Shopping in Siena
Siena is full of enticing Tuscan food shops, chic boutiques and quirky craft stores. Tuscan treats, such as oil, wine, pastries and cheeses, are the best buys, though the most transportable are Sienese pastries. When footsore, retreat to a café to sample the best.
Exotic spices reached Siena along the Via Francigena pilgrims' route, and still find their way into the medieval recipes used today. Visit Antica Drogheria Manganelli, Via di Città 71 for panforte (Italian fruit and nut cake) and ricciarelli almond biscuits.
Consider getting wine shipped home. The Enoteca Italiana in the Medici fortress on Piazza Liberta showcases Tuscan wines and sells famous drops like Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The wine centre is open Mon-Tues 1200-1930, Wed-Sat 1200-2400.
The main shopping streets are Via Banchi di Sopra and Via di Città. Don't expect glitzy malls, shopping centres and outlets. Sienese shopping is like the city: low-key and small-scale.
The main market curves around the Fortezza Medicea on a Wednesday morning. Browse for cheap clothes, leather bags and foodstuffs. The melancholy Piazza del Mercato hosts an antiques market every third Sunday.
On Piazza Matteotti, Oviesse department store sells inexpensive clothes. Porta Siena shopping centre is on Piazzale Carlo Rosselli, facing Siena train station. Although open daily, it is uninspiring, but handy for the supermarket. Given Siena's heritage concerns, there are no shopping centres in the historic centre.
Most shops are open 0930–1300 and 1530–1930. Many close on Monday morning.
Bianco e Nero, Via dei Fusari 21, is a quaint shop for quirky Sienese ceramics made by local potter Sonia Staccioli. The glazed pots gleam in bold shades of blue, green and apricot.
VAT, Value Added Tax (known as IVA) is paid on goods. Refunds are available to non-EU citizens on some goods for personal use but it is a lengthy process. The shop needs to be part of the Tax Free Italy programme and to provide you with a stamped Tax Refund Receipt. Reimbursement can be claimed at the Italian Customs office.