The city’s cathedral is a reminder of Siena’s proud centuries of independence. Siena is just one of the glories of this area. Dotted across the landscape are the high walls of hill towns which once repelled marauders, but now welcome travelers, like Little Monteriggioni, with its quiet winding streets and perfectly preserved fortifications, and San Gimignano. This town’s fame rests on its extraordinary grouping of medieval towers (14 in all). This UNESCO World Heritage site is also noted for its association with the great Italian writer Dante Alighieri, and for its churches abounding with fine Renaissance artworks.
If you’re staying in Florence, you can see Siena and San Gimignano and surrounding areas on a day trip. Some of the finest Tuscan cuisine is served up here, and you’ll want to sample fine wines in the numerous historic vineyards. Honey and olive oil are among the other local specialties.