The streets are very tiny and there are no visible and clear signs in the streets of Siena. It is very easy to get lost in the city center.
Unique Suggestions: It is better to walk in Siena than renting a car. Or if you rent a car, make sure to rent the smallest car like the "api" or smart car.
It is not a trap as such but if you a lover of souvenirs like me don't think that you will find lots of shops of stalls where you can buy cos the only three shops I found were near the Palio and around 4 stalls always in the same Piazza Del Campo and believe me they are not cheap, but I don't give a damn cos I'm going every day there so I will take a piece of Siena with me.
And also do not miss the hand painted ceramic plates, they are quite expensive but worth it. I bought also panforte but nothing special.
Skip it. It's the tackiest thing I've seen in Europe. Juliet's balcony area is full of graffiti and gum. Yuck! There is very little history here but lots of stoes like United colors of Benenton and other chain stores. Don't go. Shop at your own mall!
Unique Suggestions: Skip the tacky balcony and the mall area. Have a long nice meal in one of many lovely restaurants.
Fun Alternatives: Siena for sure!
This is Siena's famous clock tower. You can pay a fee, stand in line and climb up this narrow tower with about 100 other people. Or not. We did not.
This activity reminded me of all the tourists waiting to climb up the Statue of Liberty in New York. We took a pass on that one, too. I'm not too fond of paying money to stand in line, only to spend the next hour trudging up a narrow flight of stairs with hundreds of other like-minded tourists.
Unique Suggestions: There is another place to get a good view of Siena, and there are no crowds. Climb up to the archway over the Via Del Castoro, accessible through the Museo della'Opa, near the Duomo Nuovo.
I had read that this was a sweet Sienese delicacy. What a disappointment. It is not really a cake but some concoction of nuts, candied fruits and honey that we found a bit dry and lacking in real flavor. If you like a lot of fruitcake you might like it, but who likes fruitcake?
Fun Alternatives: There are lots of places in Siena where you can get fresh breads and pastries. They are much better!
We did eat a couple of times on the Campo and I don't remember any names of restaurants - that tells it. Rick Steves says "even with higher prices, lousy service and lower quality food" you should consider eating here for the ambience. I suggest you have a snack, beer or coffee or whatever, to enjoy the atmosphere which is wonderful. Or pick up a picnic and sit on the square. The only meal I would call lousy was a lunch of pizza on the Campo. There are too many other good choices in Siena for good food.
Don't bother shopping in the little stores on the piazza for souveniers.. The prices are outrageously high and they're always far too crowded.
Unique Suggestions: If you've gotta buy something in the Campo, at least make sure that you can't find it anywhere else!
Fun Alternatives: Head around the corner and go up Via di Citta in either direction. The prices are lower and quality tends to be better!
If you take an hotel in the centre of Siena, pay attention with roads closed to car traffic. In fact, you can arrive at your hotel to leave your bags but you can't drive into it... so, if you need your car not far from you, I suggest to choose an hotel near the centre. By the way, Siena is quite small to visit by foot...
The ice cream, or gelato, in Italy is unbelievable. It's a little softer than the American version and the array of colors and flavors will trap you into going back for seconds and thirds and fourths and . . .