Where to Stay in Siena first time: 6 Best areas and neighborhoods

Wondering Where to Stay in Siena for tourists, with a car, without a car? In this post, I will share with you what I believe are the best areas/neighborhoods to stay in Siena and the best hotels for all budgets.

Siena is a beautiful city located in the region of Tuscany, Italy. It is known for its medieval architecture, rich history, and cultural heritage. 

Siena’s history dates back to Etruscan times. During the Middle Ages, it was a prosperous city-state and a rival to Florence. The historic center of Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is remarkably well-preserved and offers a glimpse into its medieval past.

The city center is home to various landmarks, including the Siena Cathedral, Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico, and numerous historic buildings.

The city host the famous 17th century Palio di Siena horse race, attracting visitors from all over the world. It is held twice a year in the central square, Piazza del Campo.

Siena is a great base to explore the south region of Tuscany. You can easily take day trips to Florence, Pisa, Chianti wine region, San Gimignano, Montepulciano and Pienza in Val d’Orcia.

Where to Stay in Siena first time?

The best areas to stay in Siena for first-timers and tourists are the Historic Center, Aquila, Giraffa, Fortezza Medicea, Porta Camollia, and San Prospero. The city is compact and walkable, so you can easily explore on foot and public transportation.

Siena is easily reachable by train, bus, and car. It has train connections to major cities in Italy such as Florence, Pisa, and Rome. Additionally, it is well-connected by bus, making it a great base to explore smaller towns in Tuscany.

Siena’s train station is located in a valley, outside the city walls. You’ll have to take the Siena train station escalator uphill and walk or take the bus, taxi to the historic center. 

If you arrive by bus, the bus will stop either at Piazza Gramsci or at Viale Tozzi, which is closer to the historic center than the train station.  

Once you are in Siena, you can easily explore the historic center on foot, bicycle, and bus as the  historic city center is relatively compact and walkable.

It’s worth noting that the historic center is a restricted traffic zone. Therefore, if you have a car and plan to stay in the old town, it’s best to park your car outside the ZTL and use alternative modes of transportation for exploring the city.

The best area to stay in Siena with a car is the area just outside the city walls, including the neighborhood of San Prospero, Fortezza Medicea, and Porta Camollia. These areas offer accommodations with free or cheap car parking, and short distances to the historic center.  

Overviews of best neighborhoods to stay in Siena

Here is an overview of recommended areas in Siena for first-time visitors: 

Historic Centeris the heart of Siena and offers an authentic experience. It is home to the famous Piazza del Campo and Siena Cathedral. It is best suited for tourists who want to be in the midst of historic attractions, charming streets, and cultural events.
AquilaPopular neighborhood located next to Campo, where you can find Duomo di Siena and Pinacoteca Nazionale. It has a central location, with many shops, restaurants, and cafes.
GiraffaLocated at the northeast of the historic center, offers authentic Tuscan charm, quieter, and easy access to Piazza del Campo.
Fortezza Mediceaa historic fortress outside of the historic center, that hosts various cultural events. This neighborhood is suitable for travelers who prioritize convenience, easy access to public transportation and the city center.
Porta Camolliais the northernmost gate of the city and offers a mix of residential areas and tourist accommodations. It is a convenient, quiet location with easy access to the train station and the city center. 
San ProsperoOne of the best places to stay in Siena with a car. It is a charming residential area located south of the city center. It offers a more authentic experience of local life and has a quieter atmosphere. 

Below is a map of the popular areas in Siena. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of Best areas and neighborhoods in Siena
Map of Best areas and neighborhoods in Siena

6 Best areas to stay in Siena for tourists:

1. The Historic Center

The Historic Center, without a doubt, is the most popular area to stay in Siena for first-timers and tourists. This area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is characterized by its Gothic architecture, narrow winding streets, and iconic landmarks like the Piazza del Campo and Siena Cathedral.

Piazza del Campo is the main square of Siena that is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings like the Town Hall and the 4th-century Torre del Mangia with panoramic views of the city.

The Piazza del Campo hosts a famous horse race, Palio di Siena, held twice a year. The Palio dates back to the medieval period and has been held since at least the 17th century.

Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena) is a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. It features a magnificent interior filled with beautiful artworks, including works by renowned artists like Donatello, Bernini, and Michelangelo.

You can explore the Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana, houses a collection of masterpieces from the cathedral itself, including sculptures, paintings, and liturgical objects. It offers insights into the art and history of Siena.

Another place to visit is the Palazzo Salimbeni, a historic palace, the headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of the oldest banks in the world. The palace’s architecture reflects the city’s medieval heritage and is worth a visit for its grandeur and historical significance.

In addition to its architectural and artistic treasures, the Sienna Historic Center offers a vibrant atmosphere with charming cafes, restaurants, souvenir stores, and gelato shops. 

It’s important to note that the Historic Center has restricted vehicle access, and parking within the city walls is limited. If you’re arriving by car, it’s advisable to check with your accommodation about parking options or consider using public transportation.

