What to see in Siena - 20 places not to be missed

What to see in Siena - 20 places not to be missed

 

When we think of the city of Siena, the first thing that comes to mind, instinctively is its Palio, the whole world knows the Palio of Siena, but this ancient city hides many other wonders, due to its history, to what it has represented over the years, to the role that the city has had for the development of Tuscany. Let's discover its treasures together now.

Piazza del Campo

Piazza del Campo a SienaVisiting Siena, a must-see stop is the visit to Piazza del Campo; this square, in fact, both by tourists and inhabitants, is considered one of the symbolic places of Tuscany. What is most striking about this square is its particular shape, in fact it resembles a shell with nine segments, slightly sloping. The number of these segments is not random, but brings back the memory to the government of the Nine, a government that has remained in the history of the city. This shape is clearly visible on the top of the Mangia Tower (Torre del Mangia). This place has represented and represents the fulcrum of city life: here, in fact, the market was held, politics was discussed, danced during the feasts, today there are events, celebrations and the famous Palio... Read on Piazza del Campo.

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Palazzo Pubblico

Palazzo Pubblico a SienaThe Palazzo Pubblico in Siena is one of the main palaces of the city, built between 1288 and 1342 in the prevailing Gothic style of the time. The Palazzo Pubblico has always hosted the city government, it was the seat of the Government of the Nine, the famous government that in 1300 radically changed the appearance of the city. It was precisely these nine regents who designed and built it, making it last until the present day. When the city government issued an ordinance, for which, on Piazza del Campo, only palaces could be built that had the same style as the Palazzo Pubblico and none of them had to exceed the size of this place. Today the palace is home to the municipal administration and the Civic Museum. Absolutely to admire is the Salone del Gran Consiglio and the arches that support the entire lower floor of the palace. These are particular arches, typical of Siena, that are embellished by an ogiva.... Continue reading Palazzo Pubblico.

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Museo Civico (City Museum)

Museo Civico a SienaIn the Palazzo Pubblico is located the Civic Museum of Siena, a series of rooms that house some treasures of art heritage not only in the city but throughout Italy. This museum is accessed from the courtyard of the palace through an iron staircase. This museum was built in 1930 and is located on the first floor of the building. It is divided into several rooms, here you can admire works of art, which start in 1500 and come, for the most part from the Sienese territory. In the Sala del Risorgimento it is possible to admire various works, dating back to 1800, made by Gaetano Marinelli, Alessandro Franchi, Arnoldo Prunai, just to name a few. Also in this room you can admire the splendid sculptures of Giovanni Dupré, real masterpieces. Read more about the Civic Museum of Siena.
 

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Torre del Mangia

Torre del Mangia a SienaDo you like the landscapes, views and breathtaking views of the cities you visit? Then you can't really help but visit the Torre del Mangia di Siena, a structure 88 meters high, from the top of which you can admire the Cathedral, Piazza del Campo, the entire city and the hills that surround it. The name of this tower derives from its first guardian, Mr. Giovanni di Duccio, who amuses himself to waste the money he earned in the city's taverns.... Read more about Torre del Mangia.

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Cathedral of Siena

Duomo di SienaIf the Palazzo Pubblico is the masterpiece of Siena's civil architecture, the cathedral is for the religious one. The city's most illustrious visitors look at one and the other with astonished admiration: and, for the Duomo, it is enough to remember, among the many prestigious names, those of Taine, Ruskin and Wagner. The Duomo or Cathedral of Siena is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and was built in Romanesque-Gothic style. We don't know exactly when this church was built, what is certain is that in 1226 there was a record of the expenses for its construction. It is very likely that, in the place where the Duomo stands today, once there was a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva, which was later transformed into a religious building. Tradition has it that the consecration of the cathedral took place on 18 November 1179 and that it was consecrated by Pope Alexander III himself... It continues to read on the Cathedral of Siena.

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Museum of the Catedral of Siena

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo di SienaFrom the right side of the Cathedral you can visit the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Catedral of Siena), inside which are preserved all the relics that come from the Cathedral and the Diocese of Siena. In this museum are collected some of the masterpieces of art, not only Sienese, but also Italian, just think that in this place you can admire the Tondo that depicts the Madonna and Child of Donatello, works by Jacopo della Quercia and the Nativity of the Virgin, by Pietro Lorenzetti. The Museum is also called "Opera della Metropolitana di Siena" and the same was already operational in 1180 for this reason is one of the oldest private museums in our country. In the lower part it is possible to admire the collection of statues, many of which were made by Giovanni Pisano. On the first floor you can admire the altarpiece of the Majesty of Duccio di Buoninsegna, dating back to the fourteenth century. Continuing the path you can admire several wooden works, until you reach the Sala del Tesoro, here are exhibited all the works of sacred liturgy, among which stands out the Golden Rose, work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini that Pope Alexander VII gave to the Dome in 1658.

