Palazzo Pubblico

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Piazza del Campo

Siena - Piazza del Campo - view from the top
Siena - Piazza del Campo  - panoramaSiena - Palazzo PubblicoSiena - Piazza del Campo  - view

Possibly one of the most famous and beautiful medieval squares in Italy is the Piazza del Campo, found in Siena. The shell-shaped piazza is bordered by the Palazzo Pubblico with its bell tower, Torre del Mangia, as well as several ancient palazzos and the Fonte Gaia, a white marble fountain. Piazza del Campo is also renowned for the Palio di Siena, an important horse race which occurs twice a year and takes place around the edges of the piazza.

Points of interest

Piazza del Campo has been used as a marketplace since at least the 12th century, when the town was still young and the space was still devoid of its landmarks today. It was paved with red bricks in the mid 14th century to better suit the square and its surrounding palaces.

Fonte Gaia, the fountain located in the northwest edge of the piazza, was built in the early 15th century over an existing, earlier fountain. The current one has beautiful bas-reliefs of the Madonna, the seven virtues of the Christian faith, and other figures.

Siena

Siena - Duomo - side view
Siena - Piazza del Campo - view from the topSiena - Piazza del Campo  - panoramaSiena - San Domenico - InteriorSiena - Palazzo PubblicoSiena - viewSiena - Piazza del Campo  - viewSiena  - Duomo - top viewSiena - San Domenico - FrescoesSiena  - San Domenico - View

Probably the most famous medieval town in the Tuscan countryside, Siena offers a wealth of culture, art and cuisine. The town is also renowned for holding the always exhilarating Palio, a historical horse race held twice a year.

Originally an Etruscan settlement, it later became a small Roman town which unfortunately did not prosper under the Roman Empire due to its isolation. It was not until the 4th century, when the Lombards invaded, that Siena began to grow. The town’s medieval period saw the construction of many churches, houses and fortifications that have been wonderfully preserved and can be visited today. Because of its beauty and history, Siena was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Things to see

The Piazza del Campo is the famed shell-shaped town square that hosts the Palio horse race. It also houses the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, two stunning examples of Sienese medieval architecture. The Duomo di Siena, located near Piazza del Campo, is a beautiful 12th century Romanesque-Gothic cathedral housing an impressive collection of artworks. These include the famed lion-decorated pulpit by Nicola Pisano, perfectly preserved Renaissance frescos by Domenico Ghirlandaio, and bas-reliefs by Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti and Jacopo della Quercia.

The lush hilly countryside that surrounds Siena is also well worth exploring. Perhaps consider stopping in one of restaurants in town to taste the delicious local cuisine and try some of the wines from the area.