Siena, a vibrant Medieval City 

Siena is a medieval town with a lively, modern accent

Located just south of Florence in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Siena is easily reached by train, bus, or car, and, due to its moderate climate, is a comfortable place to visit year round.  Add to this the calm afforded by its quasi-rural, walled-in location, and visitors enjoy a restful retreat from busier towns like Florence, without forgoing cultural and artistic richness.

Siena, Duomo
Walk around almost any corner in Siena and you find basilicas and churches testifying to the city’s Catholic legacy; yet Siena also surprises visitors with the diversity of a synagogue and an Islamic cultural center. Whatever your course in Siena, or whatever type of church or building your eyes light upon, the city’s varied architecture and blend of ancient and modern features will keep you constantly wondering. 
Perched atop one of the town’s hills, the duomo of Siena is an exemplary Italian Gothic structure. Fourteenth-century plans to enlarge the already massive church ended when the plague hit the city in 1348, devastating the Sienese populace. What remained of the incomplete expansion now houses the Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana, where artwork by Giovanni Pisano, Simone Martini and Duccio is on display. The baptistery of Siena’s duomo lies below, with a rich history of its own. 

Siena, Piazza del Campo
Piazza del Campo, also known simply as Il Campo, is today an ideal place to relax over a glass of wine or a coffee and absorb the atmosphere and spirit of Siena—but it was originally designed for civic events.

The piazza is divided into nine parts to represent the medieval governmental body known as the Council of Nines. In the Piazza del Campo lies the Palazzo Pubblico, the Sienese town hall for nearly seven centuries. Undoubtedly the main attraction of the Palazzo is the Museo Civico, filled with Renaissance frescoes, including Lorenzetti’s Allegories of Good and Bad Government.

Siena, Palio

It is impossible to contemplate what it means to be Sienese without considering the momentous event known as the Palio
The Palio, a bareback horserace that takes place twice a year—on July 2nd and August 16th—fills the entire piazza and draws the attention of every Sienese woman, man and child. Ten jockeys race, representing ten of the 17 contrade. (Siena is divided into 17 contrade, or neighborhoods, and each inhabitant of Siena maintains a lifelong loyalty to and fierce pride of the contrada in which they were born.)
Siena, Palio
Members of the winning contrada are exultant; they celebrate the year through and enjoy a special status in town. The losers, needless to say, can do little more than count the days until the next Palio. Attending the Palio is perhaps the most authentic of Sienese experiences, reflecting a highly unique aspect of this culture.

A complement to this experience is the traditional Sienese cuisine. The variety of intense flavors, not found elsewhere in Tuscany, will surprise and delight visitors. Try the pici pasta, the local wild boar sausage, panforte and ricciarelli, together with a glass of one of the numerous excellent Chiantis produced in the region.

Holiday home in farmhouse with swimming pool at 30 km from Siena in Buonconvento Tuscany

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