The Botanical garden of Siena (Orto Botanico) is located near the Porta Tufi in the southern city wall. The garden, which is divided into three different section, covers an area of approximately 2.5 hectares.
Botanical Garden Siena
Address: The official addres is Via Pier Andrea Mattioli, 4 – 53100 Siena. However, the entrance to the garden is in the Piazza Agostino. Phone: +39 339 7737718. Opening times: From 10:00 till 17:30. Ticket price: Free. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
Siena’s Orto Botanico was founded in 1784 by Biagio Bartalini. He had been request to do so by the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The new Botanical Garden replaced an older one that had been founded in 1588 near the Santa Maria della Scala Hospital.
What to see
The first section of the garden is dedicated to typical Tuscan plants, including herbs and spices used for medicinal purposes and for cooking.
The second section covers aquatic plants. There are also more exotic, definitely not local trees and shrubs, such as the quince tree, pomegranate tree, and the jujube tree.
The final section includes fruit trees, agave and cacti.
There is a tepidarium for plant species originating from arid parts of the world.
The Herbarium contains over 80,000 dried specimens of vascular plants, fungi, lichens, mosses, liverworts and algae.
The old (or Equatorial) greenhouse is one of the highlights. Its walls are completely covered with a climbing shrub of tropical origin called Ficus Pumila. The humidity inside is 80% and the temperature never goes below 18°C, just like in a rain forest.
The local plant species are throughout described on white, the foreign ones on yellow cards.