Unesco Siena the most beautiful province


Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Unesco: Siena the most beautiful province The Historic Center of Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city.

Historically, its inhabitants pursued their competition with the neighboring cities of Florence and Pisa right into the area of urban planning.

Throughout the centuries, the city has preserved its Gothic appearance acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries.

During this period, the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini influenced the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art.

The whole city of Siena was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape.

one day gravel cycling tour Siena Tuscany
Cappella di Vitaleta Gravel bike tour

This Tuscan city developed on three hills connected by three major streets forming a Y-shape and intersecting in a valley that became the Piazza del Campo.

The seven kilometre long fortified wall still surrounds the 170-hectare site.

Protected gates were doubled at strategic points, such as the Porta Camollia on the road to Florence.

To the west, the walls embrace the Fort of Santa Barbara that was rebuilt by the Medici in 1560 and finished in 1580.

Inside the walls towerhouses, palaces, churches and other religious structures survive.

Also of note are the city’s fountains that continue to be fed by an extensive system of original tunnels.

Siena’s distinctive Gothic style is illustrated by the quintessential Sienese arch, introduced to the city from the East during the Crusades.

The arch dominated later building styles including the Renaissance era.

Even when buildings underwent major renovations in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries such as the Town Hall, the Chigi-Saracini Palace, and the Marsili Palace.

Unesco: Siena the most beautiful province, is amazing!!

Siena is an outstanding medieval city that has preserved its character and quality to a remarkable degree. 

The city had substantial influence on art, architecture and town planning during the Middle Ages, both in Italy and elsewhere.

The city is a masterwork of inventiveness in which the buildings have been design to fit into the overall planned urban fabric.

First Criterion:

Through its urban and architectural characteristics, the historic center of Siena is expresses human artistic and aesthetic capacity in material form.

Second Criterion:

The strong, personal example of artistic civilization, its architecture, painting, sculpture and town planning in particular had a very strong cultural.

Influence not merely on the whole territory of the Republic of Siena but also in Italy and Europe.

Third Criterion:

The structure of the town has made Siena one of the most precious examples of the medieval and Renaissance Italian town.


The ancient ramparts constructed between the 14th and 16th centuries delimit the Historic Center of Siena

The city walls, built following the contours of the three hills, we find bastions, gates and towers.

Inside we find Bastions, doors and towers.

In addition to the walls, the property includes many other important original elements such as the fountains with their tunnels, the road network and green spaces related to the urban plan.

The public buildings and the residences including palaces and tower houses.

The Historic Center of Siena is vulnerable to environmental pollution and intense tourist pressure, which strain city services during a few months of the year.

There is also concern relating to the progressive abandonment of the historic core by local residents.

Although the region is identifi as earthquake-prone with a medium to low risk in 1983, current protection efforts is consider adequate.

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Unesco: Siena the most beautiful province

Taking into account its present-day state of conservation and its historical authenticity, it has to be said that Siena is a rare example of a medieval historic town of this size.

This can be explained in part by the fact that the city did not suffer serious war damage and has been spared from modern industrial development in part because it remains outside the country’s large development areas.

The environs of the city have been subjected to only small-scale interventions, such as projects undertaken during the 19th century, which have become integral parts of its present historical authenticity.

In contrast, similar activities have altered the historic fabric of other towns.

As a result of these factors, the original urban form of the city, with its 15th-century street plan, has been retained along with the Gothic design of its public buildings, palaces and tower houses.

Moreover, the function of medieval elements remains unchanged including the original vegetable gardens within the walls.

Traditional activities continue in specific areas of the city as they did in the Middle Ages, as seen along Banchi di Sopra and Banchi di Sotto.

These early streets were occupied by money changers and now are lined by banks.

Concern for authenticity of buildings and monuments has been identified in the removal of architectural elements that are threatened by pollution and their replacement with replicas.

Protection and management requirements

The Historic Center of Siena contains a variety of buildings under public, private and Church ownership. The property covers 107 hectares and is defined by the ancient city walls, which provide a clear boundary.

The site is surrounded by a buffer zone of 9,907 hectares extending into the territory of the municipality.

Since 1931, Siena has adopted “modern” urban planning tools.

Today, State and Municipal authorities are carrying out an active and continuous conservation and restoration policy.

Recently, implementation tools for the municipal planning and relevant regulations, which introduce the definition of the old city “UNESCO Site”, have been approved.

These tools recognize the need to maintain the city’s role as a representative place in terms of local identity.

The historical center is the focus of local identity, representing the economic activities and social expression of the community.

The urban planning tools followed over time have maintained these functions while continuing to ensure the historical relationship of the walled city with the surrounding agricultural context.

Siena Lands

The entire historic center is subject to the national Law for protection of cultural heritage.

Individual monuments are subject to a safeguarding measure which ensures any activity on the site must be authorized by the relevant Soprintendenze (peripheral offices of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities).

While the specific intervention authorizations are granted by the local authority, the role of the Soprintendenze is to ensure overall control.

In addition, a series of more specific regulations and preservation plans regulate areas of building activity and commerce, and provide for a limited traffic zone with electronic control of access.

City parks are enhanced through a re-evaluation of public gardens to maintain the ancient relationship between the walled city and its surrounding green valleys.

