Siena, A Step back to Medieval Tuscany
Siena is likely Italy's loveliest medieval city, and a trip worth making even if you are in Tuscany for just a few days. Siena's heart is its central piazza known as Il Campo, known worldwide for the famous Palio run here, a horse race run around the piazza two times every summer. Movie audiences worldwide can see Siena and the Palio in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.
is said to have been founded by Senius, son of Remus, one of the two legendary founders of Rome thus Siena's emblem is the she-wolf who suckled Remus and Romulus - you'll find many statues throughout the city. The city sits over three hills with its heart the huge piazza del Campo, where the Roman forum used to be. Rebuilt during the rule of the Council of Nine, a quasi-democratic group from 1287 to 1355, the nine sections of the fan-like brick pavement of the piazza represent the council and symbolizes the Madonna's cloak which shelters Siena.
The Campo is dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower, Torre del Mangia. Along with the Duomo of Siena, the Palazzo Pubblico was also built during the same period of rule by the Council of Nine. The civic palace, built between 1297 and 1310, still houses the city's municipal offices much like Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Its internal courtyard has entrances to the Torre del Mangia and to the Civic Museum. If you feel energetic, a climb up the over 500 steps will reward you with a wonderful view of Siena and its surroundings. The Museum, on the other hand, offers some of the greatest of Sienese paintings. The Sala del Concistoro houses one of Domenico Beccafumi's best works, ceiling frescoes of allegories on the virtues of Siena's medieval government. But it is the Sala del Mappamondo and the Sale della Pace that hold the palaces's highlights: Simone Martini's huge Maestà and Equestrian Portrait of Guidoriccio da Fogliano and Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Allegories of Good and Bad Government, once considered the most important cycle of secular paintings of the Middle Ages.
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Read full article "Siena Duomo"
Siena's Gothic cathedral is full of treasures, including its marble pavement, Piccolomini library frescoes and incredibly ornate interiors. We highly recommend a visit into this wonder of Siena's past!
Read full article "Walks in Siena"
Do you want to see more than Piazza del Campo and the Duomo in Siena? Here are ideas for a few walking trips which will take you around the beautiful city of Siena, offering great views of the city and surrounding countryside and taking to you a few other sights off the main tourist beaten path.
Read full article "The insider story of a contradaiola"
What makes the Palio so special is the unique community around the 17 contrade who compete in the race. Here you get the story of a real "contradaiola" who explains what the Palio means to citizens of each contrada.
Read full article "The Palio in Siena"
The Palio in Siena is a very special event, one in which every citizen of the city takes part of from the time of their birth. In Siena, you are born into a Contrada and the lifelong journey and rivalry begins.
Read full article "Palio Tips"
Are you going to Siena to see the Palio? Read these insider's tips on how to avoid the most common mistakes and enjoy this unique experience!
Go on TuscanyAccommodation.com/Siena
List of all lodgings in Siena and in the surrounding area: Farmhouses, B&B, hotels and apartments with detailed description and high resolution photos. All holiday rentals offer direct contact with the owner or online booking.
Read full article "Piccolomini Library"
The first time we went into the cathedral in Siena, we weren't expecting all the black and white. Then you step into the Piccolomini Library and discover where all the colors are! It is a stupendous discovery we highly recommend you include on your itinerary in Siena.
Read full article "A day in Siena"
Siena is famous for the Palio. But it is also the city of Simone Martini and other important artists. Here is a suggested itinerary for spending a day in Siena.
Read full article "Visiting Siena with Children"
Are you on holiday with children? Here are ideas for places where the whole family can enjoy and take a break from the tourist attractions while you're in Siena.
Read full article "Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza" Visit Palazzo Piccolomini's website
In Pienza, we highly recommend visiting Palazzo Piccolomini, the first example of Renaissance architecture. With its terrace and hanging garden, you'll enjoy an incredible view of the surrounding Val d'Orcia landscape.
Read full article "Botanical Garden in Siena"
The Botanical Museum in Siena includes the splendid Botanical Garden, which is open to the public with free entry, and the important collections within the Herbarium, which can be visited with advance booking.
Read full article "Santa Maria della Scala"
The complex of Santa Maria della Scala stands in front of the Duomo, the ancient structure welcoming pilgrims to the city on their way to Rome. Today, it is a monumental building hosting artwork of extraordinary beauty of both artistic and historical importance.