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Baptistery of Siena

Battistero di SienaThe Baptistery of Siena is located near the Cathedral and has always represented a historical place of the city, this is the place where children were baptized and it is the same place where some of the Sienese who made the history of Italy have been baptized. The baptistery is divided into three naves, entirely frescoed. Among the many frescos there are those that depict the Miracles of St. Anthony of Padua by Benvenuto di Giovanni, those that depict the Lavender of the Feet by Pietro degli Orioli and those by Lorenzo di Pietro. The real treasure of this place is the Baptismal Fountain, which is located right in the centre, entirely made of bronze and marble. This work of art, for its realization, has seen the collaboration of many artists including Donatello, Ghiberti and Jacopo della Quercia.
 

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Palio of Siena

Palio di SienaOne of the many reasons why Siena is known worldwide is its Palio. The Palio di Siena is a historic competition, which runs with horses and which reproposes the medieval visitation of costumes and which takes place here twice a year. It was precisely this timeless magic that was created in Siena during the Palio that made it become the most important historical event in our country. The Palio was re-proposed in Siena since 1644 as an event that takes place between the different districts in the city. Initially only the Palio di Provenzano was organized, which takes place on July 2, the district that won this Palio then could organize that of the Assumption, which took place on August 16. If the contrada decided not to organize it, only the one of July 2 took place. For this reason, since 1802 both the Palio di Provenzano and the Palio dell'Assunta have been organized by the Municipality since 1802, in order to guarantee their development. The Palio is attended by 10 districts of the city (in total there are 17) 7 of these districts participate by right, while the other three are extracted a few days before the festival. The costumes, as well as the horses belong to every quarter and all the patrimony is kept inside a church and includes relics, drapes, costumes, flags and any other object that succeeds in reviving the history of the district... Continue to read on the Palio of Siena.

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Pinacoteca di Siena

Pinacoteca Nazionale di SienaThe Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena is one of the most important art galleries in Italy. Here are preserved several masterpieces, in particular made between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, mostly coming from the great Sienese school, such as the large altarpieces with gold background. The artists proposed in almost complete chronological order include city masters or those who have worked in Siena such as: Duccio di Buoninsegna, Piero and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini, Stefano di Giovanni di Consolo called the Sassetta (from Cortona), Francesco di Giorgio, Matteo di Giovanni up to Giovanni Antonio Bazzi called the Sodoma and Domenico Beccafumi... Continue reading on the Pinacoteca di Siena.


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Museum Complex of Santa Maria della Scala

Complesso Museale di Santa Maria della Scala a SienaThe Museum Complex of Santa Maria della Scala is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. In fact, it is located along the route of the Via Francigena and today it has become a museum complex. The structure was born to provide care and shelter for pilgrims and to protect children who were abandoned. Inside, in fact, there are several museums and a lot of museum spaces, there are 4 exhibition levels, for this region has become one of the cultural hubs of the city of Siena. At level 4 we find the Pellegrinaio entirely frescoed with episodes that trace the history of the hospital. Also here there is the Church of Santissima Annunziata, the Old Sacristy, the Chapel of the Madonna, the Chapel of the Manto and the Squarcialupi Palace. On the third level you can admire the Corticella where you can admire the original casts of Fonte Gaia. The second level is not open to the public. Level 1 is the Archaeological Museum. Inside this cultural centre, moreover, various exhibitions and conferences are organized and it is possible to visit the Centre of Contemporary Art, the Brigands' Photo Library, the Library and the Museum of Art for Children, which is able to understand how important it is to grow up in such a stimulating environment.

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Church of Sant'Agostino

Chiesa di Sant'Agostino a SienaThe Church of Sant' Agostino is located on the hill of Sant'Agata, in Siena, at the end of Via San Pietro in front of a square called "Prato di Sant' Agostino". The church, which has among other things the splendid altarpiece with the Crucifixion of Perugino, is the place where Jacopo della Quercia is buried. It was built in 1258, although over the years it was considerably modified, in particular it was almost rebuilt after a fire in 1747 and in 1819 when the external portico was added to the structure. In 1755 the great architect of the Royal Palace of Caserta (among other things) Luigi Vanvitelli, took charge of reconstructing it.... He continues to read on the Church of Sant' Agostino.

