Siena, the jewel of Tuscany :
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Siena, the jewel of Tuscany
Siena, the jewel of TuscanyPedestrian, 5 km, 1 day
Immersed and completely preserved in the Tuscan countryside, proud and aware of her beauty, Siena is a separate city, which shouldn’t be visited as a museum but as a living city.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
This is one of the world’s most famous squares, composed of a series of monuments in unsurpassed harmony. This slightly sloping “shell” or “fan” in pink and white tones is a fine example of those “open-air drawing rooms” which are such a glory of Italy’s towns, representing less the convergence of thoroughfares but more a kind of urban village green, the focus of all city life bearing witness to the great historical proclamations and factional disputes that make up a place’s history.
Begun in 1339, the original plan for this cathedral was vast but only free-standing pillars give an impression of how vast; the actual structure makes up but one transept of the original design. It is however magnificent; the façade, a harmony of marble, the interior with ever-changing perspectives, the amazing marble pavement, unmatched anywhere in the world, the pulpit by Nicola Pisano, and the frescoes by Pinturicchio in the Piccolomini Library all make this place absolutely superb!
St Catherine lived not far from here. This convent church was therefore the ideal place to have her ecstasies and quickly return home before the powerful and harsh setting could put her off. In the chapel "delle volte", above the altar, is the only authentic portrait of Catherine by Andrea Vanni. In the chapel dedicated to her is the tabernacle where her head is preserved and frescoes by Sodoma depicting episodes from her life.
This entirely brick fountain is the oldest in the town and is architecturally interesting. It refreshed the locals right back in 1080 but it was in 1246 that it took on its present form so typical of Siena.
Along with the Via Banchi di Sopra this is the main commercial street of old Siena. It is pedestrianised with flagstones and no pavements and is flanked by remarkable palaces and runs round the Piazza del Campo.
Nearly opposite the Piccolomini palace or Palazzo delle Papesse is this palace with a long slightly incurved Gothic facade like the one on the palace of the People. It houses the Chigiana academy, an illustrious music academy.
This museum will take you on a fabulous journey through four centuries of Siena painting, from the first Primitives, much marked by the priestly manner of the Byzantine style by Sodoma, grand master of Siena painting from the 16C and, even if the two grand masters of Siena, Duccio and Simone Martini, are poorly represented there, this visit is enchanting. Siena painting is characterised here not just by the evolution of style but also by the ever-present gracefulness.
This is one of the most attractive civil buildings in Italy. Its harmonious and light size is dominated by the elegant Mangia tower from which there is an admirable view over Siena and over the countryside. On a visit to the apartments you will see superb frescoes by Simone Martini in the Sala del Mappamondo. In the famous Peace Room the frescoes illustrate the positive effects of good government and the terrifying effects of bad as seen by Ambroggio Lorenzetti.