Hi, my name is Juta and welcome to my article on how to discover the authentic Tuscan vibe in Siena. Before I cover all the fascinating and fun activities that this city has to offer, let me introduce myself. I’m originally from the tiny Nordic country of Estonia. It’s cold here for most of the year, so I’m always seeking to travel to sunny and tropical places. Luckily, I’m married to a man who shares the same passion for traveling and food!
We even run our own business together – selling rare spices and exotic food ingredients from all over the world. He is also the man behind our cameras! We have visited 53 countries so far. Once we spent a year backpacking and later we moved to different countries for longer periods. These included Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Thailand, Mexico and Bali.
Another love of mine, apart from being a creator coach and a mum, is writing. I’m an author of three books about travel and food. My fourth book – the art of living in Provence, will be out before Christmas. I’m sharing my experiences on Instagram as it ticks many boxes in terms of photography, writing, storytelling, traveling and food. I like to stay healthy and fit, which gives me the chance to add these topics to my content as well!
Why Siena is So Special
I visited Tuscany some years ago and had already seen the most famous sights such as Florence, Pisa, etc. So this year – when we lived in Provence (just a few hours drive away) – we decided to travel slowly and immerse ourselves in the real Tuscany. We booked airbnbs in the middle of the areas with the most beautiful landscapes and visited the small towns around us.
Siena, with its rich history, was one of the first places on our list. Since we were staying close by, we spent a day in each of the towns including Siena. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the old streets and the magnificent white cathedral that sits like an angel on top of this hilltop town. I also loved trying the gelatos and sitting down at the cafes on the Piazza del Campo to have a coffee, tiramisu and just spend time people-watching.
Other highlights were checking out the art galleries, and small boutiques selling high quality souvenirs and handicrafts, finding small local restaurants to eat at, trying the handmade pici pasta with wild boar ragu and having some Montalcino red wine with it. It was simple but delicious!
In my opinion, Siena is where you can discover the real Tuscan vibe. It’s much easier to do this than in the cities that are 10x bigger. The city is very walkable, and you can feel the history in every step and breath. You can also take trips to picturesque villages and explore the surrounding beauty.
My Favorite Place in Siena
Duomo di Siena was my favorite place. I’m not usually into churches but the stunning white cathedral in the middle of the red-colored old town was something special. Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares, is another sight to behold. That being said, some of my top spots were the little streets and corners that aren’t filled with tourists/guides.
Authentic Things To Do in Siena
- Visit the wineries
- Join a Tuscan cooking class
- Marvel at the Siena Cathedral
- Embark on a road trip to Val d’Orcia
- Climb up to the top of Torre del Mangia
- Check out the Bagni di San Filippo thermal baths
- Have a gelato at La Vecchia Latteria – they are phenomenal
- Take a day trip to San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Monticchiello, Pienza.
Need to Know Before You Go
I didn’t stay in Siena, as I was based in a small agriturismo in Asciano. It was called La Coppa and the owner Angela makes the best Tuscan food! I’m a fan of staying in the agriturismos to get the real feeling of local life, so that is my recommendation. There are many beautiful ones around Siena.
In regards to when to visit, April, May or September are best because you can beat the crowds then. You will get a much better experience. But of course if you want to witness the historic Palio di Siena horse race in the Piazza del Campo, you should come in July and August. Expect higher temperatures and more tourists during these months though.