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Top Rated Attractions in Siena

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Banchi di Sopra

This street in Siena is best known for being an ideal location for passeggiata, a slow evening stroll common among locals. Upscale stores and shops line the road and draw many tourists for relaxing evenings of window shopping. Things are centered around the large retail anchor, Upim. Keep an eye out also for some great pastries, like the panforte at Nannini. This street is located near the Piazza del Campo.

Piazza del Campo

The Piazza del Campo is a wonder of medieval construction in the heart of Siena. With the piazza's unique fishtail design constructed in rust colored brick and white stone, the square is a result of excellent city planning. The square was built at the point where the original three towns that made up the city of Siena met and every building built around the square had to meet city guidelines so there was a sense of harmony. The brick laid square is divided into nine sections that represent each of the city's 'governo dei nove' or ruling governors. From a height, the sections look like the folds of a cloak believed to represent Mother Mary's cloak, Siena's patron saint. Today, the square hosts the popular bi-annual Palio or horse race that draws in visitors by the thousands waiting to see the majestic spectacle of thundering hooves.

Torre del Mangia

Once one of the tallest secular towers in medieval Italy, the Torre del Mangia looms over the Piazza del Campo with its clock face, brick shaft, and stone and marble loggia. The tower was named after its first bell-ringer, nicknamed mangiaguadagni, or ‘profit-eater,’ who was known to spend his earnings in local taverns. It is said that the part of the tower built in brick was a gesture toward the Italian commoner, while its height, which is the same as the city’s cathedral, was meant to signal that the adjacent town hall had power equal to the church. A climb to the top is rewarded with lovely views of the campo and Tuscan countryside.

Museo di Storia Naturale

The Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Accademia dei Fisiocritici is a great place to learn about the history of science in Siena. The academy after which the museum is named after was founded in 1691 and was one of the first of its kind in Europe. Visitors can examine a vast collection of terra-cotta models of mushrooms, check out a zoological exhibition of conserved marine mammals collected from the Tuscan coast, and explore an archive of hand-written documents about the history of the academy dating back to the 17th Century.

Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico

The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as Basilica Cateriniana, is named after the catholic mystic and theologian Saint Catherine of Siena, whose family home is located nearby. The church contains several of the saint’s relics, and her codex. Built by Dominicans on the hills of the Camporegio in the early 13th century, the church was expanded in the Gothic style two centuries later, and is one of the most popular among tourists in Siena. Pilgrims are drawn to pray in front the relics of Saint Catherine, who is one of the two patron saints of Italy along with Saint Francis of Assisi.

Santa Maria della Scala

This is the third great building in the artistic and cultural triangle of Siena. It has been in use since the end of the 11th Century to aid the sick and the pilgrims that trod the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, these pilgrims were referred to as "Romei". The various sections of the building really should be visited and the frescoes in the Pellegrino admired. Today, the building is open for visits and also houses museums and shops.

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