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Winter in Tuscany | Discover Siena

Posted by Luci Ackers on 6 November 2017
Related property: Stigliano
Winter in Tuscany | Discover Siena

Siena is widely considered one of Italy's loveliest medieval cities.

In the heart of Tuscany, Stigliano is just half an hour away from Siena and all the cultural delights the picturesque city has to offer. As the autumn and winter hit, Tuscany is still as beautiful as ever, and there is plenty to see and do.

Here’s how to make the most of Siena this season:

Sight-seeing without the crowds

The weather is still better than England but, because it’s no longer summer, you’ll notice a considerable drop in the number of tourists you’re sharing the streets with. Take the opportunity to see some of Siena’s most famous sights and get some great shots without all the crowds.

Siena Cathedral

The Duomo di Siena is a beautiful example of medieval architecture. It’s built in a Gothic Romanesque style and the façade is really fascinating with a large mosaic located above the front rose window.

The cathedral is open on most days of the year, so you can go and explore the inside as well as the fine exterior. There are different rooms and areas to access, so you will need a different ticket depending on where you want to see. Take a look on the website for all the info you’ll need before visiting.

Piazza del Campo

Famous for the biannual Palio horse race that takes place throughout the town square each year, the Piazza del Campo has been a focal point for Siena and the Sienese people for hundreds of years. It’s thought to be one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. The buildings encircling it are all incredibly elegant and in the centre is the Fonte Gaia, a large white fountain which dates from the 14th century.

City Hall

The public palace or Palazzo Pubblico, with its fine gothic architecture, is a must see for keen artists. It has been Siena's City Hall for close to 800 years and it's packed with the famous frescos of Simone Martini as well as other artistic treasures – the first floor being home to the Museo Civico. From the Palazzo Pubblico there is also access to the bell tower, the Torre del Mangia; after a 400-step hike to the top you can see the breathtaking panorama of the Sienese countryside. The Palazzo Pubblico building is slightly concave, fitting snugly into its position on the Piazza de Campo, you can’t miss it!

Check the website here before you set off for opening times and prices.

Events

Christmas

The main Christmas celebrations in Italy usually extend from 6th December, which is traditionally the feast day of St. Nicolas, to the 6th January, which is the day of the Epiphany. This means there is a good number of fairs and events taking place throughout the period.

Piazza del Campo hosts the traditional Christmas market, come December. It usually takes place on the first weekend of the month. More than 150 stalls transform the space into a medieval-style market place selling all kinds of local produce, food, drink and crafts. The restaurants and cafés surrounding the square also often get involved.

In the Giardini La Lizza, the little park near the bus station, a Christmas village pops up each year. There’s an ice rink, so you can put your skating skills to practice, there are things for the kids and food stalls too.

New Year

The festivities continue through December and into the new year. On the 31st, New Year’s Eve celebrations will kick off in the Piazza del Campo with music, fireworks and fun.

February brings with it Carnival which is always an exciting affair! Throughout Italy, Carnival is a pre-Lent season of colourful celebration, generally taking place in February. Traditionally the event is a public one and there are celebrations and parades through the streets. Different cities have different traditions and the duration of the Carnival will depend on your location. In Siena, there are often 17 mini Carnivals – one for each of the contradas, or city districts. There is music in the street, colour, dance, games and entertainment.

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Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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