Siena, Glimpses of medieval beauty

 

City of Art, good food, and of the famous Palio , many are the faces of one the most fascinating cities in Italy, as well as the best preserved historical city of Tuscany.

Nestled among the Tuscan hills, it still maintains its appearance intact; here time seems to have stopped at the 13th century, when the city began to be enriched with an artistic and architectural heritage which has consecrated forever its glory. To describe and visit Siena we must begin from the core of the city, Piazza del Campo, the same site where the famous Palio takes place, considered one of the most beautiful squares of the  Belpaese. The square has a characteristic trapezoidal shape and appears to be   slightly descendant towards the center, surrounded all around by monumental buildings such as  the Sansedoni Palace and the Public Palace. Looking the square from the top of its 102 meters, there is Torre del Mangia. But Siena isn’t only Piazza del Campo.

The Palio city is a succession of churches, such as the splendid San Domenico and Santa Maria dei Servi, of small streets full of shops and boutiques where you can buy local handicrafts products and taste the mythical “cantucci” accompanied by a glass of Vin Santo (Holy Wine). Walking along the narrow streets and the large central square, you can experience the true atmosphere of Siena, a young city but yet very ancient, monumental and yet lively. 

In addition to art, also food and wine! With 5 DOCG (Chianti Classico, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano and Vernaccia di San Gimignano), Siena is one of the wine capitals, and even its renowned desserts (ricciarelli and panforte) have obtained the IGP. After a lot of movement, take a moment to relax, maybe sitting at a table in front of a hot plate of the most genuine tradition. In the famous market square, stop at Antica Trattoria Papei, one of the oldest in the city, which has managed to maintain  through several generations the most authentic traditions of the Senese cuisine. Especially recommended the soups and meat. Between the Duomo and Piazza del Campo we point out Trattoria Dino where, if you still feel the smell of grilled meat for the street of Casato and in surrounding areas, the credit goes to Roberto and Donatella, Dino’s heirs. Amongst the main dishes, stand out those based on meat: Florentine steak, ribs, but also Senese braised veal and rabbit with olives. Also try the appetizers with croutons and local cured meats as buristo, capocollo and finocchiona. In a small street distant just a few meters from the Duomo, we find the Osteria Boccon del Prete, a friendly and casual environment where the classics of Sienese cuisine go on stage, served with great quality and attention to the details and pairings.

During January and February, don’t miss the stand which fries pancakes made of rice and orange, located in Piazza del Campo. They’re very good and cost a few Euros. For a picnic lunch or a quick bite, you should definitely stop, nay, “visit” the Pizzicheria De Miccoli, a delicatessen of the past situated in the historic center, which offers to its customers, attracted by the characteristic windows and views of the interior, a unique taste experience that has the flavor of a rich sandwich with wonderful cured meats of Cinta Senese and Tuscan cheese.

Amongst Siena’s monuments, how can we forget the centenary Pasticcerie Nannini, a must for those seeking to enjoy fresh pastry goods and typical Siena’s desserts.

As for your stay in this in questa lovely medieval town, Italian Traditions recommends three exclusive locations: Palazzo di Valli Hotel, a beautiful 18th century restored villa, Hotel Santa Caterina, both located just outside the walls, in the Porta Romana area, or the central Hotel Alma Domus.