Here at SPI Study Abroad, we’re not prone to hyperbole. That said, Siena is, without doubt, the most scenic and enchanting town in the history of the world.
That’s how much we love this place.
So many people travel to the big European cities to experience narrow, winding streets, centuries-old artwork, and la bella vida. The irony is that so many of these cities (*cough* Venice *cough*) are so used to huge crowds of tourists year-round. Being a small town with less turisti, Siena preserves its beauty by being true to its medieval origins and passionately grounded in its Tuscan culture.
So, without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons to study abroad in Siena. We compiled this list using completely subjective and unscientific reasoning, fueled by our own wanderlust and love for this glorious hilltop town.
Reason 5: Everything is Instagram-worthy
One of the best things about Instagram is posting pictures of your travels to make friends jealous. Pick any spot in Siena, take a picture, and you’ll capture a dazzling scene of medieval Europe. Walking the same streets that were once home to Renaissance artists and influential figures is an everyday thing there. Don’t be surprised when the candid shots of your average day turn out to be crazy impressive.
Reason 4: The world’s best gelato is within walking distance
Remember, we’re using subjective, unscientific reasoning here. Whenever you sit down with gelato in a busy piazza on a sunny day, that can instantly become the best gelato in the world. Once you’ve had the blissful gelato of La Vecchia Latteria or Plurippemiata Gelateria, there is no going back.
Reason 3: The Renaissance originated in Tuscany and centered in Florence and Siena
A whopping 60 percent of the entire world’s art treasures with a UNESCO distinction are found in Italy and 50% of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites are located there. If you want to visit a country where you can truly appreciate classical artworks every day, start looking at flights to Italy.
Reason 2: Siena is not remade for tourists
Smaller cities and towns are definitely the best for cultural immersion! Life just moves at a more leisurely pace (think strolls through pedestrian piazzas rather than dodging vespas while crossing the street). You’ll still be dodging vespas, just at a more leisurely pace.
Editor’s note: That last sentence was uno scherzo (a joke). Siena and SPI Study Abroad programs are very safe.
Reason 1: Il Palio
In Italy, you often hear people say “Chi dice Siena, dice Palio”–“Who talks about Siena, talks about the Palio.” The festivities of Il Palio are central to SPI’s Italy program. The culmination of the festival is a horse race in the Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. Each contrada (neighborhood) sponsors a race horse and jockey, and both are decked out in the colors and flag of their contrada. Between the colors, the chanting, the horses, and the excitement — taking part in the festival is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Truthfully, there are way more than just 5 reasons to study abroad in Siena.
Through its streets and piazzas, you’ll find a joy for life that can change your view of the world. And, at the very least, it’s a pretty awesome reality — constantly giving you fun stories to share with friends back home and charming memories that will stay with you for life.
La bella vida!