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.