We will be in Siena for about 24 hours. If you have been there, where did you stay? What area is ideal to stay in? Also, is it close enough to any good wineries to take a tour maybe?
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Hi Kelli. I stayed at Albergo Bernini and LOVED it. It's this adorable little b&b, but the best part is the rooftop terrace, from which you can see all of Siena. And for like 7 euro, you can eat breakfast up there in the morning. It was a really great experience and memory. As for which is the best area to stay in, I found Siena to be so small and compact, that really everywhere was like a 5 minute walk from Il Campo-so I'm not sure you can go wrong. Have fun!
Kelli - as far as wineries go, will you have a car? If you do, you could easily drive a little ways north into Chianti and tour a winery. Look for brochures with the black rooster on them. Without a car, I think your time will be short and you might want to look for an enoteca in Siena.
Failing that, when you get back book a cheap flight to Oregon and come visit the Yamhill Valley.
My husband and I were there about three years ago. We found a Best Western through Orbitz that was interestingly very austere and almost felt Scandanavian. We left our car and took the bus into the main town and had a very lovely afternoon just wandering and taking it all in. Unfortunately, bus service was not very reliable and we had a fairly panicked search for a cab back to our hotel which was a mile or so from town. Next time I would drive in:)
Do yourself a favor and spend the whole 24 hours in Siena proper. You'll love it. Don't waste the time leaving there to go to a winery. Stay near the historic center, but try to find a place with quiet rooms. Get the Rick Steves book on Florence & Tuscany for specific recommendations.
Also, the one problem with Siena is that the train station is too far from the historic center. You have to take a bus or cab into "town."
I stayed at Hotel Chiusarelli (http://www.chiusarelli.com/english/) with a RS tour group. Decent location, nice breakfast. Their website currently has a note they offer a Rick Steves reader discount.
Central Siena is pretty compact, and there's plenty to see in a full day (in fact, I'd say 2 days was too long for me). The duomo is really beautiful. I enjoyed the Civic Museum right on the campo. The streets are fun to just wander around.
PS, I too recommend Oregon wine country, but that's a whole different discussion!
I think for only 24 hours you should either do the city itself or a wine tour, you can't do both and do it justice. Siena is lovely we spent 4 nights there and did day trips.
I also stayed at Hotel Chiusareli.Rick Steves tour was there at the same time all lined up to follow their guide.We enjoyed the hotel.It is well located,well kept. and a great breakfast.
I agree with the folks who recommend not taking a wine tour. Take your time and visit the Duomo (incredible) and the adjacent museum. We took an inexpensive wine tour, and while we enjoyed the winery a lot, the tour "guide" was useless and told us almost nothing.
You can enjoy local wine right in town...and don't miss the panforte!
Kelli, I also stayed in Albergo Bernini, and would most certainly recommend it. The owners were wonderful, and it's in a very convenient location. I agree with the previous Post regarding the breakfasts. While it was more-or-less the "standard" Continental breakfast, sitting on that patio in the morning sun, overlooking the sights of Siena and sipping coffee from those large Mugs was fantastic!
I agree with the others. If you only have 24-hours, there's LOTS to see in Siena so I don't think you'll have time for winery tours. There are some good wine shops in town, should you wish to bring back samples of the local wine.
You have to cut some other city out of your tour and spend more time in Siena. If this is all the time you have then by all means get a hotel inside the old city walls and forget wine tasting.
I highly recommend the hotel: Cannon D'oro.
and the eat at Gallo Nero (recommended by a local)
If you add a day then rent a car and go wine tasting in Chianti.
One note on wine tasting in Italy: I always find it best to say that you are interested in BUYING some wine and you would like to taste what they offer. Otherwise you will find them to be quite abrupt... quite a different experience from Napa.