Siena is the quintessential hill town, with Italy’s best surviving medieval skyline. Seven hundred years ago, Siena was a major military power in a class with Florence, Venice, Genoa. Siena and its historic center offers Italy’s best Gothic city experience; the first city in Europe to eliminate car traffic from its main square, Piazza del Campo.
Siena is just 50 kilometers away from Florence and 240 from Rome. Explore the center, Piazza del Campo, which is a great medieval square. the piazza is located at the heart of the city’s 17 contrade district, a series of parishes whose ancient rivalries are still acted out in the Palio which take place twice a year. Loyalty to the contrada is a must, and as you wander the streets you will see the parishes’animal symbol on flags, plaques and carvings.
The Palio is Tuscany’s most celebrated event and it occurs in the Campo each year on 2nd July and 16th August. It is a bareback horse race first recorded in 1283, but it may have had its origins in Roman military training. The jockeys represent Siena’s 17 contrade, districts, and the horses chosen are blessed at the local contrada churches. Thousands of visitors gather into the piazzato and watch the race. The winner is rewarded with a silk palio, banner.
San Gimignano is a small town few minutes away from Siena. The thirteen towers that dominate the town’s majestic skyline were built by rival noble families during the 12th and 13th centuries, when the town’s position brought great prosperity. Street by street it remains mostly medieval, rich in works of art, good shops and restaurants.
Siena, great example of medieval town:You will visit the intricate labyrinth of ancient streets and alleys flanked by Middle Age noble palaces of brick and tufa, marble churches and loggias enjoying the surprising variety of viewpoints of one of the most beautiful cities of Italy . Visit the Duomo, cathedral built from 1136 to 1384, one of the most spectacular in Italy and one of the few built in true gothic style south of the Alps. Then reach the Campo, Piazza del Campo, the town’s main square, to see the Fonte Gaia fountain, the 1342 towering gothic palace and Mangia Tower, the home of St.Catherine and the Basilica where her head is exposed as a relic. After lunch with a food- wine tasting of the typical products, which you can buy as special souvenir, go to San Gimignano …