Resort in Tuscany near Siena
An architectural masterpiece, realised with great beauty and preserved over eight centuries. The whole city of Siena is a marvellous Gothic monument.
Standing on the smooth cobbles of the piazza, Il Campo, you can imagine the scene for one of the most courageous and historic horse rides, the Palio, where elated crowds cheer on bareback riders, racing at breakneck speeds. The palio only happens twice a year every 2nd July and 16th August, but in the days leading up to the event there are many parades and choral celebrations in passionate support of the individual ‘contradas’, the 17 districts of Siena which are wonderful to see.
Look across Il Campo and you will see it is divided into nine sections, each represented a member of the ruling council. Since the 13th century that council was seated in the Palazzo Pubblico, which dominates the piazza and is still the civic centre. Above the building the Torre del Mangia strides magnificently into the sky, feeling fit and you can climb 500 steps for a spectacular view over the city rooftops or make it to the first floor to enjoy a fine collection of Sienese art.
The Duomo is absolutely magnificent, the outside is all Tuscan black and white stripes, the inside is glorious with gold, marble and gorgeous works of art including Donatello’s famous bronze of St John the Baptist.