The medieval city of Siena is the capital of the province of Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. Along with preserving its ancient architecture, this city has also maintained its heritage and culture of the Middle Ages.
This city thrives due to tourism and has a lot to offer its visitors. The major sights to see within this city include the Piazza del Campo (Campo Square), which is the city’s most famous and Medieval piazza. Known for its unique shell-shaped structure, it has also been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this piazza is home to some very fine monuments and buildings.
The Piazza del Campo includes the Palazzo Pubblico (The City Hall), where famous artistic frescoes are displayed, and the Torre del Mangia (Mangia Tower), which has its entrance from inside the Palazzo Pubblico.
Climbing up more than 300 steps to the top of this tower can give you a panoramic view of the entire city, which is truly a sight to behold if you are unafraid of heights. The Museo Civico (Civic Museum) is also a part of the Palazzo Pubblico, and displays the work of many Sienese artists.
The Duomo or the Cathedral is famous for its unique construction featuring Romanesque-Gothic architecture. It is also located in the Campo Square and hosts the Libreria Piccolomini (Piccolomini Library), where some unique manuscripts have been put on display. But the sights to be seen within this library are the frescoes that decorate the walls and even the roof of the entire room.
The Cathedral also includes the Battistero (The Baptistery) and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo or Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana, where works of famous Italian artists, like Bartolo and Lorenzetti, are put on display.
Moreover, it is within this very piazza that we can find the Fonte Gaia (Gaia Fountain), also known as the Fountain of Joy. This square is also the location for the renowned Palio (Horserace) that takes place twice each year in the summer.
One place worth visiting is the Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery) located in the Palazzo Buonsignori and Palazzo Brigidi at via San Pietro. It is an art museum that contains various pieces of Sienese Medieval art along with becoming host to the numerous paintings that were once kept at the Accademia di belle arti di Siena (Academy of Fine Arts in Siena)
Aside from the museums and buildings, the city of Siena also contains many churches and places of religious significance, some of the famous ones being, Chiesa di San Domenico (Church of Saint Dominic), famous due to its massive architecture and the Holy Head of Saint Catherine; Complesso Museale Santa Maria della Scala (Museum Complex of Santa Maria della Scala), which is now known as the National Archaeological Museum of Siena; and Casa di Santa Caterina (House of St. Catherine, the patron saint of Europe).
With regard to the events held within Siena, the Palio is the most famous one, held in the Campo Square each year on the 2nd of July, and the 16th of August. This horserace has more to do with the traditions it upholds rather than the fun it provides. Being very dangerous for both riders as well as their horses, it contains ten contenders in all and is an event that is attended by all the Sienese people to show their loyalty to their heritage. The entire city is decorated with flags, lights and banners to celebrate the Palio.
For music lovers, classical concerts are held at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Chigi Music Academy) and other locations throughout the city during the Festival Settimana Musicale Senese (Sienese Music Week Festival), which is held during the summer each year.
People in love with physical exercise can visit the surrounding landscapes of the city, where mountain biking, hiking, cycling and horseback riding are just some of the sports they can enjoy. Within the city, basketball, football, rugby and athletics are some of the main sport interests of the people of Siena.
Whether you wish to see the architectural heritage, or just climb to the top of the Mangia Tower for a view that will take your breath away, Siena has it all. So for a fun and unique experience in art, history and culture, make Siena your next holiday destination!