THE BEST WAY TO SIENA

From LAX, connecting service (change of planes) to Florence is available on Lufthansa, Air France and Swiss. The low-season round-trip fare of $479 expires March 26 and is heavily restricted. Restricted round-trip fares after that date generally begin at $929. Siena is an hour drive south of Florence.

TELEPHONES

To call the numbers listed below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 39 (the country code for Italy) and the number.

WHERE TO STAY

Bed & Breakfast alle Due Porte, 51 Via Stalloreggi, Siena; 0577-287670, www.sienatur.it. A homey little place near the cathedral; doubles as low as $98 in off-season, including breakfast.

Pensione Palazzo Ravizza, 34 Via Pian dei Mantellini, Siena; 0577- 280462, www.palazzoravizza.it. A well-run hotel in a 19th century palazzo with a garden set above the town walls and a gated parking area; doubles from $189 in low season, including breakfast.

La Locanda di San Francesco, 5 Piazza San Francesco, Montepulciano; 0578-758725, www.locandasanfrancesco.it, is perched at the top of the hill town, with smashing valley views. The wine bar serves light meals and wine from the family farm Tenuta Valdipiatta. There are four stylish guest rooms; doubles from $189 in the off-season, including breakfast.

WHERE TO EAT

Antica Trattoria Papei, 6 Piazza del Mercato, Siena, 0577-280894. A noisy, bustling spot with hearty local fare; about $30 a person for dinner.

La Taverna di San Giuseppe, 132 Via Giovanni Dupre, Siena, 0577-42286. Near the campo. Has a wine cellar in an Etruscan cave dwelling and enticing dishes such as risotto with grappa and pear; dinner about $40 a person.

Caffe Poliziano, 27-29 Via di Voltaia nel Corso, Montepulciano, 0578-758615. A dignified café that opened in 1868 on the town's main shopping street; light meals about $20 a person.

Ristorante le Logge del Vignola, 6 Via delle Erbe, Montepulciano, 0578-717290. An intimate eatery with a creative contemporary Italian menu; dinner about $40 a person.

TO LEARN MORE

Italian Government Tourist Board in Los Angeles, (310) 820-0098, www.italiantourism.com.

Siena Tourist Information, 56 Piazza del Campo, 0577-280551, www.terresiena.it.