Siena with children


New member
Hi, I am planning to make a one day visit from Florence to Siena on Fri, June 15. It will be me, my 70 year old parents, and my 9 year old children. We want to make it a relaxed trip and not too intense. My parents cannot climb and I have claustrophobia, so none of us will be climbing anything.

I was thinking of doing the following things:

Take a bus from Florence in the morning, leave 9 am, arrive around 10 am. Do I need to pre-book the bus or can we just show up 15-30 min before?

Visit the cathedral at 10:30 am when it opens. (Arrive earlier and queue up if necessary). We might use the free Rick Steves audio tour to guide us inside.

Possibly visit the Library to see the frescoes.

Hang out in the Piazza; have lunch there or nearby. Any particular spot you think we would all enjoy?

Stroll around the town for a few hours, stopping for coffee or treats whenever we feel like it. Any must sees on our stroll?

Return back by bus around 3 or 4 pm. Purchase ticket at the station.

Does this sound like a good plan to you? Is there anything I should add or remove? In Florence, entrance to the Cathedral is free but there is a fee for the museum and climbing. Since we don't intend to see the museum or climb in Siena, can we enter the Cathedral for free? Or do we need to purchase the Opa Si pass anyways? Is it helpful to purchase the pass to pre-book an entry time and skip the queue? If we do need to purchase, is there an individual ticket we can get to Just the Cathedral or Just the Library without the combo Opa Si pass?

Thank you for any advice you have!



Well-known member


Before you decide definitely on the bus, check out this article for more info:

You itinerary sounds good - you are definitely mixing the ages and interests so keeping it basic is probably the best way to go, and then letting the spur of the moment move you for a gelato or a panino.

It can be a bit more costly, but a pizza in the Piazza del Campo will give you down time with a spectacular view.

Just remember Siena was built on a hill, so it will be tough to avoid going up and down during you walks, just take it slow and easy.

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise

PS Definitely make the Duomo your first stop for the line.


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
As far as the Duomo in Florence, you most definitely enter it free and there is no need to buy any ticket whatsoever. A ticket does not get you to skip any lines, so just try to stop and visit the Duomo when you pass by and see an acceptable line for you. It moves quickly as the cathedral is large and people go in and out continuously.

In Siena, the Duomo has a fee to enter regardless and you can definitely just pay for that (the Piccolomini Library is included and you should definitely see it while inside). You can see ticket cost and entrance times for the cathedral at the end of this page: Buy tickets when you are there, no need to prebook. DEFINITELY see the Duomo, it is one of the main highlights in Siena and I didn't realize the richness and beauty inside until I went --- especially if you visit both in Florence and Siena, you will see the stark contrast and differences. In Florence, the decorative aspects are on the outside and less on the inside, in Siena it is the opposite!

You can buy bus tickets to Siena at each end when you go, no need to get them ahead of time.

The idea is good, go and enjoy with no specific schedule. Siena is on hills but choose streets wisely and you can avoid steep climbs. I would suggest you include, in addition to the Duomo, Palazzo Pubblico. There are some beautiful frescoes inside. No need to worry about the tower, that is a separate ticket. Enjoy the views from Piazza del Campo.

If you want to walk around, consider one of these two itineraries:


New member
Thank you!

Thank you for the helpful information.

Just a couple more details I'm hoping you can clarify for me:

- Given there are 2 buses per hour, is there any risk that the bus could sell out for the 9:10 AM 131R we want to take? It will be for 5 of us on Friday, June 15. I was concerned this morning bus in June might be what all the tourists are taking. How far in advance do you suggest we arrive at the bus station if we plan to purchase the tickets there? Could we arrive later if we already have the tickets through online purchase?

- Does the Siena OPA Si pass allow us to "skip the line" by reserving a certain time of entry to the Cathedral and/or Library? Or does it just grant us entry but we still have to queue up for both. I thought that if we could pre-reserve the time of entry it might be worth buying in advance from the website.