Siena is one of the loveliest medieval hilltown of Tuscany and will certainly be one of your favorite cities of Your tour in Italy This amaising place is located over three hills with his main square – huge piazza del Campo, where the Roman forum used to be. Piazza del Campo is very unique with its shell shape, its bricks pavement and for all of palace facing on it. If you stay at the center of the square, you feel like you are in the center of the world.
In the centar of square, you can see the Fonte Gaia, the largest fountain of the city originally decorated with sculptures by Jacopo della Quercia. The fountain is a copy made in marble of Carrara marble, while the original Fonte Gaia ha been restored and is visible within the museum complex of Santa Maria della Scala.
In the square,also, is dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower, Torre del Mangia. The civic palace, built around 1300, still houses the city’s municipal offices much like Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.If you’re still full of energy, a climb up of Torre with over 500 steps, will reward you with a wonderful view of Siena and its surroundings.
Il Campo, known worldwide for the famous Palio run here, a horse race run around the piazza two times every year on July 2 and August 16 . In the Palio “contrade”( areas in which the city is divided), challenge in other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city. Sometimes, there were about 59 “Contrade”; now only 17 remain, 10 of which take part of Palio (Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, She-Wolf, Goos,Forest, Tortoise, Owl, Unicorn, Shell…).
Each of them has its own colors and emblem and represents an part of the city. When you make a tour through the streets of Siena, it is very easy to know in which Contrada you currently are in by observing the flags displayed along the street.
This horse races is much more than a simple event for the Sienese, it actually is a big part of their lives since they were children. Every man or woman belongs to a Contrada, participates in the life of the Contrada and the organization of the Palio throughout the all year. In Siena all people lives for Palio with great passion and you’ll certainly be able to see this if you have the chance to attend one of the races.
Next thing that you must to see is The Cathedral of Siena. Is located in the square situated above Piazza del Campo, is a beautiful complex in the Gothic style which houses a treasure trove of designer Donatello, Pisano and Michelangelo .
The Cathedral is of impressive beauty just enough to admire the outside to stay deeply affected.
Built between 1214 and 1263, it has a Latin cross, both the exterior and the interior is decorated in white marble blocks that are alternating thinner greenish black stripes, these are the representative colors of Siena.
In Siena will not be enough just two eyes to discover all the beauty contained within it.
The columns maintain the motif of the exterior alternating white/black marble, but when you look the floor : the most impressive works of art of the cathedral are located here, masterpieces that tell stories made such huge puzzle.
56 scenes are well engraved and carved of marble between 1369 and 1547 by 40 leading artists of the period,
all from Siena except the Umbrian Bernardino di Betto, known as Pinturicchio. To complete all the work it took about 600 years, the last frame was finished in 1800.
The mosaics in the nave and aisles are not protected by any barrier, while the most valuable pieces in the apse and transept are covered with a special flooring that prevents the consummation since many people will sit on it every day during mass. You can see them without protection only in honor of the Palio and a couple of months a year, in September and October.
At the center of the cathedral the only box that remains visible is usually Fantastic Massacre of the Innocents, of John Matthew in 1481 in the left transept. L’artist was obsessed with this issue, we left us about disturbing paintings both in the Government Building in Santa Maria dei Servi in Siena. The oldest drawings are those at the center near the entrance – The Wheel of Fortune and The Sienese Lupa surrounded by the allied cities symbols dated 1369. Siena is also the University city, full of young people and laughter. On every street you will find in a some bar with good music and great atmosphere.
Easy walk around the town, with a glass of good wine (or ice cream depends on the taste), will definitely make you stay another day in this wonderful city.
Siena & San Gimignano Tour