About Siena

Things to Do

The Siena Art Institute organizes group activities throughout the semester, such as hiking, wine tastings, museum visits, and other events based on student interest. Program participants can sign up for language partner exchanges with Italian students, and/or to teach English to children through local programs and families. We also organize trips to other Tuscan towns such as San Gimignano and Florence.

Since Siena is a university town, there is no shortage of gelaterias, pizzerias, book stores, bars, movie theatres, and coffee shops. There are several local gyms to which students can purchase seasonal memberships. Students interested in hiking can participate in CAI, the local hiking club.

Siena has a lively music scene, with innumerable concerts ranging from Classical to Punk. Students can join local choirs such as the Coro Polifonici Senesi. Students interested in jazz music may want to participate in a tutorial at Siena’s renowned Accademia Nazionale del Jazz. A city of inexhaustible creative resources, Siena is waiting to reveal its many dimensions to all those who come equipped with an inquisitive mind.

Siena is a city well adapted for students, as much for its safe and tranquil environment as for its wide array of cultural offerings, such as an international short film festival, concerts at the renowned music school, and countless other performances, exhibits, and talks.

Siena is home both to an Italian University and to one for foreigners, offering visitors the opportunity to join in a diverse and active community of students from Italy and around the world. Interaction with the local university community opens up the city and allows our students to experience the many layers and personalities of Siena. Located just one hour from Florence, Perugia or Assisi, two hours from Bologna, and three hours from Rome, Siena serves as an ideal home-base for students to explore many different areas of Italy.

There are innumerable sights you will want to visit and many ways to visit the city avoiding the tourists that Siena attracts all year round. We definitely recommend that you do not miss some of the most important sites: Palazzo Pubblico has an incredible cycle of 14th century frescoes that depict the then current concept of Justice; the Cathedral, an imposing structure in black and white marble stripes; the Basilicas of San Francesco and San Domenico with their huge empty spaces devoted to preaching in the 13th century. But beyond the main sites there are other ways to look at Siena. You can go hunting for all the contrade fountains, dotted around the city. You can search for all the medieval gates on a walking tour that will have you walk around the old perimeter of the city. Or you can explore the tastes of our cities, going from one pastry or gelato shop to the next on the advice of our students!

Outside Siena:

Siena is surrounded by the most beautiful countryside you could ever wish to walk or drive through. Whether you have a car or you decide to explore by train and bus, you will discover that there are 3 main areas around Siena: the Crete senesi – the clay hills south of Siena, with stunning moon landscapes, and sardinian farmers with herds of sheep and cheese-making farms; the Montagnola Senese, the wooded hills north west of Siena, with the beautiful deep river Merse, and the ruins of the medieval castles that served as fortification on the boundaries between Siena and Florence; and of course the famous Chianti region north and north east of Siena, with all its hills covered in vineyards and olive groves where you can certainly go for a tasting and learn about wine and oil making!

Whether you are a gourmand or a hiker, you will find enough to make every one of your days absolutely memorable!

Sart life