Top 7 Museums in Siena
for Cruise Visitors
to the Port of Livorno

Best artworks and museums to visit in Siena for passengers on a cruise to the port of Livorno

Updated: May 21, 2023

Siena has fabulous museums to visit, but cruise passengers on shore excursions organized by cruise lines visiting the port of Livorno will not have much time to see them. The good news is that visiting Siena's museums on your own is simple and easy.

Photo of Equestrian Portrait of Guidoriccio da Fogliano, fresco (detail), c. 1330, by Simone Martini in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena

Detail of Equestrian Portrait (fresco, c. 1330) by Simone Martini in the Palazzo Pubblico

Photo: Public Domain


  1. Civic Museum
  2. Cathedral's Museum
  3. National Painting Collection
  4. Santa Maria della Scala
  5. Archaeological Museum
  6. Chigo Saracini Gallery
  7. Piccolomini Palace

Even on the little free time allowed on shore excursions, the cruise traveler will not have the opportunity to see much. However, if the cruise traveler decides to explore Siena independently, or on your own, there are many options to choose from.

The Duomo and its museums are a must but so are the Pinacoteca or the Museo Civico. Here is all you need to know about the 7 best museums in Siena.

1. Civic Museum
(Museo Civico)

The Museo Civico is housed in Siena’s Municipal Building aka Palazzo Publico, which is one of the city’s most important Gothic structures right in the heart of the Piazza del Campo. With its imposing tower, the Palazzo where the museum is housed is impossible to miss.

Photo of Decoration of the Sala Del Risorgimento, 1886, by Maccari Cesare in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena

The Sala Del Risorgimento, in the Palazzo Pubblico, decorated by Maccari Cesare

Photo: Public Domain

The museum’s collection includes works of Sienese art and historical artifacts dating between the 14th and 18th centuries. Some of the Museo Civico’s highlights are Simone Martini’s world famous fresco known as the Equestrian Portrait of Guidoriccio da Fogliano on the Sala del Mappamondo.

Photo of Equestrian Portrait of Guidoriccio da Fogliano, fresco, c. 1330, by Simone Martini in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena

Equestrian Portrait of Guidoriccio da Fogliano, fresco, c. 1330, by Simone Martini in the Palazzo Pubblico

Photo: Public Domain

Visitors should not miss Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s frescoes depicting good and bad government allegories and scenes from the Life of Alexander, a fresco, by Spinello Aretino painted in 1407. Among many other works to look for the editor includes Matteo di Giovanni’s “Madonna and Child,” an altarpiece by Sodoma, and frescoes by Tadeo di Bartolo.

Where: in the Palazzo Pubblico, Piazza del Campo

2. Cathedral's Museum
(Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana)

The Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana is housed in the “Duomo Nuovo” and contains much of the Cathedral’s original artwork.

Photo of Interior in the Museo dell Opera Metropolitana in Siena

Interior in the Museo Dell Opera Del Duomo

Photo: joanbanjo CC-by-SA

The museum’s most famous piece of art is Duccio di Buoninsegna’s famous “della Maesta” sculpture. Other artists represented in the Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana include Pietro Lorenzetti, Giovanni Pisano, Vecchietta, Matteo di Giovanni, Domenico Beccafumi, and Sano di Pietro.

Where: Piazza del Duomo

3. National Painting Collection
(Pinacoteca Nazionale)

The Pinacoteca Nazionale is housed in the 14th century Brigidi Palace and 15th century Buonsignori Palace in the center of Siena.

Photo of Trinity, 1513, by Beccafumi Domenico in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena

Trinity, 1513, by Domenico Beccafumi in the Pinacoteca Nazionale

Photo: Public Domain

The museum was founded in 1932 and primarily features paintings from late medieval and Renaissance Italian artists that include Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Il Sodoma, Simone Martini, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Michelino da Besozzo, and Domenico Beccafumi.

The Pinacoteca Nazionale also has one of the largest collections in the world of 14th and 15th century Sienese paintings with gold backgrounds.

Address: Via San Pietro 29
Website: https://pinacotecanazionale

4. Museum Complex
(Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala)

The Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala was Europe’s first hospital. It was founded by the Siena Duomo’s canons in order to provide medical care for pilgrims, the city’s poor, and abandoned children. The hospital was later managed by its friars until it fell under the Municipality’s direct control in the 15th century.

Photo of Caring For The Sick, fresco, 1440, by Domenico di Bartolo in the Santa Maria Della Scala in Siena

Caring For The Sick, fresco, 1440, by Domenico di Bartolo in the Santa Maria Della Scala

Photo: Public Domain

After centuries as a leading European hospital, the building was renovated and opened to the public as a museum in 1995. Visitors are now free to visit the Archaeological Museum, the Art Museum for Children, the Center for Contemporary Art, the Giuliano Briganti Photo Library, and the Library of Art housed within the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala.

Where: Piazza del Duomo

5. Archaeological Museum
(Museo Archeologico Nazionale)

Siena’s Museo Archeologico is located in the subterranean rooms of the Santa Maria della Scala, which was originally one of Europe’s first hospitals.

Photo of Gallerie Nel Tufo in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Siena in Siena

Gallerie Nel Tufo in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Siena

Photo: Combusken CC-by-SA

Wandering through the museum’s cool arched tunnels, visitors are rewarded with fascinating exhibits about the history of Siena and the surrounding area. The bronzes, marbles, terracotta urns, and coins on display date back as far as the Stone Age to as recent as the fall of the Roman Empire.

Address: Piazza del Duomo

6. Chigo Saracini Art Gallery
(Palazzo Chigi Saracini)

The Chigi-Saracini collection, with over 10,000 objects, is housed in the homonyms palace on Via Citta. The collection exhibits paintings, sculptures, graphics, porcelain, furniture, costumes, medals and coins.

Photo of St Catherine Stigmata by Domenico Beccafumi in the Galleria Chigi Saracini in Siena

St Catherine Stigmata by Domenico Beccafumi

Photo: Public Domain

The Palazzo Chigi-Saracini was built for the Marescotti family in the 12th century and used as the seat of Siena’s Municipality until the Palazzo Pubblico was built. It passed to the Saracini family in 1770 and inherited by the Chigi family in 1877.

Besides the Art Collection, the Palace has housed the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, one of the best and most prestigious music academies in Italy and Europe, since 1930.

Address: Via di Città 89

7. Piccolomini Palace - State Archives
(Archivio di Stato - Palazzo Piccolomini)

The Palazzo Piccolomini sits on one of the most famous streets in the city, just south of the Piazza del Campo, and is considered one of the finest Renaissance structures in Siena. It was designed by Bernardo Rossellino and built by Pietro Paolo Porrina in 1469.

Photo of Annunciation by Giovanni di Paolo in the Archivo di Stato in Siena

Annunciation by Giovanni di Paolo in the Archivo di Stato

Photo: Public Domain

Today it houses the Archivio di Stato and a fantastic collection of parchments and medieval wooden book covers once used to bind administrative registers.

Known as the Museo delle Tavolette di Biccherna, these exhibits are unique examples of an art form long forgotten. If time allows, the cruise traveler should not miss a visit to this collection.

Address: Via Banchi di Sotto 52


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