After getting some rest in Perugia we were ready to continue our Italian holidays in Siena area. Early in the morning we had our breakfast, jumped into the car and headed towards the city called Siena located in Tuscany region that has some of the most scenic views of the Italian countryside. Out hotel was booked in Monteriggioni which is a small town nearby.
There are 10 provinces in Tuscany and Siena is the administrative center of the one that is also called Siena. The city is usually referred to as the small medieval jewel in contrast to the renaissance Florence that is much bigger in size.
Siena Holidays at the Italian Farmhouse
This time we decided to stay in the rural area near Monteriggioni just 15 minutes away from Siena to make it easier for us to explore nearby towns and restaurants.
In addition to that, fresh air of the Italian countryside makes you sleep a lot better. Siena is much bigger than Perugia and I didn’t want to deal with its parking and traffic system. The best way to visit this kind of cities is to leave your car at one of the paid public parking areas and explore everything by foot. It will save you time and make your life easier.
We chose the Italian farmhouse hotel called Villa Montarioso located in the Monteriggioni area which is considered to be the province of Siena.
The price per night was 85 Euros (breakfast included) and it included good quality breakfast, free parking and free WiFi.
Villa Montarioso is located in a historic building surrounded by nature with plenty of parking space. Our double room was nice and clean and had all standard amenities. Just so you won’t be confused the terms Italian Farmhouse or Italian Agriturismo are typically referred to the hotels that are located in the nature outside the cities. They don’t necessarily have actual farms at their premises.
Overall it was a good value for money that helped to keep the costs of our Italian holidays within the allocated budget.
Walking Around Siena
Siena is a beautiful city where most of the buildings are built between the 12th and 14th centuries. As you walk along its narrow streets you’ll see many stone towers and gothic cathedrals.
In terms of architecture I can tell you that what you’ll see in Siena is definitely comparable to Florence. To put it short, you won’t get overexcited about Florence if you visit Siena before. In many minds Italy is associated with pasta that has so many varieties depending on the region.
Siena has its own traditional pasta called Pici that looks like thick spaghetti and is served at every local restaurant.
The Siena Cathedral is one of the main attractions of the city.
Next to the cathedral you’ll see a column with a statue of Capitoline Wolf that is the symbol of Siena.
As you can see, the main difference from the original Roman statute is that the She-Wolf in Siena is looking straight forward while the one in Rome is looking to the side.
The central square is called Piazza del Campo remarkable for its form that is divided into 9 segments like a cake.
Tuscany on the Italian Wine Regions Map
Tuscany is one of the key Italian wine regions mostly famous for its red wines.
In fact, dry red wines constitute about 80% of all wine types produced here. Sangiovese is the main kind of red wine grape cultivated in Tuscany since the ancient Etruscan times. Sangiovese grapes are classified by the two key groups. The first one called Sangiovese Grosso is used to produce world famous Brunello di Montalcino and the second one called Sangiovese Piccolo used for more casual types of wines.
Siena province has more than 250 wineries that sell wine and offer wine tours. Two of the most famous wine making zones of Tuscany are also located in the province area of Siena. These zones are formed around two medieval towns Montalcino and Montepulciano that I’ll write about in a different post.
During this stop near Siena we made a visit to the winery called Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni located just 15 minutes away from our hotel by car.
Monteriggioni is a small ancient castle village surrounded by walls.
It was used as a defense point to protect the city of Siena from Florence that was one of its key rivals during ancient times.
The winery is located near the central square called Piazza di Rome along with some tourist gift shops and small restaurants.
Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni was started as a farm in 1964 and today it produces its own wines and olive oil.
Basically all the vineyards you’ll see around the walls of Monteriggioni belong to this winery.
We didn’t do any wine tasting because we forgot to make our reservation, but if you book it in advance they’ll guide you through their wine-cellars and explain a lot of things about wine.
Overall we have spent about 1.5 hours there walking around Monteriggioni and browsing the winery. After that it was time to continue our Italian holidays with the next stop in Lucca.