Many travellers choose Siena as a base while visiting Tuscany, where they can experience the liveliness of city life while also exploring the best of what Tuscany has to offer around the more rural areas. If you’re on a budget and looking for cheap day trips from Siena, check our suggestions for some places to go. If you have access to a car, you can appreciate the iconic Tuscan countryside, with its rolling hills, farms and cypress-lined roads, stopping at your leisure. But fear not, those without a car can still get the full experience using public transportation.
Monteriggioni is one of the most incredible and quintessential medieval Tuscan villages. The walled town was built on a hill by the Sienese in the 13th century so they could protect front line from their rivals, the Florentines. It was also a strategic point for controlling the nearby stretch of the via Francigena.
Monteriggioni is well preserved and boasts magnificent defense walls dotted with 14 towers. You can enter through the Porta Franca or San Giovanni, immediately diving into the heart of the village. The main square is called piazza Roma and features the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. You can also visit the museum with replicas of medieval and Renaissance weaponry and armour and walk along the walls, from where you can admire the beautiful Chianti countryside and the Val d’Elsa. Read this for more info about Monteriggioni.
How to reach Monteriggioni:
- The easiest way to reach Monteriggioni is by car: take the Via Cassia SS2 and exit at Monteriggioni.
- Another option is the bus: from Siena, you can take bus 130 A and the journey is about 25 minutes.
San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its 13th- and 14th-century appearance that has remained intact. Strolling down its streets means traveling back in time and the entire town is a must-see. You can start at the impressive entrance to the town, Porta San Giovanni, before moving to piazza della Cisterna, where a big cistern built in 1287 still stands today. Piazza del Duomo is in the heart of San Gimignano and is where you’ll find Palazzo del Podestà, Palazzo del Popolo, the Loggia and various medieval towers like Torre Grossa, which houses the Civic Museum. Read this for more info about San Gimignano.
How to reach San Gimignano:
- Parking in San Gimignano can be expensive, so even though driving is the easiest way to reach San Gimignano, you may want to consider other options.
- There is no train station in San Gimignano, so you if want to take the train, you’ll need to arrive in Poggibonsi. From the station, you can take bus 133 A.
- If you leave from Siena, bus 130 A will take you directly to the town.
Bagno Vignoni is a small town situated in the Val d’Orcia and well-known for its hot springs, which have been used since Roman times. Located along the via Francigena, the main square of Bagno Vignoni is unique, as here you can find a large pool that was built directly atop the springs. While this is one of the most iconic images of Tuscany, swimming in the pool is forbidden today. Instead, you can take a dip in the therapeutic waters at the Parco dei Mulini, located below the village. Among the main sights to see in Bagno Vignoni, you’ll want to visit the Antiche Terme di Santa Caterina and the Church of San Giovanni Battista.
How to reach Bagno Vignoni:
- Like Monteriggioni and San Gimignano, the best way to reach Bagno Vignoni is by car.
- If you go by bus, you can take bus 54A-Di directly from Siena (there are very few buses per day).
Pienza was conceived of by Pope Pius II and was built over the medieval castle of Corsignano. UNESCO has designated it a World Heritage Site, and after a walk around the town, you definitely understand why. You can read our post on the town, but to sum it up, make sure not to miss piazza Pio II, the cathedral, the historic palazzi and the romantically-named streets like via del Bacio (Kiss Street) and via dell’Amore (Love Street), not to mention the magnificent views over the Val d’Orcia. Pienza also boasts culinary delicacies like famous cheese, pici pasta, and Cinta Senese sausages.
How to reach Pienza:
- From Porta Pispini, take bus 112; the journey lasts about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Nestled between the Val D’Orcia and the Val di Chiana, Montepulciano is a medieval village known as “la perla del 1500” (the jewel of 1500s”) because it boasts remarkable masterpieces from the Renaissance. It is famous worldwide for its Vino Nobile, as well as for its splendid Renaissance art and architecture, like the castle, piazza Grande – found at the highest point in town – and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Read this for more info about Montepulciano.
How to reach Montepulciano:
- From Due Ponti, take bus 139; the journey lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- You can also take a train from the Siena station (it’s located about 3 km from the city centre), arriving directly in Montepulciano in about an hour.