"The true star of Tuscany" Top 5 Page for this destination Siena by Tijavi
Siena Travel Guide: 897 reviews and 2,705 photos
The rivalry between Tuscany's two major cities - Florence and Siena - is anything but legendary. Rivals since the Middle Ages, Florence was identified with the pro-pope Guelphs while Siena sided with the pro-imperialist Ghibellines. Florence's renaissance artistic treasures compete head on with Siena's spiky gothic masterpieces. Even in this age of Serie A, a match between Fiorentina and AC Siena draws more passionate fervor from the respective fans.
The rivalry is so intense that tourists are inevitably confronted with the age-old dilemma: who is most worthy of the Tuscan crown - Renaissance Queen Florence or Gothic Empress Siena?
My vote goes to Siena. And this has little to do with its magnificent gothic masterpieces, or even the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Duomo.
Siena's charm comes from its laidback-yet-culturally-sophisticated vibe that offers visitors lots of things to see and do - without the stress that comes from long queues at entrances to Florence's museums and the top dollar tickets that go with them (not to mention waking up at ungodly hours to beat the rush). Siena's narrow, wandering alleys are a great place to be lost in with treats waiting for the adventurous tourist in every corner, be it a handsome palazzo, a quaint osteria offering mouthwatering Tuscan specialties, or sublime views of the city and the surrounding Tuscan landscape. Not surprisingly, the more laidback ambiance engenders a more courteous, more welcoming local population (than more tourism-oriented Florence).
The best way to enjoy Siena would be to spend a few days here, and take things slow and easy, nibbling on every morsel of culture, cuisine and architecture that Siena dishes out to those with the patience to discover its many delights - and the stamina to explore its hilly terrain.
Somewhere in the winding alley between San Domenico and Casa di Sta Caterina is an unassuming osteria which, at first... more travel advice
Siena is not along the main train lines, so getting to Siena by train from Florence is a bit tricky - you change trains... more travel advice
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