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Siena and its historic center

Sienne

Siena, a beautiful medieval town that has retained its character and its quality, and that has had a great influence on art, architecture and town planning in the Middle Ages, both in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. The historic center of Siena, is bordered by a wall of 7 km (built from the fourteenth to sixteenth century) with a path that follows the contours of the three hills on which the city is built. These walls, with their bastions and towers, are crossed by gates that are double at the strategic points, such as the Porta Camollia on the way of Florence. To the west embrace the Fort of Santa Barbara, rebuilt by the Medici in 1560. Siena doubtless benefited from the experience of the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of San Galgano. The main fountains, mostly from the 13th century, are veritable buildings, built as a gothic arcades. The old town is developed from the Piazza del Campo which is located at the junction of three hills and is one of the most remarkable urban open spaces in all Italy. Its formation coincides with the growth of the medieval city and the assertion of communal power. Financial and commercial activities were concentrated halfway of Via dei Banchi Sopra and Via dei Banchi Sotto, and the market place was situated in Piazza del Campo, at that time divided into two sectors. At the end of the 12th century, the municipal government decided to join the two sectors to create a unique semicircular open space, and promulgated a series of ordinances that regulated not only businesses but also the services and the size of the houses (their double-arch windows or windows with three arches), in order to make the facades around the same throughout the square. The Public Palace was probably the model for the Gothic palaces of the great families of the nobility or the merchants (Palace Tomei, Palace Buonsignore), which are characterized by increased length, the use of brick and large windows. After the construction of the Public Palace, works began to beautify the square with the fixation of the pavement, the construction of the Fonte Gaia, decorated by Jacopo Dalla Quercia, the Mangia Tower, and the Chapel of the square. Under the Medici Family, the square becomes the perfect venue for spectacular festivals and was opened to the “Palio”, the famous horse race between teams of different districts of the city. The highest point of the town is crowned by the Cathedral of Santa Maria. Its facade, the lower part of which is the work of Giovanni Pisano, was completed by Giovanni di Cecco after construction of the Nuovo Duomo (New Cathedral), a vast project inspired by the Gothic cathedrals of north of the Alps.

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