The Botanical Museum, instituted in 2007, is a structure within the Department of Life Sciences and it contains two historic university museums/laboratories, the Botanical Garden and the Herbarium.
The Botanical Garden has, since 1856, been located inside the ancient city walls of Siena, in a roughly 2.5-hectare valley that lies between Porta Tufi and Porta San Marco. It contains more than 2,000 plant species, ranging from typically Mediterrean varieties growing in Tuscany to more unusual specimens from exotic countries. The structure that is visible today, organized in the style of 19th-century Italian gardens, is an evocative place full of reminders from its history leading back as far as the 16th century. The ample remaining portion of the Garden opens on to the valley and maintains the appearance of farmland, with rocky areas interspersed with wetter zones so as to present various Tuscan environments.
The Herbarium (Herbarium Universitatis Senensis) is located inside two climate-controlled rooms of the Department. It serves as a valuable source of botanical and historical information, and further as an indispensable research and educational tool for the University. The Herbarium comprises more than 90,000 dried samples including vascular plants, lichens, bryophytes, fungi and algae, and it is divided into different sections: the Historic Collections and the Assortments.
The Museum System of the University of Siena (Sistema Museale dell’Università di Siena—SIMUS) is the tangible result of centuries of study and research carried out in and around Siena. The System constitutes a summa on the evolution of thought, scientific or otherwise, through collections of tools, finds, educational models, memorabilia and archival documents. Thanks to the passionate commitment of researchers and university staff, museum resources of this sort continue in the present day to provide an effective educational tool to be used in teaching and disseminating knowledge.
Botanical Garden: winding paths, small ponds, grottoes, and a Medieval fountain all make the Botanical Garden an oasis of peace and tranquility with the city of the Palio rising just behind it.
La spermoteca (the Seed Bank): an incredible collection, dating back to 1860-1870, made up of seeds, fruits, resins, gums and other dried products. In the same room, there is also a xylological collection, consisting of 180 sections of tree trunks and branches.
Botanical Museum (Museum System of the University of Siena)
Via Pier Andrea Mattioli, 4
Tel. 0577 232075 (Herbarium); 0577 232076 (Botanical Garden)
For further information:
Ilaria Bonini (for the Herbarium)
tel. 0577 232075
Paolo Castagnini (for the Botanical Garden)tel. 0577 232076
from 29th May 2021
every day, 9.30am to 6.30pm (exit before 7pm)
regular: € 5,00
reduced: € 3,00
children under 11 years
Herbarium (Museum System of the University of Siena)
from 3rd May 2021
open by reservation within the day before: firstname.lastname@example.org
“In the fiery and concentrated beauty of Siena there is an artificial note that recalls a city perched atop a hill in an old painting. From the fortifications one views the entire city, the white and brown houses, with brown-hued roofs and smooth façades pierced by multiple windows. […] All around reigns the peace of a green world, now sloping down into valleys strewn with red earth and veiled by the gray mist of the olive trees, with cypresses reaching darkly into the sky, now rising into hills”. (A. Symons, 1907)
In Siena, the flavor, the taste, the view of the city are still the same as those evoked by the words of the English poet who visited and certainly fell in love with the place more than a century ago. Siena sits composedly, perched on its hills. Move away just a little, and you can take it in all at once, the unmistakable skyline of its elongated silhouette, its walls, the Torre del Mangia and the dome of the Cathedral. And it is not even so different, in certain glimpses, from the way its most beloved painters depicted it in the 1300s and 1400s, from Lorenzetti to Simone Martini, from Sano di Pietro to Vecchietta.
The city’s sensual and harmonious relationship with the landscape that surrounds and protects it is also fundamentally unchanged. The hills, cypresses, red earth and olive trees can be reached on foot by walking out through the ancient gates, or else still inside the city, in the protected and precious green valleys that have remained within the walls.
With its slow, almost dreamlike way of life, Siena should be visited calmly, for it needs to be savoured unhurriedly. Stroll through Siena and let yourself be guided by curiosity. Slip into the alleys, look for quiet hidden places, explore a museum, a church or a beautiful palazzo.