Siena is a popular vacation destination, especially for visitors to the famous palio horse race held in the Campo twice each year on July 2 and August 16.
Siena is in the heart of Tuscany, south of Florence and the Chianti Wine region. As you can see by looking at the monthly temperature averages below, the temperatures ramp up nicely in April and May, a fine time to visit Siena although you can expect a little rain. Later in the year the rains subside, and yet summer temperatures are quite moderate, July and August are seldom sweltering, but it's often humid. Often a little rain helps the humidity, and the days after can be beautiful. But the magic of Siena comes after the sun sets and folks begin to fill the tables in the Campo or in the Piazza Mercato, and the summer evenings in Siena can't be beat.
By September the temperatures have moderated nicely, and September and October are fine times to visit Siena.
Many travelers, especially those who appreciate a city without crowds of tourists, will love Siena in March, when it's cool at night but usually quite nice in the daytime.
Siena has a great deal going for it. The narrow streets, the Wednesday market, sipping a negroni in the Piazza del Campo...
There is an antiques market held in the Piazza del Mercato on the third Sunday of every month.
Siena hosts a jazz festival at the end of July, put on by the foundation Siena Jazz.
Siena's magnificent black and white Italian Romanesque cathedral, the Duomo di Siena includes the Libreria Piccolomini, Baptistery, and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. It's a must-see, especially around September when the marble mosaic floors of the Duomo are uncovered. You must pay for a visit; some travelers prefer not to wait in line and purchase a Siena Cathedral Combo Pass.
Let's face it, planning a trip to take in the Palio must be done far in advance. There are some way around this problem. You can buy a Palio package from a place like Select Italy which is all inclusive. This way you'll have reserved tickets to watch the event from one of the many balconies or in the grandstand on the Piazza del Campo.
In the Province of Siena there's a pretty little valley called the Val d'Orcia, which offers a landscape of gentle, rolling hills favored by many Renaissance painters. For many it's the essential part of rural Tuscany.
We had a nice and relatively inexpensive stay just outside the walls of Siena at the Hotel Arcobaleno. Highly rated by folks who've stayed there and centrally located, the Bed and Breakfast Il Corso - Siena is another option. If you've ever wanted to stay in a big agriturismo within easy reach of the city, Montestigliano might just fit the bill.