Studies and research have focused on both public and private heritage in order to optimize conservation practice.

Activities that will increase tourist visitation to the World Heritage site have been optimized in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.

Finally, with the unique support from “contrade”, the current urban planning safeguards the social and cultural aspects of the city.

Our wonderful province is “the most beautiful in the world”.

Scrolling through the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites you find Siena, San Gimignano ,Pienza and the entire Val d’Orcia.

You  realize that we are the only ones who can boast of this primacy. 

An enviable and little  known goal for the inhabitants of our province themselves.

All immersed in a unique landscape and that also boasts other excellence besides those protected by UNESCO.

A part of our province highly appreciated by tourists from all over the world is the area of ​​the Crete Senesi

It is enough to take the Provincial Road 438 Lauretana that from Taverne D’Arbia arrives in Asciano to be immersed, 365 days a year, in a territory that conquers, relaxes and fascinates.

Not only Leonina, Staffoli and Staffolino, the Transitional Site, Mucigliani, San Martino in Grania, Vescona and the lakes of Santa Caterina – Menchiari.

But also Pievina, Torre a Castello, Poggio Pinci, Chiusure, Monte Oliveto, Trequanda are names that many people in Siena will say very little, but they are a destination for photographic tourism from all over the world.

In all seasons the pitches are literally assaulted by passionate photographers from all over the world.

In spring and summer, it is common to have to skip a few stages because there is no place to stay in safety.

The landscapes that the whole world imagines when talking about the Tuscan countryside are those of the Crete Senesi.

Asciano and Rapolano Terme, the lands with gentle slopes that offers plays of shadows and lights that enchant.

One of the favorite destinations for bike tourists in the Crete Senesi is an area not reachable by car.

It is an artistic installation by Jean Paul Philippe located on a hill from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Siena.

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Based on 96 reviews
Manuel König
Manuel König
I rented the Canyon Gravel bike for the Strade Bianche and felt I had made the optimal choice. The booking process was very easy, Luigi is extremely kind, knowledgeable and helpful, the bikes are beautiful, perfectly maintained and adjusted to your needs and the price is more than fair compared to competitors. 5/5 stars. I would come back any time.
Silvia Dagnoli
Silvia Dagnoli
Top! Professionalità e disponibilità al 100%. Ho preso una Canyon Gravel a noleggio, mi sono trovata molto bene.
Very friendly, speaks good english. The bikes themselves are great. The bikes are nog insured by default.
Matthew Ng
Matthew Ng
We had 5 excellent days of gravel riding (self guided Tuscany tour). The routes that Luigi provided us were a good mix of paved and gravel, and of course hills! The bikes (Canyon Grizl) were very nice and the luggage was always waiting for us at the next hotel. Luigi was accomodating, modifying the routes based on my requests. I would definitely recommend doing a trip with this company.
Robert Head
Robert Head
The route was wonderful, with amazing scenery and history at every turn. Our guides, Sarah and Gigi were the best. They are both very accomplished and personable riders, provided interesting history of Tuscany during the tour, and emphasied safe riding while keeping everyone within sight. They are also great dinner companions!
James Twidale
James Twidale
Luigi and BikeRiding Tuscany were an absolute pleasure to deal with. The bike was in incredible condition, delivered to my hotel and Luigi even arranged for a local mechanic to help with a small mechanical issue after my first ride. The experience from start to finish was brilliant. The communication friendly and quick. Simona was equally helpful on collection of the bicycle. I would love to join Luigi for a cycle tour as he seems very knowledgeable about the area and a good rider. I would recommend this company to anyone looking to explore Tuscany or Siena.
Mark Gatha
Mark Gatha
Exceptional self guided tour. I highly recommend for all levels (but especially for a road cyclist). This is the tour company to book with! Bikes - excellent high end bikes. I rode a Canyon Ultimate CF SL Ultegra - light and fast and we'll tuned with new tires. My wife road the e-mountain bike which she really enjoyed. Routes - beautiful. We did 50-60km a day. Rapolano de Terme, Pienza, Montalcino, Siena and Castellini in Chianti. Varied terrain, vineyards, great climbs and beautiful medieval towns. Extremely well thought out. All on quiet roads. Hotels - all 3 and 4 stars with loads of character. The ones with pools were our favourites. All of the hotels were able to let us check in very early (it was hot so we rode as early as we could manage). Hotels all came with breakfast. Really great. Service - Luigi was a gem. Easy to contact, quick to communicate (before we came and during the tour) and passionate about cycling. He gave us a lot of great recommendations to help maximize our tour. I cannot say enough positive things about this trip and Bike Riding Tuscany. This was truly memorable. Highly recommended.
Bruce Jenkins
Bruce Jenkins
I was on a trip around the world and stopped in Italy. A friend recommended BikeRidingTuscany to me for an unforgettable experience and it didn’t let down. They planned a custom 1 day gravel ride for me that took us from Rapolano Terme to Sienna and back. The pace was perfect and they were gracious with any requests for breaks or stops for water/food. I enjoyed myself so much that I extended my stay to do a run on the gravel amongst the beautiful sunflowers. If you’re adventurous, and seeking some safe fun riding, this is your team
greg luckos
greg luckos
Great rental service! Nothing is a problem for Luigi. All bikes are set up tubless. Thank you

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