Skip to main content


Recently we've visited Siena's bottini, the city's underground water tunnels. My kids were impressed and so was I. Just that I didn't feel quite as relaxed as the two of them. The medieval tunnels are a narrow affair - especially if you're a bit of a claustrophobic.  

However, if you don't suffer from any major phobias and personality disorders, the bottini are a must see sight. Even more so if you're a geologist at heart (or just an adventurer by nature). This said, the visits are a little complicated to organize (only via previous reservation with the Diana association). 

Fontebranda, Siena's biggest and most important fountains
Fontebranda: fed entirely by the water arriving from the bottini. 

Therefore your best last minute option to get to know Siena's mysterious waterways may be with the weekly visits at the Santa Maria della Scala museum. This is also a good alternative if - just like me - you do indeed have the tendency to a couple of phobias. 

The guided tours at SMS will provide in sight in how a medieval city, which didn't have access to a river or lake, managed to thrive and survive thanks to a most intricate rain water collection system - all strictly underground! 

SANTA MARIA DELLA SCALA MUSEUM -the impressive museum complex in front of the cathedral
Every Saturday at 10.30 am. Price 4€. Call beforehand to book your ticket: +39 0577 534511 (or just pass by on Saturday and see whether they happen to have a free slot). 

Visits are in Italian, but many of the guides of the Diana association speak some English. You may want to ask beforehand if they can translate part of the visit for you. However, it's interesting to walk along anyway, as you'll be able to visit areas of the SMS complex, which are normally not accessible to museum visitors. 

Popular posts from this blog


Even if you came to Siena for art not shopping - it will be hard to resist all the leather bags, Italian shoes and designer sunglasses on via Montanini, Banchi di Sopra and Via di Città - the main roads making up Siena's corso or high street.  Pilgrims, merchants and the clergy travelling to Rome already did their shopping and money changing on these roads 800 years ago, so just follow in their footsteps for a break from the best museums  in town.  CLOTHES - ITALIAN FASHION A GOGO Many of the brand names and stores won't be new to you. Most of them can be found in every bigger Italian town, and some of them all over the world.  BENETTON: a must. No other Benetton store is looking anything like the one in Siena. Think  Renaissance building and frescoed ceilings .  TEZENIS, INTIMISSIMI, CALZEDONIA, YAMAMAY are Italy's main underwear chains for reduced budgets. If you travel with a teenager don't miss out on Tezenis (I'm far beyond


Planning to dine in style or just thinking of a panino on piazza del Campo? There is great food in Siena for every budget. Try the Tuscan delicacies prepared  with fresh local  ingredients by nice people in great locations and splash out on the wine list. SIENA'S BEST RESTAURANTS - Tuscan fine dine Tre Cristi Siena's oldest restaurant is also one of its best. Founded in 1830, restaurant Tre Cristi has kept its beautifully frescoed interiors but applies a light contemporary approach to ( otherwise often heavy)  Tuscan cooking. Some of the best seafood in town, Tre Cristi is also happy to cater to vegetarians .  Closed on Sundays. Vicolo Provenzano 1/7. Phone: +39 0577 280608 Email: Osteria Le Logge Even though Le Logge holds on to the osteria in its name, the restaurant off piazza del Campo in Siena's former ghetto is far from simple. Its elgeant location and refined makes of it one of  the most famous restaurants in Siena (Gianni Nannini is


Siena sports some of the most photographed sights in the world and you won't need a map to find them. But apart of piazza del Campo and the famous cathedral you'll be able to hunt down  countless lesser known  churches, museums and sunset spots which are off  the main tourist track. BEST PANORAMA VIEWS OF SIENA A nice sight in its own right, the walls of Siena's Medici fortress are also a great location for panorama shots which include the  San Domenico church, the cathedral and a big slice of Siena. For a close-up of the same panorama walk on to the rear side of  the  San Domenico  church, which is  de dicated to  Saint Catherine . Even without a fancy wide angle you'll be able to pack the cathedral its never finished extension and Torre del Mangia into one pick.