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Santa Maria della Scala Tours

Santa Maria della Scala
One of Europe’s first hospitals, Santa Maria della Scala was endowed by Siena’s wealthiest medieval families, who also commissioned artworks to decorate the building. View the original frescoes and altarpieces inside the chapels and oratories of this historic hospital, now a museum, on a tour of Siena’s most important sights.
 
The Basics
Across the square from the city’s soaring cathedral, the Maria della Scala hospital is a large complex of chapels and buildings where passing pilgrims, as well as Siena’s poor and orphaned children, were housed from the 12th to the 18th century. The most influential families in Siena donated funds and works of art to the hospital to demonstrate their piety and power. Though the external frescoes are now lost, many interior works remain.
 
Santa Maria della Scala is one of the top attractions in Siena, and a highlight of most walking tours of the historic center, along with the main square (Piazza del Campo) and cathedral. Siena is a popular stop on day trips to Tuscany’s Chianti region from Florence and Rome, along with Pisa or the hill towns of Tuscany. Full-day sightseeing itineraries usually include a stop for lunch and wine tasting.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Some areas of Santa Maria della Scala are not accessible to wheelchair users, or require staff assistance. Contact the museum staff in advance for complete information.
  • Exploring Santa Maria della Scala requires a fair bit of walking, so choose comfortable shoes.
  • Photography without flash is allowed inside the complex.
 
How to Get There
Santa Maria della Scala is on Piazza Duomo (the square in front of the cathedral) in Siena’s pedestrian-only historic center, and can only be reached on foot.
 
When to Get There
The complex stays open late on Thursdays most of the year, so time your visit for evening to avoid the daytime crowds.
 
Highlights of Santa Maria della Scala
Inside Santa Maria della Scala is a fresco cycle that depicts the history of the hospital. Also on view are a number of frescoes and altarpieces centered on the life of the Virgin, and original details from Jacopo della Quercia’s Fonte Gaia (Fountain of Joy) in Siena’s Piazza del Campo. The complex also houses the National Archaeological Museum, a section dedicated to the history of Siena, a Children’s Museum, and other permanent and temporary exhibits.
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 2, Siena, Tuscany 53100, Italy
Admission: Varies
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6 Tours and Activities to Experience Santa Maria della Scala

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Discover the ancient hospital of Santa Maria della Scala

Discover the ancient hospital of Santa Maria della Scala

During your visit in Santa Maria della Scala you will discover the history of this immense hospital located in front of the Cathedral, founded between the 9th and 11th centuries, which was the hospital of Siena until the nineties of the 20th century. You will begin your visit in the Old Sacristy, where you will admire beautiful frescoes and the precious relics that attracted pilgrims to visit this building. The hall “Sala del Pellegrinaio” was the place that welcomed pilgrims and afterwards became a hospital ward. The frescoes in this room tell the history of the construction of the Hospital and its activities and show the objects that were used, the clothes that people wore and the architecture of the hospital. The guide will lead you then to discover the original marbles of Fonte Gaia made in the 15th century, in Pz del Campo there is a 19th-century copy. Finally, you will visit the Oratory, where the St.Catherine rested and prayed after having dedicated herself to works of charity.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$114.71
Price varies by group size
From
$114.71
Price varies by group size

Guided walking tour of Siena

Guided walking tour of Siena

star-4
Siena is a treasure trove of historical, artistic, religious and cultural riches all to be discovered. The best way to do it is on foot, admiring the changes to the town over the centuries and enjoying the spectacular scenery and curious particulars. With an authorized guide you will be able to appreciate the major tourist attractions like Piazza del Campo, the true heart of the town, the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), the Cathedral and the majestic Basilica of San Domenico. There will also be no lack of references to the great noble families, such as the Piccolomini, Tolomei and Salimbeni, and their palazzos, to the great tradition of the Siena Palio, but also to the stories of pilgrimage and saintliness that distinguish the town. The walk continues with a visit to the Cathedral that preserves the treasures of artists like Nicola Pisano, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Donatello and Gianlorenzo Bernini, besides its marvelous marble floor, which is a unique example in the history of art.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$24.15
From
$24.15
Taking safety measures

Siena: Guided tour of Siena INCLUDED Duomo

Siena: Guided tour of Siena INCLUDED Duomo

star-4
Wonderful Tour of Classic Siena every Saturday and Sunday guaranteed departure at 11.00 am from Piazza Duomo. Expert local guide will introduce you, in an interesting and pleasant way, to the history of Siena, the Duomo, Piazza del Campo and other monuments of the city. We will talk about the Palio, the districts and visit the lesser known and most peaceful corners of the city. Duomo skip the line included adult rate 25.00 euros per person children between 6 and 12 years 10.00 euro per person children under 6 years free
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.19
From
$30.19
Taking safety measures

Discover the life of St. Catherine of Siena

Discover the life of St. Catherine of Siena

Learn about Saint Catherine of Siena, the patron Saint of Italy and Europe, on a 2-hour tour of her hometown. Visit landmarks such as the birthplace of Saint Catherine in Siena, and sacred sites related to her life. Your guide shows you where she worked, studied, and was buried, and shares commentary about her importance.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$150.94
Price varies by group size
From
$150.94
Price varies by group size

Siena Walks

Siena Walks

Meet your expert guide for a delightful stroll around the town’s major landmarks starting from Piazza del Campo, the spectacular shell-shaped square guarded by the local Town Hall and the Torre del Mangia bell-tower. While walking through the atmospheric medieval streets, you will admire all of Siena’s major landmarks including the impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery and the complex of Santa Maria della Scala, one of Europe’s oldest hospitals. You will also explore hidden corners of the “contrade”, the town’s neighborhoods that run the Palio.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$178.71
Price varies by group size
From
$178.71
Price varies by group size

Family tour: treasure hunt, Guccio and the long lost chalice

Family tour: treasure hunt, Guccio and the long lost chalice

2 magic hours to discover the city with Your children! The tour is a treasure hunt, following one of our greatest artist, the goldsmith "Guccio di Mannaia", and helping him recover a stolen treasure... Children and adults will learn city's history having fun and being enriched by anecdotes and legends from the medieval era. An unique chance to haunt down all you want know about Siena and the world the city was developed in!! Magic is hiding in plain sight....
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$114.71
Price varies by group size
From
$114.71
Price varies by group size

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Santa Maria della Scala ?