Picturesque Siena is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is located in the blessed land of Tuscany - a unique gastronomic region, where many delicacies of Italian cuisine and dozens of varieties of excellent wine come from. Siena is surrounded by fertile landscapes, which, for their exclusivity, have been taken under the protection of UNESCO.
The streets, squares, palazzos and ancient temples of the city are a centuries-old history, frozen in stone. Since the Middle Ages, the Palio horse race has been held in Siena. Until now, they go through a ritual that was established several centuries ago. This event annually attracts a huge number of tourists to the city, who fill all the free space of Piazza del Campo.
An excursion to Siena is included in most tourist routes, which carry "package travelers". Independent tourists are also happy to come to this amazing island of the Middle Ages, which has retained its unique flavor.
What to see and where to go in Siena?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
Piazza del Campo
The central square of Siena, where the facades of luxurious palazzos and mansions go. In the northwestern part of the piazza, there is a marble Fountain of Joy (Fonte Gaia), created at the beginning of the 15th century. The place has become famous thanks to the Palio races, which are held here every year. Piazza del Campo is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
Traditional horse racing, which is held annually in Siena on July 2 and August 16. The history of the competition goes back to the 16th century, when the inhabitants of the city came up with a new holiday instead of the forbidden bullfight. Each district (contrada) of Siena puts its own jockey on the Palio. The process of choosing a rider is accompanied by colorful rituals that have not changed since the Middle Ages.
Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia
The palace on Piazza del Campo, built in the XIII-XIV centuries specifically for the meetings of the republican government of Siena. The building was built in the best traditions of medieval Italian architecture with some emphasis on the Gothic style. Next to the palazzo rises Torre del Mangia - a bell tower 102 meters high, crowned with a covered marble gallery.
Fountain of Joy
The fountain graced the Piazza del Campo in 1419. The sculptor J. della Quercia worked on its creation. Fonte Gaia is made in the form of a pool into which water flows from the mouths of marble wolves and lions located along the perimeter (these animals are the symbol of Siena). Magnificent sculptures are placed in the arched niches of the walls. The originals of these sculptures are now in the museum of the Palazzo Pubblico. At the fountain, tourists can only see copies.
Solemn temple of Gothic architecture, erected in the period 1215-1263. The famous Niccolo and Giovanni Pisano worked on its creation. Separate work continued until the XIV century under the supervision of various architects. The facade and interior of the building are finished with white, black and red marble. Inside the cathedral are a statue of John the Baptist by Donatello and a pulpit made by N. Pisano.
The library is located on the territory of the Siena Cathedral in the halls, painted with frescoes of the early 16th century by the painter B. di Betto, better known as Pinturicchio. These images are of great cultural value, as is the Roman sculpture of the 4th century, located near one of the walls. The Book Depository was created in 1492 at the request of Cardinal F. Piccolomini Todeschini to house the book collection of Pope Pius II.
Baptistery of Saint John
The baptistery is part of the architectural complex of the Siena Cathedral. It was erected in 1316-1325. designed by C. di Crescentino in the Italian Gothic style. Eminent Renaissance sculptors such as Donatello, L. Ghiierti, G. di Nerocchio, D. di Turino, J. della Quercia worked on the marble font of the baptismal and elements of interior decoration. The walls of the baptistery are painted by L. di Pietro (known as Vecchietta).
Opera del Duomo
Museum of 1869, located in Siena Cathedral. The exposition occupies several halls of the right nave. The extensive museum collection consists of marble sculptures by L. Pisano, J. della Quercia, D. Martini and other masters, as well as works by Renaissance and late Baroque painters. It also houses Donatello's famous Madonna del Perdono.
City Museum of Siena
The exposition of the museum is located on the first floor of the Palazzo Pubblico. It consists of works of art created by craftsmen and craftsmen mainly in the period of the 14th-16th centuries. In the museum you can see collections of ceramics, weapons, coins, jewelry and sculpture. The walls of the halls where the exposition is located are decorated with skillful frescoes by A. Lorenzetti. Previously, the city council met in these premises.