Best places to stay in Siena historic center:


2. Aquila

Aquila is one of the seventeen historic neighborhoods, or contrade, in the city of Siena. Aquila is identified by the symbol of an eagle and its colors are blue and gold. 

It is a vibrant neighborhood, located next to Il Campo, and home to the Duomo di Siena, Piazza Postierla, Via del Capitano, Palace of the Captain, and Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena. 

The Pinacoteca Nazionale (National Gallery of Siena) is home to an impressive collection of paintings from the Sienese School, which was prominent during the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

The gallery boasts an impressive collection of Sienese art, featuring works from renowned artists such as Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, and many others. 

Best places to stay in Siena in Aquila:

  • Mid-range ($$): Residenza d’Epoca Le Aquile, located in the Siena City Centre, near the National Museum of Etruscan Archaeology, Palazzo Chigi-Saracini, and National Picture Gallery Siena.
  • Mid-range ($$): Residenza d’Epoca Palazzo Borghesi, located in the second floor former home of the noble Borghesi family, close to Piazza del Duomo Square. 
  • Budget ($): B&B Quattro Cantoni, located in  a pedestrian area, easy distance from Pinacoteca Nazionale Museum.

3. Giraffa

Giraffa is a neighborhood located on the north-eastern side of the historic center, an easy walk from the city’s main square. It offers a quieter atmosphere compared to the areas around Piazza del Campo.

The upper part of town is home to the 15th-century Gothic church, Basilica of Saint Francis. You can learn about the history of the Palio horse race at the Museum of Imperial Contrada of the Giraffe, at the underground of the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria in Provenzano.

You’ll find cafés, trattorias, and bars on the Via dei Rossi, and numerous accommodations here.

Best places to stay in Siena in Giraffa:

4. Fortezza Medicea

The Fortezza Medicea (Medici Fortress) is a historic landmark, built in the 16th century by the powerful Medici family, who ruled over Florence and the surrounding region of Tuscany during that time.

The fortress was strategically positioned on a hill overlooking Siena, providing a vantage point for monitoring the city and defending against potential threats.

The architecture of the Fortezza Medicea is characterized by its imposing walls and bastions, which were designed to withstand artillery fire. The fortress has a triangular shape, with three main bastions named San Martino, San Pietro, and San Giovanni.

The Fortezza Medicea has been repurposed today as a public space and cultural center. It hosts exhibition spaces, galleries, theaters, and a park.

The neighborhood around the fortress is surrounded by green spaces and parks, including the Giardini Pubblici Armando Diaz and Giardini la Lizza, which are great places to relax and picnic.

You’ll also have easy access to the pedestrianized Via dei Montanini, as well as the historic center. Some hotels in the area offer free/cheap car parking, making it a great base for those traveling with a car.

Best places to stay in Siena in Fortezza Medicea:

  • Budget ($): La Villa, 3-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Siena with a car because it has free car parking, and conveniently located just outside the ancient walls, and only a 10-minute walk from Piazza del Campo. 
  • Budget ($): Albergo Chiusarelli, 3-star hotel, located close to Siena Bus Station. There is a car parking garage with extra costs.
  • Budget ($): B&B I Tetti di Siena, great accommodation, located  in the historical center.

5. Porta Camollia

Porta Camollia is one of the historic city gates of Siena, situated on the northwestern side of the city and serves as one of the main entrances to the historic center. 

The gate was built in the 13th century and is named after the town of Camollia, which was located outside the city walls at that time.

The gate is a notable example of medieval architecture, featuring a large stone arch with defensive structures on either side. It served as a crucial access point for travelers entering Siena from Florence and other northern regions.

Best places to stay in Siena in Porta Camollia:

  • Budget ($):  Casa di Alfredo Affittacamere, located close to Campo and Duomo, and the train station, where you can park a car for 2 euros a day.
  • Budget ($): Bed & Breakfast Camollia, located just outside the city wall, close to Siena Train Station. You can find free car parking along the wall,or at 2 euro a day at the train station.
  • Budget ($): Vacanze Senesi, located close to the train station.

6. San Prospero

San Prospero is one of the best places to stay in Siena with a car because the streets here are wide, offering ample free car parking. You’ll also be located within around 10 minutes walk from the historic center.

The downside is you’ll have to walk uphill to see the major attractions in the historic center. But overall, it is still a great base for those traveling with a car because parking in Siena is hard to find  and expensive. 

San Prosper offers a quiet and authentic atmosphere. Accommodations here are also cheaper compared to the historic center.

Best places to stay in Siena in San Prospero:

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In conclusion, Historic Center, Aquila, Giraffa, Fortezza Medicea, Porta Camollia, and San Prospero are some of the best areas to stay in Siena for tourists. The Historic Center is the best overall area for first-timers and those traveling without a car due to its close proximity to popular landmarks.

San Prospero, Fortezza Medicea, and Porta Camollia are the best places to stay in Siena with a car. They are ideal areas for travelers seeking locations outside of the city wall with a quieter atmosphere, while still easy access to the historic center.

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safe neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Siena. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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