Famous for the incredible historical and cultural heritage that distinguishes it and for the Palio, or the famous competition between the districts of the city that is held every year in the form of an equestrian joust of medieval origin, Siena is certainly one of the oldest and most interesting Italian cities to visit. In fact, it is not only the location within a hilly landscape of great beauty, but also the buildings of the historic center, part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1995.
Relevant religious architectures, stately palaces, Piazza del Campo: if you are thinking of organizing a few days in the city, here are some tips on what to see, what to do and which period is the best to explore the region.
- Climate, Average Temperatures and Precipitation
- When to go to Siena: the cheapest period
- Siena in Spring
- Siena in Summer
- Siena in Autumn
- Siena in Winter
- User questions and comments
Climate, Average Temperatures and Precipitation
- Best time: between May and September the days are better. A visit on the occasion of the famous Palio (2 July or 16 August) or in September during the harvest is particularly recommended.
- Period to avoid: generally the winter, due to the less favorable climate. But in principle there is no real period to avoid.
The climate in Siena, and more generally throughout Tuscany, tends to be mild with pleasant winters and sunny summers.. The fact of being on the Tyrrhenian side but in any case at a certain distance from the sea determines, in fact, the presence of a more continental climate than that present in other coastal locations. The wettest season is autumn, followed by spring. In summer, showers or temporary thunderstorms can occur, but not very frequently. Finally, the sunshine is good, especially in the period from May to September, or when rainfall is more contained.
When to go to Siena: the cheapest period
The cheapest period coincides with the low season and therefore with the most unstable months in terms of climate. By booking well in advance, however, it is still possible to find convenient offers in spring / summer, saving both on transport and on hotel facilities. A an excellent compromise from a climate / price point of view is late spring.
Siena in Spring
Spring in Siena is mild and more and more sunny as you move towards the warmer season, even if in the first months it can still be quite rainy. In fact, March and April are characterized by great instability, while May is much more pleasant due to the higher temperatures and the first real days of continuous good weather.
During this period (weather permitting), it is nice to walk around the historic city center, especially in the area of Piazza del Campo, perhaps opting for a guided walking tour (from € 19,00 per person) in order to discover the secrets and curiosities of the city.
If you have the opportunity and the desire to get away from the city for a few hours, you have a wide choice of interesting destinations located around the Sienese area: among many, I recommend the Belcaro Castle, with the walls of 1100, or Villa Chigi of Vicobello, Renaissance residence with a beautiful terraced garden.
The top is a tour of Chianti and the Tuscan castles (from € 60,00), which in half a day will take you for a walk among the most beautiful views of Tuscany complete with wine, cheese and cold cuts tasting.
If you are in Siena in spring, you may easily come across numerous second-hand book markets and / or stalls of various kinds. In March, don't miss the celebration of the ancient Sienese New Year, which is usually held in the Church of SS Annunziata, with the offering of the votive candle by the Magistrate of the Contrade.
Siena in Summer
Summer is hot and sunny with fairly high daytime temperatures. From time to time, in the evening, sudden summer thunderstorms can occur but, apart from these, rainfall is rather limited at this time of the year.
To escape the heat and find some refreshment, you could think of dedicating a few hours of your stay in the city visiting some of the most famous religious buildings starting from the Complex of the Duomo of Siena (fast entry ticket from € 17,00), considered one of the most significant Romanesque-Gothic churches in all of Italy. Alternatively, the Basilica of San Domenico it is another institution for the city, known for keeping the relic of the head of Saint Catherine of Siena inside. Very impressive is also the Chapel of the Vaults of the Basilica, dating back to the fourteenth century.
The most important event in this period, but in general in Siena, is the famous Palio, which is held twice: on 2 July that in honor of the Madonna di Provenzano, and on 2 August that in honor of the Madonna Assunta.
Among the most particular events, however, I point out the Sagra della Miseria in June: the idea is the rediscovery of traditional poor dishes, which have always been the basis of Tuscan cuisine.
During the weekends of the month, however, the Festival of Pasta in a small country hamlet on the outskirts of Siena with tastings, sale of typical products, songs and dances.
Siena in Autumn
Autumn days are initially pleasant, dry and bright but, with the arrival of the first rains, they soon become humid and gray.
September is the month of the grape harvest: from the middle to the end of the month, many farmhouses and farmhouses offer the opportunity to participate in agricultural activities involving guests in the harvest: a unique experience, in full contact with the earth and nature.
In any case, the second half of September is ideal for a full immersion wine tour in Chianti with packed lunch, to admire the expanses of vineyards and the farmers engaged in the grape harvest.
Later, from the second half of October, the periods of instability last even for several consecutive days: the best thing to do then is to take refuge in the most important museum of the city, the National Picture Gallery, in which the evolution of Sienese painting from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century is documented. Among the works of main interest, the Pala del Carmine by Pietro Lorenzetti, one of the masters of Sienese fourteenth-century art.
If, on the other hand, the sun still holds for a few days and you want to spend some time outdoors, you can head towards theBotanical Garden, near Porta Tufi. About two and a half hectares large, the garden was transformed into a university botanical garden towards the end of the 1700s and since then fruit plants have been cultivated, but also Tuscan plants of natural environments.
Finally, remember that between September and October (both during the week and on weekends) the churches of the city remain open for anyone wishing to enter for a guided tour or not, while on 8 September in the historic center the Feast of Tabernacles, that is a competition between the children of the different districts that provides for the decoration of the tabernacles in the area.
Siena in Winter
The Sienese winter is quite mild with temperatures ranging between 8 and 10 degrees maximum. Depending on the currents coming from the sea or not, cloudy and rainy days can occur, or cold and windy days with possible snowfalls and / or night frosts. It is not uncommon for fog to appear at the end of the day.
Taking advantage of this climate, sometimes spooky, it can be interesting to take a leap to Medici Fortress, located near the San Prospero district. In the shape of a large quadrilateral, the fortress has considerable dimensions with large internal passages, coats of arms, ramparts and an amphitheater where summer outdoor shows are held.
Throughout the month of December, you can find the ice skating rink in the city center, in addition to the inevitable Christmas markets with handicrafts and food and wine products.
On weekends, however, I suggest you take a look around the Piazza del Campo: the Campo Market which takes place every Saturday and Sunday in winter consists of a re-enactment of an ancient medieval market, with artisans who make their own works live and various shows in its vicinity.
How to dress: what to pack
- In winter: warm clothes (sweaters, jeans and / or long pants, scarf, gloves, hat), comfortable and water-resistant shoes, umbrella.
- In summer: light clothes (T-shirt, short shorts), comfortable shoes for walking, but also a sweatshirt or some heavier item for the evening.
- In autumn and spring: spring / autumn clothes (sweaters, sweatshirts, leather or raincoat, long trousers), comfortable and water-resistant shoes, umbrella.
Haven't booked your trip yet? Discover our offers!
- flights to Pisa (105 km from Siena) or Florence (65 km from Siena) starting from € 31,96 -
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- guided walking tour Duomo complex: fast-track ticket From Siena: San Gimignano and Chianti tour Siena and Pisa with local wine tasting