Idea #641 – Visiting the historic districts of Siena in Tuscany
The historic center of Siena is the embodiment of the medieval city. Historically, its inhabitants have transposed their rivalry with the neighboring cities of Florence and Pisa to the urban level. Throughout the centuries, the city has preserved its Gothic appearance acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period, the works of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini influenced the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The entire city of Siena was imagined as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape.
This Tuscan town developed on three hills connected by three important roads, forming a y and intersecting in a valley which became Piazza del Campo. The fortified wall of seven kilometers still surrounds the site of 170 ha. Protected gates were doubled at strategic points, such as the Porta Camollia on the road to Florence. To the west, the walls enclose the Fort of Santa Barbara which was rebuilt by the Medici in 1560 and completed in 1580.
Inside the walls have survived tower houses, palaces, churches and other religious structures. Also of interest are the town’s fountains, which continue to be fed by an extensive original tunnel system. Siena’s distinctive Gothic style is exemplified by the characteristic arch of Siena, which came from the east and brought into the city during the Crusades. The arch became a dominant feature in later building styles, including during the Renaissance period.
Even when buildings underwent extensive renovations in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries (such as the Town Hall, Chigi-Saracini Palace and Marsili Palace, respectively) preference was given to Gothic elements. Siena is an exceptional medieval city which has managed to keep, to a large extent, its character and quality. It exerted a profound influence on medieval art, architecture and town planning not only in Italy but in much of Europe.
The city is a masterpiece born of determination and imagination. Its buildings have been designed to fit into the general urban fabric while constituting a whole with the surrounding cultural landscape. The city is registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Where is it ?
Sienna, Tuscany, Italia