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.
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.
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.
Palazzo Pubblico i.e. town hall is one of Siena's finest medieval structures. It is home to the Civic Museum, which holds the "Majesty" by Simone Martini. The Sala della Pace (Room of Peace) is the location of the "Allegory of Government" by Ambrogio Lorenzetti which is the largest non-religious pictorial cycle from all of the Middle Ages. This cycle alone would merit a visit, even if there were nothing to see but thankfully there are more artworks to marvel here.
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.
The "Accademia Rozzi" built it's own theater in 1807. Finally opened to the public with a grand celebration 10 years later, the theater was closed in 1945 due to damage sustained during World War II. After an extensive restoration, the theater reopened in May of 1998, and today can seat 499 guests and hosts a number of varied performances.
This is the church of the Templars in San Gimignano, city of towers that has a unique horizon. It is of 13th century, pre-Gothic, architecture, and probably had little to do with the knights of the Templars themselves, despite the legend. It is worth a visit because of the peaceful atmosphere here as well as to see the works by Memmo di Filippuccio.
The Badia castle was probably built during the invasion of the barbarians as a place of defense for the local population. The first documentary evidence dates from July 25, 983, showing the donation of the castle, from the annexed church of San Michele and the numerous other properties, built by Ugo, count of Tuscany, to the Abbott Bononio of the Camaldolesi monks. Only the cloisters of the ancient monastery from the 11th Century still remain, which are visible in the southern part of the castle.
It is not exact to say that Via Francigena passes through Via Banchi di Sopra. It crosses the whole city and exits through Porta Romana to the south. Siena was a fundamental stop on the path from Canterbury to Rome and was where pilgrims coming from the northwest met those coming from the northeast. The city was a hospitable one and there were many different places for pilgrims to stay.
This port dates from the second half of the 13th Century and is only 300 meters away from the Camollia port. Originally with just one port, another one was added in the 17th Century. Shadows of frescoes remain on the walls. They can just be made out but they are of great prestige and charm. Now it is little more than a traffic island.
Vicolo delle Carrozze is a small road that passes under old houses, arches and balconies accessed from Via Diacceto, and is considered one of the most characteristic streets of Siena. In the past it was considered a dangerous place where there were "ugly and dishonest things" and where murderers would lurk in dark corners.