Siena is a city with a glorious past, rich in medieval and historical reminiscences. Its success is due to the ancient Via Francigena, which ran through the Senese connecting the north to Rome. Villages, monasteries and convents dotted around Siena. In the thirteenth century the city was the most important in Tuscany, in spite of Florence which became famous only after. financial activities and foreign exchange, trade and universities were an important cultural center of Siena. Guilds, arts and “banks” rose continuously. The Romanesque architecture abounds. Also present Gothic architecture, symbol of the republican spirit. Great artists were Simone Martini and the brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
Here are the monuments not to be missed:
PIAZZA DEL CAMPO
With its typical shell shape serves as a side dish to the main surrounding monuments such as Torre del Mangia, the Public Palace (which houses the municipal museum) and the Gaia source. The square is home to twice a year the famous Palio di Siena, which transformed the area into an open air stage for this emblematic medieval spectacle. The Torre del Mangia is 88 meters high and was raised in 1338. From the top you can enjoy a spectacular view of the whole city, so visit it and go through all the steps to the top.
LOGGIA DELLA MERCANZIA
Located in the back of Piazza del Campo, the road on which passed the ancient Via Francigena, it has 5 emblematic statues dating back to the sixteenth century, between Gothic and Renaissance.
Renaissance building of the thirteenth century built by Pope Piccolomini or Pope Pius II. Example of typical Florentine fifteenth-century architecture, now houses the headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Inside the collection of Biccherne, 103 artistic tablets obtained by the Treasury Municipal, as well as seals, documents and administrative books.
SPEDALE DI SANTA MARIA DELLA SCALA
Founded in 898 to assist the poor, the sick and pilgrims, it holds great wonders inside: frescoed rooms, dense underground tunnels, speakers, the old sacristy with its famous paintings, the old infirmary room known as the Pilgrims, and the Museum Archeologico Nazionale. (Piazza del Duomo 2, Siena, tel. 0577 224811).
Imposing building ordered in 1561 by Cosimo I de ‘Medici. Today it houses the great gardens, perfect to visit with children. Location to visit because of the presence of Italian Enoteca, to taste the most famous Italian wines. The Fortress is also the headquarters of the Siena Jazz. (Freedom Square 1, Siena, tel. 0577 228811).
Excellent Italian gothic emblem, can be visited for a fee every day except Sunday mornings. Famous for its white marble, blacks and greens, they have worked great artists like Donatello, Michelangelo and Pisano.
Monumental building built by Pope Piccolomini (Pius II), as the Florentine Renaissance style. It houses the State Archives of Siena with historical documents. (Via Banchi di Sotto, Siena, tel. 0577 40563)
San Cristoforo is located on the square. Typically the thirteenth-century façade with mullioned windows.
PALAZZO CHIGI SARACINI
It houses the Chigi Music Academy since 1932. Inside there is a famous cloister, also houses furnishings, fabrics, walls, murals, sculptures, porcelain, manufacturing, ceramics, musical instruments of the neoclassical and Romantic period. (Via di Città 89, Siena, tel. 0577 22091).
Many works of art, with important artists of the Sienese school from ‘300 to’ 400.