Siena is one of my favourite cities in the Tuscany region in Italy. Siena is a small city that combines a centuries-old history and beautiful architecture. Siena is known all over the world for its medieval brick buildings, photos of which you have probably seen at least once in one of the travel magazines.
In 1995, the historic center of Siena was listed as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. In according to the legend, Siena was formed by Senia, the son of Remus. Remus was the founder of Rome. Senia escaped from the persecution of Romulus, the murderer Remus, and found shelter in Siena. Since then, the Roman wolf is the symbol of Siena.
Siena is attractive for tourists not only with its sights, but also by Palio on horses (Palio di Siena). Palio di Siena is held annually. This event is a great holiday for local residents. The first horse racing in Siena took place in 1656. From 1656 to 1701 the races were held only once a year – on July 2. Since 1701 and to this day Palio di Siena are held twice a year – July 2 and August 16. More information about Palio di Siena you can read here.
The main sights that are worth visiting in Siena are: Duomo di Siena – the main cathedral, Piazza del Campo – the main square of Siena and the Torre del Mangia – the tower adjacent to the town hall.
The Siena Cathedral is located in Piazza del Duomo. From this square there is a beautiful view of the cathedral and bell tower. But since the area is small in size, it is difficult to make cathedral photos in full size. In the same area there are located ticket offices. So, standing in line for a ticket, you can admire Siena Cathedral.
The cathedral was erected in the XII century. In 1313, a bell tower was added to it, the height of which is 77 meters. Today the cathedral is a museum that pleases visitors with its wealth and splendor. Inside the cathedral you can admire the works of such great Italian sculptors as Michelangelo, Donatello, Bernini, and others.
The floor of the cathedral is covered with marble slabs, which depict 56 stories on ancient and Christian themes. The oldest tile is the one on which the Sienna Wolf is depicted, surrounded by the symbols of the allied cities. It was completed in 1373.
While visiting the cathedral, I advise you not to hurry, but to look attentively at the details. Be sure to visit the library Piccolomini (Libreria Piccolomini). This library was created by the order of Cardinal Piccolomini, to store the cardinal codes and books of the Pope.
Piazza del Campo – the main square of Siena.
The main square of Siena is famous for a number of features:
- The square has a form of a concave shell;
- From Piazza del Campo you can go to the 11 main streets of the city;
- Piazza del Campo is paved with stone of different shades of red in the form of sectors. From the top it looks like an umbrella;
- It is on this square that holds annual races Palio, of which I spoke above.
Until the 12th century the Piazza del Campo was a usual market square. Later it became the center of social and political life in Siena. Today on Piazza del Campo you can observe the facades of the most important city buildings and sights. For example, the medieval Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Pubblico, Torre del Mangia.
Torre del Mangia.
Torre del Mangia is a tower that adjoins the Palazzo Pubblico. The height of the tower is 102 meters. The tower is named in honor of its first owner Giovanni Balduccio.
I recommend that you climb this tower, because from the top of it opens a beautiful view of Siena and the surrounding area. Pay attention to the fact that it is better to buy a ticket in advance. It is only possible to climb the Torre del Mangia at a certain time. Because the number of people who can go up in one moment, is limited. Visit the tower takes about half an hour.
An interesting fact: the tower was built in the same period as the Cathedral of Siena. This became a kind of symbol of the equivalence of secular and ecclesiastical authority in the city.
Siena is a wonderful, cozy and beautiful city, which is full of attractions. I listed only the most basic of them. To visit all the sights of Siena, you should stay in it for 2-3 days. If you want to feel this city and visit all without hurrying, then you can stay there for a week.
In Siena, you probably will not need a map of the city, because there are signposts on the walls of the houses. With them is very easy to find the desired attraction.
Another important feature of the city of Siena is that tickets to museums are valid for 3 days. Plus, you can buy a combined ticket. It will include visits to several museums. This saves time on the queue at ticket offices.
In Siena it’s nice to take a walk through the streets, go shopping, sit in one of the cafes and just admire what surrounds you. Is it worth writing about the wonderful food and wine in Siena? 😉 Therefore, if you have not already been to Siena, plan to visiting it on your next vacation!