Gardens in Siena: resting and cooking

Every town has a hidden treasure. Sometimes more than one. It lies in the courtyards, in the halls, in the gardens. Between the walls of a cloister. When you walk in the streets of Siena, you can only imagine what’s behind those heavy, wooden huge doors with bronze, big knockers. Som0etimes these hidden places have private owners, and sometimes they are just out of the touristic traditional paths. Or they are simply closed because there is no watchmen.

Botanic and vegetable gardens in Siena

This is our special itinerary dedicated to the city garden in Siena.

The Orto dei semplici was once inside the Santa Maria della Scala Hospital was used for the cultivation of medicinal plants. In 1856, it was moved where it is now. The garden is one of the hugest in Italy and is divided in in three different sections. The first section contains local varieties of Tuscany plants, including some medicinal and aromatic herbs used in the kitchen. A second section contains aquatic plants, in addition to some exotic trees and shrubs, which are not part of the local flora, such as quince tree, pomegranate and juniper tree. The third section is dedicated to fruit trees, cacti and plants of the agave family.

From this garden, you can go towards the Market square and arrive to Orto de’Pecci. Go down the stairs leading to the underlying fields. Take the small road to the right of Via del Sole. A few steps down this street and past the gate, you will find a place wrapped in the perfume of lavender, rosemary and Tuscan plants. The view from this place is enchanting.

Public parks in the history of Siena

La Lizza is public park and its fountain is located opposite the Fort of Santa Barbara, a fortress built by Cosimo I, of the Medici family, after Florence gained the hegemony on Siena. This fort was open to the public in the late 1778s. The area inside the fortress is used for recreational activities, parties and for projecting outdoor movies during the summer. A beautiful view over Siena and the surrounding countryside can be enjoyed from the top of the ramparts dating to the 16th century. The Fortress also hosts the Enoteca Italiana, which sponsors wine exhibitions, events and conferences around the world.

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