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Copyright Enrico Massetti 2015
Published by Enrico Massetti
All Rights Reserved
Third edition - 2018
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.
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.
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.
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).