Tasty and traditional sweets of Siena

Italy Magazine’s managing editor Mary Gray gives an overview of the finest sweet fare to look out for when visiting the medieval Tuscan city.

What’s about to happen here is borderline heretical: A Florence resident shares a “best of” guide to the rival city’s sweet treats. Scandal! To be fair, however, Florence and Siena are apples and oranges in this category. The latter has a centuries-strong confectionery and sweetbread tradition wholly its own.

While we’ll touch on the history and origins of each dolce delight, the main things to remember while sweet-hunting in Siena are more practical. For example, while many shops and bars sell these treats (with the exception of frittelle) in prettily packaged gift boxes or take-home tins, not all are created equal. That’s particularly true for the strictly regulated ricciarelli and panforte. Those should always be clearly marked with Indicazione Geografica Protetta (Protected Geographical Indication) labels. Whenever possible, purchase directly from a pasticceria or forno rather than from a resale or souvenir shop. 

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