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2 Days in Siena - help

Venice
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2 Days in Siena - help

I am an art history student from England currently studying in Venice. Next week we are spending 4 days in Florence followed by 2 in Siena.

We have our hostels booked and our trains to and from Florence, but I have a few questions about Siena:

1) Is it easier to get the bus or train to Siena from Florence and back again? Do we have to book in advance for this?

2) Any suggestions about what to do in Siena? We want to see the Palazzo Pubblico and the Cathedral - do we have to book in advance for these? Any other suggestions for places to visit or eat also welcome :)

Thank you!

North Carolina
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1. Re: 2 Days in Siena - help

Bus is easier and no, don't need to book in advance. Bus will drop you off at the city center in Siena....with a train, you will need to find transportation from station to Siena center.

Piazza del Campo is cool (though touristy) place to hang out for a couple hours (drinks, gelatos, or even a meal). Cathedral is spectacular...you can get a pass to visit the catecombs and also the top of the duomo is fantastic views of the city. Ticket can be purchased outside Cathedral and don't need to purchase in advance. Our favorite part, however, was just walking the streets and exploring. Siena is a wonderful city.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: 2 Days in Siena - help

Climb the Torre Mangia for great views of Siena (…wordpress.com/2011/…) Get a twofer ticket that also admits you to the town hall where they have these wonderful old paintings of 'good and bad government' -- the frescoes are decayed because salt used to be stored in the basement of the building, but they are still very interesting -- lots of other great art there also

if you decide not to climb the Torre, you can also get a birds eye view of the town from the top of the old uncompleted wall of the Cathedral -- the plan to enlarge the Cathedral was abandoned during the black death which killed half of Siena and so this fragment of wall is still standing -- you enter it from the Museum and it is easier than climbing the tower, although the view is not quite as wonderful

explore some of the Cantradi. Each Contrada has a fountain with its totem and the areas often have many symbols of their totem animal over doors and so forth

Montepulciano, Italy
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3. Re: 2 Days in Siena - help

My apologies for I really do not wish to appear rude but I am surprised that history of art students are asking what to do in Siena, you haven't come across the Sienese School of artists yet in your studies? (Duccio, Martini, Sassetta, the Lorenzettis) First off must surely be the town's Pinacoteca. I am far from knowledgeable on the subject but I find this gallery fascinating as the works are hung in chronological order so even non-students of art can get a clear feel for style and development. There are some very important works in the Palazzo Pubblico including Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Buon Governo, a fresco that is deeply ingrained in the psyche even day of residents of Siena and the Province. There is also an astonishingly beautiful Maesta by Martini in the next room. The Museo dell'Opera del Duomo next to the cathedral is another must, in addition to the cathedral itself. You can buy combined tickets but at this time of year you won't need to book in advance. On the opposite side of the piazza is Santa Maria della Scala, a former hospital / refuge with a fascinating history and some historically very important frescoes. Climb the Torre di Mangia, wander the back streets, have a drink in Il Campo and I would imagine what with this and the galleries you’ve filled two days. Re where to eat, continue uphill from the Pinacoteca and you will find many good value trattoria popular with students as you get closer to the university, especially in the small streets before you come out through the gate opposite Sant’Agostino. Another must-eat-at budget place is the infamous Gratta Cieli

New York City, New...
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4. Re: 2 Days in Siena - help

One piece of advice regarding eating out... Been to Siena a few times and we have a saying when referencing the restaurants "Full But Empty." You need to make a reservation well in advance if you want to get a table. Even in the dumpy spots. A room could be completely empty and they still won't accommodate you without a reservation. Most places only have one seating. The first time I visited we did not find a table till the 26th restaurant! And this was around 6:30 PM. I've never tried the tourist oriented Piazza del Campo options. That may be your best bet if you happen to find yourself stuck.

5. Re: 2 Days in Siena - help

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