Historic Centre of Siena
Trade, finance and art.
Chief city of the province of Siena.
Location and siteSituated in southern Tuscany about 60 km. south of Florence, Siena was established at the junction of three Chianti hills between the valleys of the Arsia and Else Rivers.
Siena's bastioned ramparts, which are reinforced with towers and date to between the 14th and 16th centuries, adapt to its topography and enclose its historic centre. Piazza del Campo, the heart of the city, is situated at the junction of three hills and at the intersection of the three roads which make up the "Y" on which the city's layout is based. This famous site, the Piazza del Campo, possesses the contours of a "coquille Saint-Jacques" and slopes towards the point of convergence, the Palazzo Pubblico with its discreetly curved facade. Green spaces are integrated into the landscape.
The city, with its dense urban fabric, possesses great architectural unity. The reddish tone of the brick is in harmony with the slate of the surrounding hillsides. In addition to Romanesque and Renaissance elements, the Italian Gothic style, influenced by the Orient at the time of the Crusades and expressed in the form of slender arcades, is dominant. Numerous Gothic-style fountains, dating for the most part to the 13th century, add to Siena's finery and harmony.
Siena is an exceptional medieval city which has maintained its character and its quality. It has exercised a genuine influence on the art, architecture and urban design of the Middle Ages not only in Italy but throughout a large part of Europe. Its buildings were designed in harmony with both its urban fabric and the ensemble that it forms with the surrounding cultural landscape. (I), (II) and (V).
- An Etruscan settlement preceded the Roman colony known as Julia Saena, which was founded under Augustus in 29 B.C.
- The medieval city developed along the Via Francigena. This road, which was used by pilgrims, dates to about 1000 A.D.; it replaced the Via Cassia, which was older and linked northern Italy to Rome under the Lombards (568-774) and then under the Franks. The Piazza del Campo was formed at the crossroads of the routes between Rome, Florence and Maremma.
- The Ghibellines of Independent Siena (1186-1555) were the enemies of the Guelphs of Florence. The two cities fought famous battles over territorial claims, including Montaperti in 1260 and Colle Val d'Elsa in 1269. Sienese merchants and bankers, who had become renown in the great European markets and the papal court, assured the city's prosperity. The city enjoyed its heyday in the 13th century, when Gothic monuments flourished.
- When the bourgeoisie took over in 1287, the city experienced an economic and architectural boom. The facades of the Piazza del Campo were harmonised at this time and the Gothic style continued to flourish until the Black Death in 1348.
- When it was passed into the hands of Cosimo I de Medici in 1559, Siena became part of the Great Duchy of Tuscany. In 1859, it was the first Tuscan city to join the Kingdom of Italy.
|M. Luigi De Mossi|
|Comune di Siena|
Il Campo, 1
53100 Siena, Italia
+39.577 29.22.07, 29.24.73