(Updated Sept. 21, 2021 for changes to the Siena Mobilita web site.)
For those in Siena without a car, the local bus system provides reliable and frequent transportation for neighborhoods both inside and outside the city walls. Since transit systems are largely designed for locals, however, they can confuse even more experienced travelers. This post provides guidance for using Siena’s transit, with the hope of reducing the mystery and making it useful. So, hop on and here we go!
Ticket Purchase and Validation
The cost of a one-way bus ticket (including transfers) is a flat 1.50 euro as of June 2019. This includes the smaller buses inside the city walls, and the full-size suburban buses. See info (and photo) below for where to buy them. TOM’S TIPS:
1) BE SURE TO VALIDATE THE TICKET WHEN YOU BOARD ANY BUS, by inserting either end into the stamping machine upon entry (often one at the back entrance of the bus as well). This provides a time/date stamp to validate the ticket for that ride. Sometimes a police officer will come on board to verify validated tickets, and you can be fined without one.
2) You can purchase numerous tickets at one time if you anticipate future rides. Keep them in a safe place, as they are good for at least a week or more (I’m not sure if there is a final expiration date). They become valid when you stamp them on the bus.
3) Tickets can be purchased at (usually) any “Tabaccheria” shops near bus depot hubs (such as Piazza Gramsci). The clerks usually speak enough English to understand what you want and how many (or use this as an opportunity to practice Italian!). See photo below of one example.
Web Site and Basic Route Info
The home page for Siena’s local system is http://www.sienamobilita.it/ . To access local bus maps with route numbers, go to Orari e Linee (Times and Bus Lines) in the lower menu. This takes you to the Tiemme regional bus system, which is not intuitive for visitors (for me, anyway). But don’t give up! See the search boxes on that page’s left side. Type/Select the words as I have done here (see screenshot below). This will provide the links to Siena’s bus system maps and other information located beneath the search boxes. The two most important maps for navigating the buses are these below (with direct links to skip the process above if desired):
- Mappa Urbano Siena: This is the “greater Siena” bus system with full-size buses that generally converge at Piazza Gramsci (referred to as Via Tozzi on the map), the city’s main bus terminal. Lines 9 and 10 are useful for shuttling you between Piazza Gramsci and the Train Station, to avoid that lengthy hike northward out of the historic center. Four buses (17, 77, 10, 3) go to the hospital (Ospedale) from various hubs.
- Mappa Pollicino Siena: These are the routes for mini-buses (the Pollicini) that connect you with the interior of the historic center, though they do not connect at a specific hub. The smaller vehicles can more easily navigate the narrow, medieval street network. The map also indicates which of Siena’s main parking lots are served by these buses for easy access into the city without driving (NOTE: you are not allowed to drive in the historic center without a permit, so please don’t try it).
The Pollicini: Inside the Walls (Historic Center)
Urban Bus System (Areas outside the walls)
An extensive bus system (with full-size buses) connects several hubs within or near the historic center with neighborhoods outside the walls, including important destinations as the train station and hospital (see the system map as described above). The central bus station is at Piazza Gramsci (listed as Via Tozzi). Other hubs are located just outside some of the main city gates. See images below for further enlightenment.
Do you have further information or tips that might enhance this page? Please leave a comment and I will review it before posting and/or replying. Grazie e Ciao!