SIENA

HISTORY

According to the legend, the city was founded by the sons of Remus shortly after the birth of Rome. In fact, Siena shares its insigna with the Italian Capital: the Capitoline Wolf with her twins. However, it was between the tenth and thirteenth centuries that the city reached the top of its splendor. Siena was at the center of pilgrimage paths and important trade routes that also contributed to the birth of its historical banking activity, already flourishing in this era. House to one the most ancient Universities in the world (1240), in the Middle Ages Siena was a prominent Ghibelline outpost and a historic rival of the Guelph city of Florence, defeated in 1260 in the famous battle of Monteaperti, a renowned confrontation also mentioned by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy. However, it was under the Government of The Nine, established in 1287 after the emergence of the Guelph faction, that Siena experienced its greatest urban and economic development, reaching 70,000 inhabitants, as large as the population of London in the same period. The devastating Plague of 1348 eventually marked the beginning of the decline of the Republic of Siena

SIENA

CULTURE

The conservation of its peculiar cultural identity plays a fundamental role for Siena, arguably more important or at least as much as the physical preservation of its artistic treasures. The Palio is the very embodiment of the Sienese identity: a complex set of cultural exhibitions, way beyond mere re-enactment or folklore, the Palio rather permeates the daily life of each inhabitant of the 17 historic neighbourhoods in which the city is divided.  The horserace held twice a year on July 2nd to honour the Madonna of Provenzano and on August 16th for the Assumption of Virgin Mary, namely the Palio itself, is nothing but the most renowned aspect of a tradition that you could easily feel in each alley all across the year. Sacred and profane blend with each other in this magic town, in which horses and drums are welcome inside churches, it is not uncommon to spot a parish priest proudly sporting the colours of his Contrada, as well as citizens raising hymns in Latin to thank the Virgin.

SIENA

ART & MUSEUMS

A few cities in the world can boast a typically medieval urban layout that remained intact and unchanged over the centuries, and Siena is one of them. The famous Piazza del Campo offers perspectives that will leave you breathless, and the City Hall Museum encloses painting masterpieces by Simone Martini and Duccio Di Buoninsegna. The majestic Cathedral in Romanesque-Gothic Italian style is one of Italy’s most famous churches thanks to its rich decorations, from the facade to the flooring, from the distinctive columns streaked in black and white marble, up to the famous pulpit by Nicola Pisano. The Old Hospital Santa Maria della Scala hosts a one-of-a-kind museum and reflects the vocation of the city for welcoming pilgrims. The National Art Gallery, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and the State Archives, with its famous medieval “Biccherne”, are just a few among many museums that Siena has to offer. A city to be studied and admired  in depth, or in which to get lost without a fixed destination, drifting and amazed by the breathtaking views awaiting you around every corner.

SIENA

FOOD & WINE

Le infinite varietà enogastronomiche offerte dalla città di Siena meritano un capitolo a parte. Il vasto territorio della provincia che fu Repubblica offre una sterminata cornucopia di sapori che confluiscono nel capoluogo: dai salumi di cinta senese, ai formaggi di Pienza; dalle antiche ricette di primi, zuppe e carni, tramandate per secoli sin dal medioevo, fino agli impareggiabili dolci tipici: cantuccini, panforte, ricciarelli e cavallucci. Il tutto assaporabile in una vastissima selezione di locali, dai ristoranti stellati alle osterie medievali, senza tralasciare i piccoli vinai, nei quali gustare un semplice tagliere di eccellenti salumi tipici circondati da scorci pittoreschi. Allo stesso tempo, il territorio offre vini fra i più pregiati al mondo, dal Chianti al Brunello di Montalcino, dal Vino Nobile di Montepulciano alla Vernaccia di San Gimignano. L’Enoteca Italiana, situata in uno dei bastioni della Fortezza Medicea, è il luogo ideale per degustare questi e molti altri vini, spesso accompagnati da note di musica jazz dal vivo.