Siena – historic travel destination in Tuscany

Famous throughout the world for the characteristic Palio, Siena is distinguished because of the well maintained urban decoration that portrays the medieval period remembering its charm and tribute.

The historic center of Siena is certainly one of the most impressive sights in Tuscany. Designated world heritage UNESCO site, Siena has maintained the charm and the remembrance of the past made of streets, alleys, ancient palaces and majestic squares like Piazza del Campo, and Piazza del Duomo.

Siena is a city rich in cultural and artistic treasures; it is to be discovered with calm that remains in the heart of the visitor forever. The city remained the same as it was in the Middle Ages while preserving the charming atmosphere that strikes immediately intact. 

Anyone arriving for the first time in this city of Tuscany is astonished by the majesty of Piazza del Campo, maintained for a reason, one of the most beautiful squares of Italy. From year 1300 onwards it has been a center of the main events in Siena, political meetings, markets and popular festivals such as the famous Palio. All of the major noble houses overlooked this square, in addition to the Tower Mangia from which you can see the square in all its glory. Still today, of course, it is the heart of the city and there you will find restaurants, bars, souvenir shops.

The tour of Siena must also include a visit to The Tower Mangia, which, with its almost 90 meters, offers an extraordinary view over the city, from the square up to the hills. To climb to the top of the Tower the visitors need to climb approximately 400 steps. The name of the Tower – Mangia (Eat) comes from the first guardian, Giovanni di Duccio, who had the habit of spending all his money by eating in the taverns of Siena.

Another thing to admire is the Palazzo Pubblico which has been headquarters of the local government since 1300. It is currently partly occupied also by the Civic Museum of Siena, which has works of priceless artistic value.  

The Cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, is another jewel of a city. Its facade immediately strikes, but its interior is even more valuable – frescoes by Pinturicchio (Piccolomini Library), statues by Michelangelo (chapel Piccolomini), the pulpit by Nicola Pisano in addition to the floors, the frescos and paintings that tell stories from the bible. 

The route that leads to the discovery of the treasures of Siena is its streets typically medieval, which can be walked on foot. This way, the tourists will also have the opportunity to find many typical restaurants where to taste the dishes of the Siena’s traditional meals such as rabbit, crostini, or the famous soups, all accompanied, of course, by the famous Tuscan’s wines – Brunello or Chianti. Many hotels offer an opportunity to spend the nights satisfying every guest’s taste and budget.

The tourists arrival is favored by the mild climate, and it is very strong in the days of the Palio, a horse race that represents the regions “contrade” of the city, which is carried out twice a year, on July 2nd and August 16th in the piazza del Campo. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in appropriate colors, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on July 2nd is named Palio di Provenzano, in honor of the Madonna of Provenzano, who has a church in Siena. The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell’Assunta, in honor of the Assumption of Mary. A pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from all around the world. The municipal territory, a large 119 sq. km, has 65,634 inhabitants. 

Siena has maintained the layout of the town and the characteristic medieval appearance with constructions mostly dating from XIV and XV centuries, the crenellated walls of the XIV century, and the typical fountains of the second half of the XIII century (rectangular basin covered by vaults). 

One of the most considerable of medieval civic architecture is Piazza del Campo, in the form of a shell, surrounded by various buildings, which meander through the sides of a public building, consisting of a central body with three orders and two laterals with two orders. Its construction began at the end of XIII century and it was enlarged in the XIV century, with the Torre del Mangia in decorated bricks. The interior of the Palazzo Pubblico was abundantly frescoed by the best painters of that time.
During all centuries the city was decorated by many civic gothic buildings, religious, rich private and baroque buildings, castles, palaces.

Museums worth seeing are L’Opera del Duomo with sculptures from XIV and XVI centuries, many miniatures and jewelries. From historic point of view it is interesting to see the Pinacoteca with books from XII through XVI centuries, and the Archeological Museum. Siena is a historic travel destination, visited by all tourists while spending their vacation in Tuscany.

The territory around Siena is cultivated mostly with vineyards, from where the most famous wine comes – Chianti. Your visit to Siena won’t be complete if you don’t taste the wine at a local restaurant surrounded by friendly, local people accompanying it with delicious Italian meals. 

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