Today we travel west to Siena said to be Italy’s loveliest medieval city and a trip worth making even if you are only visiting Tuscany for a few days. Siena is believed to have been founded by Senius, son of Remus, one of the two legendary founders of Rome thus Siena’s emblem is the she-wolf who suckled Remus and Romulus.
The city sits over three hills with the heart of the city being the large Piazza del Campo where the Roman forum used to be and known worldwide for the famous Palio run there, a horse race run around the piazza two times every summer. Movie lovers will recognise the piazza from the recent James Bond thriller, ‘Quantum of Solace’ as well as many other movies including ‘Letters to Juliet’.
The Campo is dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower, Torre del Mangia. Along with the Duomo of Siena, the Palazzo Pubblico was also built during the same period of rule by the Council of Nine. The civic palace, built between 1297 and 1310, still houses the city’s municipal offices much like Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
Its internal courtyard has entrances to the Torre del Mangia and to the Civic Museum. If you feel energetic, a climb up of over 500 steps will reward you with a wonderful view of Siena and its surroundings. The Museum, on the other hand offers some of the greatest of Sienese paintings. The Sala del Concistoro houses one of Domenico Beccafumi’s best works, ceiling frescoes of allegories on the virtues of Siena’s medieval government.