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Slow Travel Google Map: Siena 360
Palazzo Chigi Saracini
In the courtyard of this 14th century "Palazzo" is an ancient well and it is a calming place to sit and ponder. It was the seat of the Council of the Republic of Siena before the construction of the Palazzo Pubblico. During the 18th century it housed works of art and a museum. Now part of it is the base of the "Accademia Musicale Chigiana."
Construction commenced in 1297 of this as the base for the original governors of Siena and it dominates the lower area of the "Campo." From here you can gain access (prepare for a queue) to the "Torre del Mangia" (1325-44)for stunning views of the city.
For over a hundred years this has been the home of Italy's oldest bank the "Monte dei Paschi di Siena." The building itself is 14th century and Gothic in style.
Fortezza di Santa Barbara
From this 16th century fortress, which is open to the public, you can look back onto the historic centre of Siena. Originally commissioned by Cosimo 1 de' Medici, its role was to prevent any rebellion against Florence's rule of the city after the siege of 1554-5.
Basilica S. Maria dei Servi
Some distance south of Siena's Campo (and its crowds) is this large 13th century Basilica with tall bell tower (campanile). Inside are paintings from the 13th to 15th century including Taddeo di Bartolo's "Nativity", Rutilio Manetti's "Birth of the Virgin", Matteo di Giovanni's "Massacre of the Innocents" and Coppo di Marcovaldo's "Madonna del Bordone".
Basilica di San Francesco
Originally this late 13th century Basilica was home for many works of art, which were unfortunately lost in a fire in 1600. Adjoining it are departments of Siena's university within its former convent. Across the piazza is the "Oratory of San Bernardino" (15th century).
Basilico di San Domenico
This Gothic Basilica (1226-65) houses the "Cappella di Santa Caterina" with frescoes and reputedly her head and finger within the altar, apparently smuggled out of Rome (where she died) back to her native Siena. Saint Catherine (1347-80) is jointly with "St Francis of Assisi" a patron saint of Italy. Other mostly 15th century paintings are displayed including Matteo di Giovanni's "Madonna and Child with Saints" (1479).
S.Maria di Provenzano
This Baroque church(1594) not only houses paintings by Sodoma, Perugino and Matteo di Giovanni but also the "drappellone" given to winners in Siena's famous "Palio" horse race.
Campo from Fonte Gaia
Originally constructed (1409-19) to celebrate the bringing of fresh water along 25km of aqueducts to Siena the "Fonte Gaia il Campo" or Fountain of Joy is at the upper end of the Campo.
Panorama from Facciatone
Next to the cathedral (Duomo) a steep climb up the steps of the "Facciatone" to its viewing platform offers great views of Siena, including the Cathedral and the Campo. Normally shorter queues than for the "Torre del Mangia" in the Campo.
The "Cattedrale di Santa Maria" (1215-63)in Piazza del Duomo is dramatic internally and externally. Original plans to extend it further were suspended due to the effect of the Black Death on Siena's population and wealth.
Within this square is the Palazzo Tolomei (13th century) and the Chiesa di San Cristoforo (12th century). In its centre a column (1610) with the symbol of Siena; a wolf at its top. Legend is that Siena was founded by Remus? sons, having taken a statue of a wolf from the temple of Apollo in Rome.
Piazza del Mercato
From here you can see the rear of the Palazzo Pubblico and its loggias. It is Siena's original market square and still in operation today within an open air construction of 1886 from which it has acquired the nickname of the "tartarugone" (big tortoise).
Piazza il Campo
To describe the "Campo" (1280-1350) as a square obviously understates what is surely one of Italy's great public spaces. The warmth of the "sienna" coloured stone of its buildings is characteristic of Siena. Its role as the venue of the famous "Palio" (2nd July and 16th August) gives you some idea of its scale.
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