 

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Basilica of San Domenico

Basilica di San Domenico a SienaThe Basilica of San Domenico in Siena is one of the most important and ancient churches of the city of Siena, it was built in 1200 and inside it is possible to admire the relic of the head of St. Catherine of Siena. The church was built by the Dominicans in 1226 and was modified over the years. Since 1925 the church has been called Basilica Minore. The structure presents itself, in the complex in Cistencian Gothic style, with different bricks, because beggars used poor materials for the construction of their churches. The shape of the façade has no decorations and there is a large central rose window. The bell tower dates back to 1340. The plan of the church is very particular, it is in fact an Egyptian cross, with only one nave surmounted by trusses. The nave is divided into two floors, in the first floor there are several altars and in the second of the typically Gothic windows with windows. The Chapel of Santa Caterina is located on the right wall and it is here that we can admire the relic of the head of the Saint, venerated all over the world. This chapel was built in 1466 to house the relic. The head of Saint Catherine was separated from the rest of the body and was taken to Siena in 1384 four years after her death. The relic is kept inside an altar dating back to 1569. The chapel is entirely decorated with frescoes, among which we can admire the Liberation of an obsess by Saint Catherine, created by the Vanni.

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Basilica of San Francesco

Basilica di San Francesco a SienaThis church was built in 1200 and is located in Piazza San Francesco. The original structure was in Romanesque style, but over the years it was remodelled and today takes on a typically Gothic connotation. This church was built in 1228 by the Franciscans who arrived here after the death of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Sienese are very devoted to this church also because what went down in history here, such as the Miracle of Details, happened. On August 14th, 1730, a pyx was stolen in this church, with 351 parapets inside, or consecrated hosts. On August 17, the particles were found in an alms box, which was also full of dust. The details were brought back to the church of San Francesco and the faithful asked that they be preserved in order to adore them. Even today, after all this time, these particles are still intact, on their surface there is no trace of mould or decomposition, as the laws of nature require, but they are there, just as they were in 1730 to testify that the Eucharist is the living miracle of Jesus who gives himself to us. The basilica has an Egyptian cross structure and a single nave. Very particular is the Cappella Maggiore with a modern marble altar and a wonderful glass window, defined one of the most beautiful modern windows. Inside this church, as well as in many other churches of Siena there are the flags of all the districts of the city.
 

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Basilica of San Clemente in Santa Maria dei Servi

Basilica di San Clemente in Santa Maria dei ServiThis Basilica was erected by the order of the Serviti (Servants) who arrived in the city in 1250. Initially the religious settled outside the city centre, but the municipality invited them to build a church inside the walls, in the same place where the church of San Clemente stood. The plan of this church is an Egyptian cross and is divided into three naves, supported by round arches. It is presented as a whole, in a typical Tuscan Renaissance style. Inside you can admire several frescos, including that of Our Lady who frees the souls of Purgatory, the painting of the Madonna del Bordone by Coppo di Marcovaldo, the Nativity of Mary by Manetti, the Madonna with the seven holy founders by Franchi, the Annunciation by Vanni, the Painted Cross by Nerio, the Madonna and Child by Bonaventura and Sant'Agnese by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

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Church of San Giuseppe

Chiesa di San Giuseppe The Church of San Giuseppe was built starting from 1522 at the behest of the Woodworkers' Art who wanted to honor the patron Saint Joseph. The plan is a Greek cross, its facade is entirely covered with bricks and formed by two orders. Inside this church it is possible to admire numerous works of art from 1600 to 1900. The dome is entirely frescoed with the Genealogy of Saint Joseph of Apollonio Nasini. To admire the statue of St. Joseph and the wooden crucifix, made during the Baroque period.
 

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Piccolomini Palace

Palazzo Piccolomini a SienaThis palace is the most beautiful Renaissance building in Siena. Giacomo and Andrea Piccolomini made by the grandchildren of Pope Pius II. It has a facade entirely made of stone where there are the two coats of arms of the Piccolomini family. Since 1858, the State Archives have housed 60,000 very valuable parchments and various state documents from 1100 to 1800.

 

 

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Teatro dei Rozzi (Theatre of Rozzi)
Teatro dei Rozzi a SienaIn Siena, from 1531 the "congrega dei Rozzi" had been formed, a union of craftsmen, who in 1690 became an Academy. The Academy's mission was to preserve the popular art of the city. The Academy of Wells, in 1807, conceived its own theatre and the work began 8 years later. The first opera to be performed in this theatre was L'Agnese by Fitzenry by Ferdinando Paer. Over the years it has been one of the key places for Sienese culture, has been restored and since 29 May 1998 reopened to the public. Inside it can accommodate 499 people and there are plays, musical works and various cultural meetings.
 

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