by Tom Paradis (updated 24 April, 2023)
Siena’s taxi service is extensive for a city of this size, with its web site (in English here) claiming to have 55 vehicles and 60 drivers in service. When walking in or around Siena, they are seemingly everywhere, and many visitors depend on them. The company is part of a unified consortium, so all cars are the same color (white) with “taxi” sign boards on the top. They have a diverse fleet of smaller and larger vehicles depending upon the need. The taxis also enjoy privileged access into the historic center, so from the train station or elsewhere they can take you to nearly any specific address in the city (or close to it if you are staying in a narrow alley somewhere). The typical cost for a taxi between the train station and near the Campo (Piazza Independenza or Piazza Mercato, for instance) is about 10-14 euro, give or take. Maybe a bit more to get across town. Tips are not expected for short trips, though it is courteous to provide an extra euro for handling multiple bags.
What should you expect when you call for a taxi? Please scroll below the images to learn about their process.
Calling a Taxi: What to Expect
For those with working cell phones (or access to other services), anyone can call for a taxi (+39 0577 49222) if one is not available at your current location. From my experience the service is quick, as they have always arrived within 5-10 minutes from within the historic center. For those with limited Italian language skills, however, the phone call can be daunting. Here is what to expect if you call:
- You will be greeted with an automated message in Italian. Don’t worry, this does not mean that nobody is available. Just wait for it to end and stay on the line.
- A receptionist will then answer with a brief greeting in Italian.
- You can say, “Hello, do you speak English?” If necessary. They might say “A little,” as many of them do. You can try that. If you know some basic Italian, say, “Hello, I would like a taxi at (your location) for (number of) people.
- They might ask how many bags you have, or where you want to go (lately I have not been asked these questions).
- You will be put on hold while they contact the closest taxi. Just remain on the line (and listen to their catchy music).
- The receptionist will eventually return and tell you the taxi number (on the side of the car) and when the car should arrive. If you do not remember the cab number, the driver should confirm with you anyway upon arrival. Congratulations, now you can wait for your ride!
My Own Stories About Siena, the Contrade, and the Palio
I invite all current or future enthusiasts of Siena to consider my two books that span eight years of experiences among the Senese, available as paperback and eBook through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and numerous global retails worldwide. (Click on images below for more information.)