When you are considering moving to another country for a semester or two, there can definitely be a lot to do. If Siena is your city of choice, you’ll have to decide on the university, find student accommodation in Siena and set up a budget for your stay. Here are a few tips to ensure that your time in Siena is unforgettable!
Siena is typically considered the most beautiful medieval city in all of Italy, and people visit from all over the world. The heartbeat and the main meeting spot for locals and visitors alike is the Il Campo piazza, which is known for the horse race, the Palio, held twice each summer. You may even have seen both Siena and the Palio in Quantum of Solace, a James Bond movie.
Rome was said to have been founded by Romulus and Remus, who were both mothered by a wolf. Siena is known to be established by Remus, so you’ll come across several statues scattered across the city. Siena sits over three hills and is close to one of the old Roman forums. The city was rebuilt under the rule of the Council of Nine, with the pavement of the piazza having nine sections as a representation of the cloak of the Madonna sheltering Siena.
When you are living in Siena, it won’t take you long to learn that Italian is the official language. Over 66,000,000 people speak Italian across the world, most of whom live in Italy, but with many speakers in France and Switzerland. In the United States, about 1,500,000 people speak Italian as well.
You’ll also hear a lot of English spoken in Siena, especially in the areas surrounding the universities, where numerous exchange students live.
The weather in Italy can vary, with the winter dancing between being clear or cold and rainy, as that snow is not very common. Temperatures in the spring begin to rise during April, and summer really heats up in July and August, where it is also quite dry. The temperatures drop in the fall, but they stay very moderate.
The rainy season is between November and March, with November bringing the most rain at 95.3mm. July is the hottest month, with temperatures typically around 23°C (74°F). January is the coldest month at around 7°C (44°F). If you’re looking forward to a swim in the sea, August welcomes in water temperatures of around 25°C (77°F).
Italy has numerous National Public Holidays for both religious and historical celebrations. You’ll usually find that attractions, businesses, banks and shops are all closed on these days. Many of the holidays in the area are quite famous, though, so you can expect a good influx of tourists during these times.
The festival scene in Italy is a huge part of the culture of the country, including celebrations for just about anything, including tomatoes, lemons, chestnuts, wild boar, mushrooms, pasta, wine, saints and even celebrities. Each region has its own festivals, so be sure to check out one or two during your time in Siena.
January 1 - New Year’s Day - National Public Holiday
January 6 - Epiphany - National Public Holiday
2 or 3 weeks leading up to Shrove Tuesday - Carnivale - All over Italy
March/April - Easter Sunday - National Public Holiday
April 21 - Founding of Rome - National Public Holiday
April 25 - Liberation Day from Nazi Germany - National Public Holiday
April 25 - St. Mark’s Day - Venice
May 1 - International Workers’ Day - National Public Holiday
June 2 - Republic Day - National Public Holiday
July 2 - Palio horse race - Siena
July 3 - Feast of the Redeemer - Venice
August 15 - Assumption Day - National Public Holiday
August/September - Venice Film Festival - Venice
September 1 - Regata Storica - Venice
September 7 - Festival San Grato - Aosta
September 7 - Festival of the Lanterns - Florence
September 19 - Festival San Gennaro - Naples
November 1 - All Saints’ Day - National Public Holiday
December 8 - Immaculate Conception - National Public Holiday
December 25 - Christmas Day - National Public Holiday
December 26 - St. Stephen’s Day - National Public Holiday