Siena makes a perfect destination for a visit during the holiday season. The historical center is small enough even for a one-day visit and big enough to offer many events and nice shops for Christmas delights. The narrow medieval streets are already set up with all the lights and decorations ready to welcome citizens and visitors with the magical atmosphere of a Christmas in Siena!
The city administration of Siena every year promotes a series of events during the holiday season from the middle of November until the end of January. Art, gastronomy, and traditions are all protagonists of a rich calendar of events for both adults and kids alike. From the lights along the streets to video mapping in the Christmas Village, markets, concerts and special exhibitions... but, alas, we are not sure whether the majority of these things will be missing this Christmas 2021.
I finally found the complete program of planned events for this holiday season in Siena! Everything is still a bit uncertain, so we recommend to always wear a mask even outdoors for when the crowds get big. It is still difficult to plan ahead so just remain flexible with day to day plans. Happy holidays!
A show of lights!
The first thing not to miss is the lighting of the Christmas lights sponsored by shops and hotels from the 1st of December through January 6 - enjoy the streets of Siena lit up with magical colors!
The Monte dei Paschi bank also takes part as it lights up the Christmas tree in Piazza Salimbeni, right in front of central headquarters, from the beginning of December. The City Christmas tree in Palazzo Pubblico is to be lit up on the 12th of December
Mercato del Campo, the Medieval Christmas Market: December 4-5, 2021
The Medieval Market in Piazza del Campo held at the beginning of December has become a tradition in Siena. The beautiful piazza is transformed into a medieval style marketplace with Christmas atmosphere and stands for all kind of products are available, perfect for holiday shopping for the two days of the market. Half of the square is dedicated to handicrafts and Christmas decorations and the other half for food and wine.
You can also taste delicacies of all types, from ham, salami, sausages and cheese to honey, sweets, and cakes. The market is open from 8am until 8 pm. I really recommend the visit after sunset because you can get the best of the atmosphere when the stands are illuminated. It will be a chance to sample many of the offerings, enjoy street-food, cooking demonstrations and join in creative activities for kids. Usually, the restaurants around the piazza participate in the event; for example, you can buy a sandwich with grilled sausage directly in a stand outside the restaurant for a delicious snack.
The 2020 edition was cancelled and for 2021, the number of stalls has been reduced to allow more space between the stalls. Access to the square and market will be regulated and people have to show their Green Pass to access; a mask will also be required. You can find more details on the market on the new website created for this year: https://www.mercatonelcampo.it/
The Christmas Village and Land of Fun @ the Giardini La Lizza
Every year, the park next to the bus station and fortress is transformed into a Christmas village in the Lizza gardens. This December you will find an ice skating rink, several rides, trampoline, a mini sled ride (slide), many stands with carnival type of games and food stands.
Presepi, the Nativity Scenes
There are several Nativity scenes exhibited throughout the city during the Christmas period. It is possible that for 2021 some will be set up across the city in their usual locations but they are not being given any publicity this year if they will be set up. The official program does not mention them at all.
There are various temporary exhibitions organized during this period of the year, particularly within the large Santa Maria della Scala Museum complex. This year, there currently is one dedicated to the photographs of Carlo Vigni called "The Dust Industry" and several other temporary ones. You can find the list on the program linked above.
Events for children
There are workshops and guided visits planned for the Christmas season aimed at kids and families. You can check out the full list on the official program.
Also make note that over the past year, with the either complete closure of some museums and stop to events, many have reopened and planned openings on the weekends. So if you're at all able to plan ahead, plan to be in town on a weekend and it's likely you will find more things happening (including markets and street fairs).
If you wish to visit the Siena with a guide, you can always check out the many guided tours and activities offered through Viator here (affiliate link).
How to arrive and move around Siena
If you wish to get to Siena without a car using public transportation, make sure to read our article on how to get to Siena without a car.
If you come to Siena with a car, then make sure to read our suggestions for parking in Siena.
LAST UPDATE: 12/05/21
We make every effort to offer correct and up to date information, but please double check on the official websites we link to before finalizing your visit to ensure there haven't been any changes!
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