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“Excellent guided tour with Costanza” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Siena Walking Tours - Private Guided Tours

Siena Walking Tours - Private Guided Tours
Via T. Sarrocchi 18, 53100 Siena, Italy
(+39)577281605
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Ranked #9 of 40 Tours & Activities in Siena
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: Guided walking tours in Siena and in the main towns of its province with Costanza. Guided walks in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Customized itineraries and wine tastings on request.
Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Excellent guided tour with Costanza”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2013

There were five of us and we all agreed that one of the highlights of our visit of Tuscany was the full day walking tour of Sienna and the Chianti Region with Costanza. Costanza is very pleasant and extremely knowledgeable of the history of Sienna and the Chianti region. She is charming and explains things with enthusiasm and shares personal experiences, making the tour most enjoyable and interesting. From the narrow streets of Sienna to the vineyards and olive plantations of Radda, Costanza was very accommodating and pleasant. She also brought us to a local restaurant in Sienna where the atmosphere and food were typical of this beautiful region. Costanza is very professionalism and her warm hospitality made it feel like we were with a friend. We are already planning a return trip to Tuscany and we will definitely call upon Costanza to be our guide once again. Ray and Company!

Visited September 2013
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Amazing Way to Experience Siena”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

I have nothing but great things to say about Siena Walking Tours, led by Costanza Riccardi. With only a week notice and very little input from me, Costanza led me on a wonderful, history-filled half-day tour of Siena offering cultural, artistic, architectural, and historical expertise with a personal touch. She made most of our route decisions, but gladly followed any nudging or tangents on my part. Our email communication before the trip was both prompt and detailed, and she even arranged a private driver to get me to a specific vineyard I had requested. As the day progressed, I felt more and more like I was visiting a personal friend in her hometown. Costanza’s English is wonderful, she’s passionate about Siena, she has a great sense of humor, and is a great conversationalist. Constanza also helped arrange for a driver and led me on a tour to Castello d’Albola vineyard, Radda in Chianti, and Castellina in Chianti. I can’t imagine I could have been any happier with a personal guide to Siena and Chianti.

To be more detailed, see below:

Over the next 3 ½ hours, Costanza educated me on Siena’s contrade, palaces, history, architecture, artists, and twice-annual Il Palio di Siena horse race where each of Siena’s 17 contrade race for pride against their neighboring rivals. The entire morning felt like I was visiting a long-time friend who was enthusiastically showing me her hometown – albeit with much more knowledge than the average citizen.

We walked throughout the old city, toured the Piazza del Duomo and Siena Cathedral, talked about the life of the Sienese, and discussed not only Siena’s long and storied history, but also current events and local personalities. She showed me the interior plazas of palace compounds and explained their significance as way the wealthy could provide a safe haven for their families. She explained the city’s many frescos and the Sienese reverence of the Virgin Mary and St. Catherine of Siena. She scored me a free sample of Siena’s two most famous pastries: panforte and ricciarelli at Il Magnifico (see review at the end of this post). We talked about current real estate and small business dilemmas on the same block as a discussion on the Black Plague and how it changed Siena. We talked rivalries, both between the city’s many neighborhood districts (contrade) and with their chief rival, Florence. Then for lunch, with my only requirement being a place with true, native Sienese dishes, we shared an amazing meal at Compagnia dei Vinattieri (see review at the end of this post) complete with a glass of Chianti Classico DOCG. During lunch, we talked about our children, travel, and raising a family in Siena. She also gave me my first lesson on Tuscan wine and cheese, which include a quick tour of the restaurant’s underground wine cellar. We concluded our walking tour with a quick visit to the St. Domenico Catherine Basilica before meeting our driver, Fernando, to head to the hills of Tuscan wine country.

The hour-long drive up steep and curvy roads went by in a flash in Fernando’s comfortable Mercedes Benz and the accompaniment of the history lesson from both Fernando and Costanza. I was highly entertained by the tale of Florence and Siena’s plan to divide the Chianti region by sending a rider from each city on horseback into the territory at the first crow of the rooster; where they met in the middle would become the dividing line. The Florentines were crafty and kept their rooster penned up and agitated so when they released him, he crowed in the dark, early morning hours and their rider headed south. The Sienese rider, getting the much later start, met the Florentine rider before making it even a third of the way north. I’m sure this story provides more fuel to the rivalry between these two great Tuscan cities.

On the ride back to Siena, we took a different route where Constanza took me on quick walking tours of Radda in Chianti and Castellina in Chianti. Both villages were definitely sleepy in this cold off-season, but I’m already envisioning a spring or fall return trip to fully experience these beautiful towns with their attractive cafes and beautiful overlooks. The approach to Castellina in particular was truly amazing as the town’s spires peaked the top of the hillside with the setting sun just behind them. Pictures could not do this scene justice so I didn’t even try; nor did I want to miss a moment of just seeing it for myself. Costanza explained the medieval passageways in each village, and we even walked through Radda in Chianti’s short medieval walkway now lined with wine bars and other shops. We topped the visit off with some famous gelato at Gelateria l’Antica Delizia in Castellina in Chianti. Not only was the gelato delicious, but the shop keeper gave us the entire history of gelato with a passion one rarely finds in an ice cream parlor.

Returning to Siena and parting ways with Fernando and Costanza was almost sad for me. I had the most wonderful day and felt like I had made two great new friends. If traveling alone, I highly recommend Costanza for a half or full day tour (I also recommend her if you’re not traveling alone!!)

Visited November 2013
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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
“Great tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

Constanza, did a great tour for our group of 8 on October 7, 2013. Her wealth of knowledge and her willingness to meet the various interests of the members of our group was appreciated. She also recommended a great restaurant for lunch and went our of her way to walk us there and make sure we could be seated. I would highly recommend her and hope to use her service again some day

Visited October 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Costanza's walking tour was fantastic!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013 via mobile

Costanza's walking tour was fantastic! She shared the history of Siena from a personal perspective. We got an intimate view while walking the streets, visiting the historical sights, and meeting her friends at the local pastry shop. Her suggestion for a lunch stop was delicious (went back twice for the bean soup). We felt like we met a friend in Costanza! We would book this experience again!

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Verona, New Jersey
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Siena Tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

Costanza took our group on a walking tour of Siena on October 1. It was a pleasure to hear her describe the facts and history of this amazing city: the Duomo and its unique marble floors, the Piazza del Campo and Palio horse race (which she as attended many times), the medieval streets, different neighborhoods and symbols of each. Accurately described in the other reviews Costanza is knowledgeable and a pleasure to be with. She was flexible in arranging a time for our group as well. I recommend her and will contact her again when we're in the region.

Visited October 2013
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