Siena Overview

This drawing of the walled portion of Siena is derived from a map of historic buildings posted on the Siena website. Although the outlines of the historic buildings muddle the street details, this map gives the idea of its variegated pattern of streets. The blocks are very small, the streets very narrow, but there are large areas of public open space. It minimally accommodates cars, while providing one of the best walking environments in the world.

At its widest dimension it is only 1.2 miles, so transit service within the city really isn't necessary. Rail service brings passengers to a station just north of this map, and buses make the connection into town. Buses also bring people in from long distances, including numerous tourists that travel in groups.

Derived from an aerial map of the city posted on the same website, this gives an idea of the geography. The walled city sits well above the surrounding area, which is one reason why it would be impractical to have the trains serve the central part of the city directly.

The rather odd appearance of the graphic is due to the photo being superimposed on a street map.

In the graphic below, the grid of streets in the Railroad Square area is superimposed on the map shown above. This shows the remarkable difference in block size that makes Siena so walkable. Standing out in the fine mesh of streets is the famed Campo at the center of the map. Although it is about the same size as the currently bifurcated Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa, it gives an observer the impression of being far larger.

This aerial blow-up of perhaps 3 acres of the central area is included to show several aspects of the city:

  • The subtle variations in material colors - tile roofs, brick paving of the campo, stone paving of streets
  • The high coverage of land with buildings. This allows quite high living densities without great height. Most buildings are from 3 to 5 stories in this area. The wall in Siena ecompasses 0.72 square miles. 11,177 people live there, so the density is 15,500 persons per square mile. For comparison, the density of San Francisco is 17,600.
  • The narrow, variable width streets. Many are narrower than 10 feet between building faces. There are no sidewalks because the streets belong (primarily) to walkers.