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It is said that all roads lead to Rome. In Siena, however, all the streets lead to the Piazza del Campo. Located in the heart of the city, this place is a must for any visitor worth their salt. It is known worldwide for its size, its architectural homogeneity and the fact that the Palio is held here.
You will see it has the shape of a shell or a fan and, although some experts believe that, originally, a Roman forum was located here, the truth is that that is an outdated theory. The oldest information on the square dates from the 12th century, when it was just a field that was used to channel the output of rainwater from the city. Soon, the Community of Siena bought the area and transformed it into a large space to house the market and other public events. But the creation of the Piazza del Campo, as we see it today, did not begin until 1293, when the Governo dei Nove, or Council of Nine, the governing body of the city, decided to build this great plaza to centralise the civic life of Siena. To do this, they chose this place, the only land which, at that time, was not owned by any of the parishes of the city. Construction was completed in 1349.
The curious paving of the Piazza del Campo began in 1327 and took 20 years to finish. You will find that the paving is of red brick and is divided into nine sections, in specific reference to the Council of Nine. And you will notice, too, that it is designed clearly marking the differences of the land on which it sits.
We advise you to relax by sipping a cappuccino or, if it is hot, a glass of good Chianti in one of the many cafes around the Piazza del Campo, and enjoy the atmosphere of the place and the different palaces flanking this beautiful medieval square, like the Palazzo Comunale or Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia.