Visit Siena in Tuscany

Siena is just 40 minutes from our villa for rent ownersdirect.
In the streets of Siena time seems to have stood still. It is easy to chart the different stages in the history of this unique city, which appears frozen in a Gothic  reverie. Its picturesque urban plan was imposed by the Council of Nine in the 14th century and, in subsequent periods, new buildings were gracefully introduced into the Gothic layout without undermining the overriding sense of harmony that has always characterized this city.
PIAZZA DEL CAMPO.  The main square in Siena is one of the most emblematic  and complex urban areas in the world and has served as a model for architects and city planners. The sloping piazza follows the original incline of the valley, just as its original shell shape was dictated by the garland of palaces that once stood on the old Via Francigena. The Campo is the true heart of the city, the arena for key events over the centuries and the age-old venue for the thrilling races of the Palio. It is bordered by beautiful palaces, some of which still preserve their medieval aspect. Other have been remodeled in subsequent periods, either in baroque style or early neo-gothic.  At the northern end of the paved brick piazza stand the FONTE GAIA.  This is a 19th century copy. The original, sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia in the first half of the 15th century, has been moved to the Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala.
PALAZZO PUBBLICO. In the late 13th century, the Council of Nine decided to construct a new building to house the various state offices and departments and give themselves more space. Between 1297 and 1308, the Palazzo Pubblico assumed what was more or less its definitive shape, although it took another forty years to complete the wing of Podestà and the Torre del Mangia. The front of the building has a high limestone fascia with doors and windows ending in the typically Sienese pointed arch. There are two rows of the  three –light brick windows on the upper part of the façade whose original splendor has recently been restored. The vast rooms inside have been converted into the MUSEO CIVICO.
TORRE DEL MANGIA. This  bell tower (1325-48) stands on the end of the left wing of the Palazzo Pubblico. It is crowned by a travertine belfry designed by Lippo Memmi to hold the great bell, hung there in 1666. The bell is still used to celebrate special events and to mark key moments in the Palio.
DUOMO. The cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the most outstanding monuments in Italy, even if its checkered past has in some ways undetermined its stylistic unity. Many architects collaborated on this cathedral, including Andrea Pisano who created the wonderful lower section of the façade between 1285 and 1296. In the early 14th century the Sienese ambitiously decided to enlarge the already colossal structure on the side facing Via di Città, which would have made it the largest church in Christendom. However , the project had to be abandoned due to lack of space and the economic crisis caused by the plague of 1348. The gigantic skeleton of the so-called Duomo Nuovo, its colonnade open to the sky, was left standing: an unfinished monument to an extraordinary idea. The interior of the Duomo is a glorious treasure-trove of art. Visitors will immediately be struck by the luminous striped columns that enhance the vast space. The pavement, illustrated with 56 scenes, boasts graffito and marble mosaic. The high (1532), designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi, is topped by a large ciborium (1472) by Vecchietta and embellished with bronze angels by Francesco di Giorgio e Beccafumi. On the left-hand side is the famous octagonal pulpit carved by Nicola Pisano, with his son Giovanni and Arnolfo di Cambio, between 1266 and 1268. Off the left aisle is the entrance to the Chapel of San Giovanni Battista with the bronze statue of St John the Baptist (1457), a masterpiece by Donatello. Nearby is the entrance to the LIBRERIA PICCOLOMINI, commissioned by Pope Pius III to celebrate the achievements of his uncle Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Pope Pius II. The great fresco cycle, in ten scenes, was commissioned from Pinturicchio, then at the height of his career, and completed between 1505 and 1507. The library houses some priceless illuminated codices.
BAPTISTERY. This is in the main body of the cathedral and, in addition to the fresco cycles that are thought to rank among the greatest achievements of 15th century Siena (by Vecchietta), it contains a spectacular baptismal font. All the major Italian Renaissance sculptors contributed to this work, begun in 1416.