Holidays in Tuscany
The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1995. According to local legend, Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus, thus nephews of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. During this period Siena and the following Lombard domination the city didn't prosper. It was only with the age of "communes" and the creation of the Republic of Siena that the city finally prospered. The Republic of Siena lasted until 1555 and it represents the "golden age" of this city. Siena maintains a perfectly preserved historical center, one of the most beautiful expressions of Italian gothic and medieval architecture, that culminates with the Cathedral, Duomo, where some of the most important masterpieces of Tuscan artists’ are preserved. The city had substantial influence on art, architecture and town planning during the Middle Ages, both in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.
The Sienese School of painting flourished between the 13th and 15th centuries and for a time rivaled Florence. The most important representatives are Duccio di Boninsegna, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Domenico and Taddeo di Bartolo, Sassetta, Matteo di Giovanni. The Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena dedicate an entire section to this incredible school of painting.
The Palio (29th June-2nd July/ 13th-16th August)
Known as a horse race, the tradition of Palio deeply influences the life of the city. The city center is divided into 17 "Contrade" (quarters) representing the authentic soul of Siena, small "republics" that keep the tradition of Palio alive and contribute to preserve it intact. The Palio race is the climax of an intense activity that takes place in the "Contrade" all year round and represents for inhabitants a moment of indescribable emotions; the event is one of the reasons why many visitors chose summer for their holidays in Siena.
Some of the treasures You will find in Siena: Piazza del Campo, Torre del Mangia, Forte di Santa Barbara, Palazzo Pubblico, Santa Maria della Scala complex, Piccolomini Library, Pinacoteca Nazionale, San Domenico, Santa Maria dei Servi , San Francesco, Santa Caterina sanctuary.