Piazza del Campo and the Palio
Universal symbol of Siena city, Piazza del Campo is the fulcrum of its center. Considered one of the most beautiful medieval squares of Europe, is known for its wonderful architecture. The Piazza is shaped like a shell and is divided in nine sections paved in red brick.
The Piazza was not always like we can see today. In the past the area of the square was a medieval marketplace, where people from the various town came to trade and exchange informations. The square was built on the intersection of the three main towns Camollia, Castellare, and San Martino.
These three towns join together to form the city of Siena, then governed by the Council of Nine, that was the major responsible of the development of the area. In fact, they were been added infrastructures and facilities, with the intention to create a harmonious feeling between the buildings and the square.
What to see
Torre del Mangia
One of the most recognizable building in Siena, the Torre Del Mangia, with its 87 meters of height, offers a fabulous views of the city. Built in the 14th century, the Tower can be climbed until the top with about 400 steps, but it worth the effort.
Located at the base area of the Torre del Mangia, the Palazzo Pubblico or Palazzo Comunale was created to be the Piazza's center and it is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic buildings in Italy. It is also the home of the Civic Museum, that host fabulous frescoes.
The Palio race
Piazza del Campo is also the main base of well known Palio, a horse race that take place every year on July 2 and August 16. This race is run to celebrate the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, near some old houses owned by Provenzano Salvani. The first Palio was run for the first time in 1701 and is a secular tradition related to the Contradas origins. Initially there were about 59 contrade, nowaday only 17 remain, symbol of the historical subdivisions of the city inside the medieval walls.
During this special event, the Piazza del Campo is covered with tuff clay, to prepare it as a ring that surround the square. Only 10 of the 17 contrade take part to the race, that starts in the Mossa, an area specifically designed. The horses must run three laps around the Piazza and the first horse that crosses the finish line win the race.
Tour in SienaThe Piazza del Campo, with its main event called Palio, is a wonderful place to visit. But this medieval city have also a lot of other buildings and squares that worth a visit. Piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral, the Crypt and the Piccolomini Library, other than the Baptistery and the Santa Maria della Scala complex. These are just some of the fabulous things to see in this city.
Tuscany Coach advise to visit this wonderful medieval city. You can organise a more-day visit to visit the best places inside the city, or maybe combining plus visits to the best itinerary around this territory. The choice is only yours.
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