Siena and its water: a special itinerary

Siena is the city of water. As all the cities founded by the romans. The Bottini system, which flows underneath the heart of Siena, is a magnificent example of how, during the ages, the town was governing and managing the main resource, water. A fundamental issue for the commercial activities of Siena.

The Sienese were masters in water management, so much so that they created a unique hydraulic system in the world to supply the medieval sources scattered around the city.

In the historical center, right in front of the Duomo, there is an extraordinary 14th century building: Santa Maria della Scala, formerly a place of hospitality and care, today a large museum complex and European cultural center, which gives a split of life of past times and a picture of the social and economic reality of the city.

The water way in Siena

For a thousand years, this building has been telling uninterruptedly the life of Siena: starting from the Etruscan and Roman origins, through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, up to nowadays. If you choose to pay a visit, you will see that this is not simply a museum. It’s a cultural experience.

Halls and corridors guide you to the history of this place and its organization, such as the distribution of the necessary supplies to the wards and the water supply. Churches, chapels and orators, with 15th century frescoes of the Pilgrimage Lane, testify the religiousness of this place, born along the Francigena Street, pilgrimage stop.

The museum of Santa Maria della Scala

In the 20,000 sqm exhibition paths, there are several permanent exhibitions that can be visited with a single entry ticket: the Archaeological Museum, the Treasure of Constantinople, the ancient Fonte Gaia of Jacopo della Quercia, the Children's Art Museum and the ancient flags of the Contrada. Sometimes a temporary international exhibition is also hosted, with another entry ticket.

Water is a less obvious aspect of hospital life, but of paramount importance: in the museum complex there are monumental cisterns, hidden wells and wash basins that the visitor can follow with the thematic itinerary "water trails" illustrated by a pamphlet and a dvd.

The guided tour of the water course, curated by the La Diana Association, takes place at 11:00 on the second and fourth Saturday of each month at a cost of 5,00 euros per participant, for groups of 8-10 people. Obligatory booking from Tuesday to Sunday 10am-7 pm. Phone 0577-534571, or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Take advantage of this offer to discover Siena

Check availability
Book Call DASHBOARD_EMAIL