Siena, Volterra, San Gimignano - Enrico Massetti - ebook
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Siena is one of Italy’s best preserved medieval towns, located in the heart of Tuscany. Built on three hills and surrounded by well preserved walls, it is filled with fine examples of Gothic architecture and has one of the world’s most unique piazzas – il Campo – (shaped like a shell with scalloped edges). Of course, the world-famous Palio di Siena is an important part of Sienese identity, history and culture. Siena is also the birthplace of St. Catherine of Siena Metairie. Siena – Piazza del Campo & Torre dei Mangia The heart of Siena is Piazza del Campo, the Piazza where the Palio di Siena is run, famous for its shell-shape, and still the focus of city life. In the square there is the Fonte Gaia, a fountain unique in its quadrangular form and beautiful figures around the edges. Siena – the Duomo di Siena The Duomo di Siena is a beautiful building, it is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture with dark green and white marble in the facade. It contains works by many artists, including Donatello, Pisano and Arnolfo di Cambio. One of its main attractions is the marble-inlaid floor, the result of the contributions of many artists. The museum of the Duomo di Siena, in the same piazza, contains some original statues by Pisano moved for conservation and many artworks, including the famous “Maesta” by Duccio di Buoninsegna. Volterra Volterra still retains its medieval character, charm and atmosphere. Its isolated position has impeded any progressive development. The defensive wall built in the 13th century was the result of an urban development that began in the year thousand and was completed at the beginning of the 14th century. San Gimignano San Gimignano is a pretty medieval walled city in Tuscany, Italy, well known of its large number of campaniles. The town is also known as the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”. Competing families tried to build the highest campanile to impress each other. Here the plague raged in 1464 and 1631, starting a period of decadence for the town: the town-walls fell to pieces, the Medieval mansions fell into disrepair and no one had enough money to stop all this, as the richest and most important families had left the town because of the plague. Consequently, the architectural and artistic heritage remained untouched for four centuries, and the town preserved its medieval characteristic architecture intact. This is a guide to Siena, Volterra, and San Gimignano. There are extensive descriptions and photos of the attractions and of the “Palio di Siena”. It contains many reviews for the best recommended restaurants that are at the location described

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Siena, Volterra, San Gimignano

Enrico Massetti

Copyright Enrico Massetti 2015

Published by Enrico Massetti

All Rights Reserved

Third edition - 2018

Siena

Siena – Piazza del Campo

Siena is one of Italy's best preserved medieval towns, located in the heart of Tuscany. Built on three hills and surrounded by well-preserved walls, it is filled with excellent examples of Gothic architecture and has one of the world's unique piazzas – il Campo – (shaped like a shell with scalloped edges). Of course, the world-famous Palio di Siena is an integral part of Sienese identity, history, and culture. Siena is also the birthplace of St. Catherine of Siena Metairie.

Siena – Piazza del Campo & Torre dei Mangia

Piazza del Campo

The heart of Siena is Piazza del Campo, the Piazza where the Palio di Siena is run, famous for its shell-shape, and still the focus of city life. In the square, there is the Fonte Gaia, a fountain unique in its quadrangular form and beautiful figures around the edges.

The famous Torre del Mangia and the Palazzo Pubblico form one of the sides of Piazza del Campo.

The tower was built in 1848 and is 102 meters high; it gives excellent views over Siena and the surrounding countryside. The Palazzo Pubblico was constructed between 1297 and 1342 and is an example of classic Gothic architecture in Tuscany. It houses a fantastic array of frescoes by artists such as Vecchietta, Simone Martini, and Sodoma.

Discovering treasures in Siena’s museums

Siena is an itinerary that joins past and future: just a stone’s throw from the Spedale del Santa Maria della Scala which today houses an important cultural center, you will find the center of Contemporary Art in a Renaissance building.

The wealth of Siena's museums can offer the 14th-century dreams of Duccio di Boninsegna and the rich Sienese school that developed from him; and then the works of Iacopo della Quercia, Francesco di Giorgio, Beccafumi, Sodoma. Riches that belong to the entire territory.

Siena – the Duomo di Siena

Piccolomini library, Duomo di Siena

The Duomo di Siena is a beautiful building; it is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture with dark green and white marble in the facade. It contains works by many artists, including Donatello, Pisano and Arnolfo di Cambio. One of its main attractions is the marble-inlaid floor, the result of the contributions of many artists. The museum of the Duomo di Siena, in the same piazza, contains some original statues by Pisano moved for conservation and many artworks, including the famous "Maesta" by Duccio di Buoninsegna.

The Siena’s Duomo was begun in the twelfth century, and its main facade was completed in 1380. Its campanile and baptistery make an exceptional group. It is unique among Christian cathedrals in that its axis runs north-south. This is because it was initially intended to be the largest cathedral in existence, with a north-south transept and an east-west aisle, as is usual. After the completion of the transept and the building of the east wall (which still exists and may be climbed by the public via an internal staircase) the money ran out, and the rest of the cathedral was abandoned.

In the same piazza as the Duomo is the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, which now houses a museum complex, exhibiting frescoes, works of art, short shows and treasures collected during its millennial history.

A visit to Siena

Siena Skyline

SIENA is second only to Florence in beauty among Tuscan cities. Siena rises on three low hills; its atmosphere has something of a fantasy and something of mystical; the purest Italian is said to be spoken here.

Siena has initially been an Etruscan city, then Roman, then a medieval Commune whose existence was tormented by fierce internecine struggles, wars, plagues, and invasions. It finally fell to the Medici.

On arrival, let us go at once to the Piazza del Campo; it has the form of a scallop-shell; eleven street converge on it; the grandest Gothic building in Tuscany dominates it, the Palazzo Pubblico (1309) in stone and brick and the slim Torre del Mangia, the Mangia Tower (1348).