Just over 40 miles outside of Florence, Siena is a medieval marvel. This Tuscan city is one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval communities. Most of the town is characterized by rosy red bricks. Toss in its romantic Gothic palaces, narrow streets, steep alleys, treasure trove of Renaissance art and fine wines and you have one of Italy's most appealing honeymoon destinations. While many honeymooners head for Venice, Florence and Rome, Siena makes for a quieter post-wedding vacation. Here, you can experience a rich array of artwork or head for the many hilltop towns in the area. Siena has remained largely unchanged for the past 800 years. This makes it perfect for couples seeking a slice of the past right in southern Tuscany.
What To Do
Siena may be smaller than nearby Florence, but the city packs a punch in terms of attractions. All visits to Siena tend to begin in the Piazza del Campo, which is easily one of Italy’s most remarkable and unusual main squares. The shell-shaped piazza is one of the biggest medieval piazzas in the country. Not only is it a good spot to park at a café and people-watch, it is also a good base for exploring the city. Many of Siena's attractions branch out from this central square.
Piazza del Campo is home to the 13th century Palazzo Pubblico, which houses the Museo Civico. The museum is worth exploring on a lazy afternoon if you want to see many famous frescoes by artists of the Sienese School. In addition to the Museo Civico, you can visit Siena’s Pinacoteca Nazionale, which has an extraordinary collection of Gothic masterpieces. If you aren’t much for museums, Siena’s charms can perhaps best be felt while getting lost in the city streets. You can walk Siena's ancient walls to get a lay of the land and a taste for the different neighborhoods. Walking around the ancient walls takes about three hours.
Much of the charm of Siena lurks just outside its historic walls. Couples can hit the road and explore the Tuscan countryside. A number of hilltop towns are within driving distance. These includes Murio and San Quirico. The most famous of the Siena area’s hilltop settlements include Pienza, the model Renaissance town, and Montepulciano, a city perched 665 meters above Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia.
Where and What To Eat
Siena never leaves visitors hungry. The city keeps to its Tuscan traditions, serving up classics like bistecca Fiorentina, handmade pasta and tasty salami. Enoteca I Terzi is a Siena restaurant that is perfect for lunch, aperitivi or a casual dinner. If newlywed bliss has given you a bit of a sweet tooth, you won’t want to leave town without trying two classic Sienese sweets, panforte and riccarelli. Panforte is a hard cake with spices and dried fruit while riccarelli is a soft almond-based cookie with a bit of crunch, honey and vanilla.
For a sightseeing-meets-wine-tasting experience, Siena visitors can head for Enoteca Italiana. Set up in a 16th century Medici fortress, the space holds more than 1,600 bottles of Italian wines. You can sip a glass in the establishment’s courtyard or vaulted interior. The space also boasts exhibitions about vineyards in the area.
Where To Stay
While Siena itself features plenty of hotel options, if you want to take your honeymoon in Tuscany to the next level, you can head just 30 minutes outside of town to Borgo Finocchieto. For those who have fantasized of going to an old Italian village, Borgo Finocchieto is the answer. Set up in the scenic hills of Tuscany, the property is also conveniently just one hour from the Florence Airport.
Staying at Borgo Finocchieto is very much like staying in your own private village. In fact, the property consists of a renovated 800-year-old village with a manor house and four adjacent villas. The villas can be rented out for exclusive use, providing honeymooners with all of the necessary amenities such as a full kitchen, outdoor terrace and even fireplaces (in some of the villas). Other amenities include an oval shaped swimming pool, tennis and bocce courts, a spa, fitness center and even an onsite teaching kitchen where you can learn the art of Tuscan cooking. Couples can also take advantage of the location, as the property’s surroundings include several appealing hilltop towns and local vineyards.
While Siena is filled with attractions, those seeking fine wines in the area can skip over to Montalcino. Known as the local "wine capital," the area boasts 200 vineyards in the 16 square kilometers of land around a hill. While the town itself is worth exploring for its pristine streets and remarkable views, wine lovers will appreciate sampling wines from well respected area vineyards such as Alesino, Caparzo, Il Paradiso di Frassina or the famous Brunello.
Did you honeymoon in the Siena area? What other spots would you add to our guide?