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A Day in Siena

By: Cityseeker
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Piazza del Campo

The Piazza del Campo is a wonder of medieval construction in the heart of Siena. With the piazza's unique fishtail design constructed in rust-colored brick and white stone, the square is a result of excellent city planning. The square was built at the point where the original three towns that made up the city of Siena met and every building built around the square had to meet city guidelines so there was a sense of harmony. The brick laid square is divided into nine sections that represent each of the city's 'governo dei nove' or ruling governors. From a height, the sections look like the folds of a cloak believed to represent Mother Mary's cloak, Siena's patron saint. Today, the square hosts the popular bi-annual Palio or horse race that draws in visitors by the thousands waiting to see the majestic spectacle of thundering hooves.

Siena, Italy
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Museo Civico

Museo Civico is located inside the 13th-century Palazzo Pubblico to preserve and showcase the collection of paintings, frescoes and sculptures of the Sienese School. Sala dei Nove is a magnificent room that served as a chamber for meetings of the councilors of Governo dei Nove government. The walls of this room were adorned with cycle of frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti known as Allegory of Good and Bad Government. The striking piece of art known as Maestà made by Simone Martini between 1312 and 1315, is located inside the Sala del Mappamondo, and is considered as the first real masterpiece of the artist. Other rooms of the palace are also covered with frescoes that are much more contemporary in style such as the one inside the Sala di Vittorio Emanuele II that depicts the episodes from the Unification of Italy. A perfect place to observe the paintings on canvas and wood by artists not only from Italy but from across the world.

Siena, Italy
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Cathedral of Siena

Duomo di Siena, Siena's Cathedral, as it is seen today, stands on a plot of land that has always been dedicated to religion. Archaeological research has shown that there was a shrine built here as early as the 3rd Century. The Church of Santa Maria was built on top of that and then the current Duomo, which began at the end of the 12th Century. It is based on a Latin cross design with three naves. The polychrome marble facade is quite extraordinary. The entrance to the Libreria Piccolomini can be found in the nave on the left. The area dedicated to religious functions is enclosed and must not be entered during Mass as a sign of respect. Photographs are not allowed inside and all mobile phones should be turned off whether services are being held or not.

Siena, Italy
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Museo Archeologico

Transferred from its original home on the ground floor of the Sapienza, today the museum is located in the Spedale Santa Maria della Scala. It has some prehistoric collections, the Etruscan and the Roman eras which illustrate the development of civilization in the Siena-Chiusi area. Private collections were subsequently added including those of Chigi Zondadari and Bonci Casuccini which are particularly interesting.

Siena, Italy
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Banchi di Sopra

This street in Siena is best known for being an ideal location for passeggiata, a slow evening stroll common among locals. Upscale stores and shops line the road and draw many tourists for relaxing evenings of window shopping. Things are centered around the large retail anchor, Upim. Keep an eye out also for some great pastries, like the panforte at Nannini. This street is located near the Piazza del Campo.

Siena, Italy
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Pinacoteca Nazionale

The Pinacoteca Nazionale, one of the most fascinating museums in Tuscany, is located in Palazzo Buonsignori. It was opened to the public, having been donated by Niccolo Buonsignori. It holds works of great value such as the Madonna of the Franciscans by Duccio di Buoninsegna, as well as works by Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Francesco di Giorgio Martini. There is also the Nativity by Lorenzo Lotto, a genius who had the misfortune to cross paths with Titian whose brilliance eclipsed Lotto's talent.

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