A beautiful little city which sits just 30 miles away from its more popular, more famous neighbour has been dubbed one of the friendliest places in Europe.
Siena in Italy is a cute medieval city in the Tuscany region, and is around 48 km south of Florence. Pictures show its exposed rustic architecture and gorgeous scenery – making it a real gem for tourists to visit.
It was a once important location for commercial banking, but this was surpassed by Florence according to the history books.
The two cities lay just an hour apart by road, but with Florence being bigger and a more prominent attraction for travellers – Siena can often get overlooked.
But with a more intimate Italian way of life – this is why Siena should not be missed.
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Siena is well worth spending some time in, with visitors saying its charming vibe lures people in. Striking Siena Cathedral is also a notable monument to visit, along with the city’s host of museums and galleries.
It also offers a lesser-known gateway into the Tuscan countryside. The huge draw between Siena and Florence is that the former doesn’t suffer with the intense tourism numbers.
This means Siena will be less-crowded and will give visitors space to explore at their own pace. It has its own university and is still regarded as a cosmopolitan place to visit, but it seems its close links to Florence stop it from bearing scores of tourists all at once.
Travel website Dream Plane Experience says: “Florence tends to be more crowded with tourists, especially in popular areas like Piazza del Duomo and Ponte Vecchio.
“Siena, although still attracting tourists, generally offers a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere, especially in its smaller streets and squares.”
So, what makes it so friendly? The Conde Naste Traveller ranked it in first place in terms of friendliest places to visit in Europe, with its score reaching 98.33 percent for satisfaction.
In its blurb, it added: “The stunning Tuscan enclave of Siena is a pulsating city full of medieval buildings and lively café-culture.
“The main action happens in Piazza del Campo, where the Palio, a bareback horse race, is held every summer, but it’s strolling through the Gothic streets to explore artisan boutiques and authentic family-run restaurants where you’ll meet the real soul of the place and discover why it’s been crowned the friendliest city in Europe.”
The historic centre of the city is also considered a site of outstanding universal value by Unesco.
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But what sort of reception do travellers receive from locals? According to Time Out, Italians in Siena give off a warm and welcoming feel, which is not always the case with lesser-known holiday spots.
In fact, Anzio, which is just 30 miles south of Rome, is said to value localism over tourism. Reviews on TripAdvisor suggest the town is a perfect place to visit, but that residents may not always be so forthcoming.
One blogger said her American party were refused from more than one restaurant, and she claimed this was because they were not Italian.
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