House of Saint Catherine
Saint Catherine of Siena was a religious and political figure, as well as a talented writer. Her works contributed to the formation of the literary Italian language. She was canonized in the 15th century, and in the 19th century she was declared the patroness of Italy along with Francis of Assisi. In the old house of the XIV century, where the saint's family lived, a sanctuary was organized, which quickly turned into a pilgrimage center.
Museum complex of Santa Maria della Scala
During the Middle Ages, Santa Maria della Scala was known as one of the largest hospitals in Europe. Here they gave shelter to pilgrims, wanderers, helped homeless children and disadvantaged citizens. The main facade of the complex overlooks Piazza del Campo. Today, the Archaeological Museum, the Briganti Library, the Center for Contemporary Art and the Children's Art Museum are located on its territory.
An art gallery that occupies the buildings of Palazzo Buonsignori and Palazzo Brigidi. Its collection consists of works by Italian masters from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, as well as works from a later time until the end of the 18th century. In the 1970s, the exposition was replenished with works by Flemish and German painters. In addition to painting, sculpture is exhibited in the Pinakothek.
Basilica of San Domenico
Temple of the Order of the Dominicans, built in the XIII century. The construction is more like an impregnable fortress with massive walls and narrow loophole windows than a place where people come to pray and ask God for help. The fact is that during its construction, the likelihood of a military clash with the neighboring Florentine Republic was taken into account. In the event of war, the basilica could hide and withstand a siege.
Basilica of San Francesco
Church of the XIII century, which belonged to the Franciscan monastery. The facade and the right wing of the building retained the features of the Romanesque style in their appearance, the rest of the parts were made in the later Italian Gothic style. In 1655 there was a devastating fire that destroyed the splendid Baroque interiors of the basilica. After the restoration, the interior decoration was given a more modest look.
Church of Santa Maria dei Servi
Temple of the 15th century, originally built in the Gothic style and subsequently rebuilt several times in accordance with more modern architectural standards. The last reconstruction of the church was carried out in the XX century. The interior space of Santa Maria dei Servi is painted with frescoes depicting the lives of the evangelist apostles and episodes from the life of John the Baptist.
Palazzo Chigi Saracini
The palace was built by order of the noble Mariscotti family in the 12th century. In the following centuries, the building changed owners several times. Each new family decorated the building according to their ideas of beauty. The last owner of the palazzo was Count Chigi-Saracini, who in 1932 established a music academy on the territory of the palace, which later became famous throughout the world.
The fortification was built in the 16th century, when the history of the Republic of Siena was coming to an end. Along the edges of its powerful fortress walls are side pentagonal bastions. Over time, the fort lost its military significance and was disarmed, and a picturesque city garden was laid out around the walls. Today, the fortress houses a library, an audio archive, a wine cellar and an office of the Jazz Association.
Fontebranda is a fountain located on the site of an ancient source of fresh water. Its streams alternately flow into three bowls. From the first, people quenched their thirst, the second was used to water the animals, the third - for washing clothes and other household needs. A pavilion was built here in the 13th century. The fountain is located on the territory of the city district of the same name.
Siena Botanical Garden
The history of the garden began in the 16th century with an apothecary garden at the University of Siena. In the 18th century, exotic plant species began to be cultivated here. Over time, the area became scarce, and in the 19th century the plantings were moved to the place where they are still located. The territory of the garden is divided into landscape areas - a rock garden, fern forest, agricultural land, tropical greenhouses.
Cultural landscape of Val d'Orcia
Agricultural land and natural landscapes of the Italian province of Tuscany, located in the vicinity of Siena. This picturesque and fertile valley is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Val d'Orcia consists of well-kept vineyards, cultivated fields, cypress groves and green hills, among which are numerous farms and small private estates.