Introduction (1)

The Tuscan town of Siena is an exquisite jewel of the Middle Ages, to the point of being considered by many the most beautiful medieval town anywhere in Italy, with many of its historical buildings perfectly preserved.

You will see that most of the city is created and gets its recreation around the Piazza del Campo, from where a large network of steep streets runs in all directions. Starting from here, the old town of Siena can be visited in a day, and even a well-spent morning may be sufficient to get to know the most notable monuments, though you should take it calmly and enjoy Siena's fine dining or, at least, a good glass of local wine on one of its cosy terraces.

In addition to the Piazza del Campo and the beautiful buildings that you can see there, do not miss the impressive cathedral of Siena, one of the largest in the country, as well as the iconic Piazza Salimbeni and Palazzo Piccolomini.

Keep in mind that, if you make your trip in the summer, you may coincide with the celebration of "The Palio", the main festival of the city, which is held on 2 July and 16 August. These are very special dates, where the whole town dresses in costumes from the Middle Ages. 

Its origins date back to 1283, although some historians claim that the tradition goes back to Roman times. The truth is that this is a colourful medieval celebration that has been held since 1664 and consists of a horse race, in which riders represent each of the 17 districts into which Siena is divided. They all compete to win the Palio, or banner, in a spectacular race that does not even last two minutes. It is a real medieval performance known throughout the world. Moreover, all this is preceded by a week of parades, celebrations and banquets in each of the neighbourhoods, which you will surely not want to miss. On the day of the Palio, thousands of spectators fill the Piazza del Campo in the early morning and are willing to wait in the Tuscan summer sun to experience the event. If you are lucky, maybe you can get your hands on one of the seats that are around the square, but be warned that, as a rule, they are usually all reserved several months before.

As you can see, to walk around Siena is to recall the Middle Ages in all senses. Enjoy its monuments, palaces, churches and good Tuscan cuisine.

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