porto and a little up the road is an open air parking garage on your left. The escalator is across the street

A nice inexpensive place to stay is BB San Francesco which is by Porto Ovile.
jnjfraz is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 12:26 PM
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I recommend spending two nights. We have been to Siena four times. During the day it teems with tourist. At night it is 98% Italians and it is wonderful. There are many universities in the area so it is very cosmopolitan and there are many great restaurants. Typically we have been the only non-Italians in the restaurants in which we are dining…as long as you avoid the Il Campo area.

As for being rained-out…I am not sure what that is all about. It does rain a lot in that area but so what…that is why they sell umbrellas. We never let the rain stop us. Just be sure to wear good rubber soled shoes because the cobble stones can be very slippery and the hills steep.
jim21 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 07:15 AM
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Jim 21 - What time of year were your visits to Siena?
nancythenice is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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Let me explain, since you seem to be having trouble:

The original poster has been tempted to go to Siena for one night in November -- not day, but night -- because of reports that Siena at night is much nicer than Siena during the day, as you yourself report. At night in Siena, the museums and most of the churches are not open. Therefore, all there is to do is walk around outside -- unless you get some huge thrill out of spending all night inside restaurants with just Italians (but then, simpler to go to Arezzo or Lucignano, or Asciano, etc.)

November is Italy's rainiest month. It can also be quite cold at that time of year in Siena. Last year, when I was in Tuscany, just south of Siena, it snowed in the hills. Perhaps you never let rain (or snow?) stop you, but it is not unreasonable for most people to think about how rewarding it will be to relocate for one night in order to walking around outdoors in a cold rain.

You recommend two nights -- which does give one at least two chances at dry weather. Up to nancythenice, but she should know all the upsides and downsides for her trip. That's what this weather talk is about.

Hope that's clearer for you.
zeppole is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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Hi nancythenice. We have visited Siena the 3rd week of April; the 1st and 3rd weeks of October; and the 1st week of June. I also visited on my own a number of times in January, February and March of 2001 while I was attending school in Assisi. I cannot remember visiting when it did not rain at least one day…except for one of the visits in February when it snowed instead.

The point I was hoping to make is that it rains a lot in Siena so you pretty much have to accept that fact and adjust. When we travel we like to move around a lot so having an opportunity to visit a classic medieval hill town would be too much to pass up. Then again, we love medieval.

If you do decide to go, our favorite restaurant is Osteria Nonna Gina located at Pian dei Mantellini, 2. It caters to the locals so do not expect it to open before 7:30p.

Hi zeppole. I was responding to nancythenice’s first sentence which stated…”I am getting cold feet on my decision to book 5 nights in the Pienza area and would like your thoughts on spending the last one or two of those nights in Siena instead.” I interpreted “one or two of those nights” as one or two nights she would like to book a hotel in Siena. I apologize if I missed something in translation. Sometimes my English is not the best. Either way…thank you for the clarification.
jim21 is offline  
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