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The red paving of the famous Piazza del Campo has nine sections in honour of the Council of Nine of the 13th century, and precisely in the fifth section, in the middle, there is a small, but beautiful fountain. It is the Fonte Gaia, that is to say, the source or fountain of joy. And this fountain, built by an unknown architect in 1343, arose in celebration of the arrival of water in the city. A joy indeed.
Later, in 1408, local sculptor Jacopo della Quercia was commissioned to replace the original fountain with another with a more dramatic appearance. The famous artist took 17 years to finish the fountain with its sculptures, floral reliefs, cornices, coats of arms and other details. For this reason, it is considered one of the masterpieces of the Italian sculpture of the 15th century. Even so, the fountain you see today is a replica made in 1858 by the Sienese sculptor Tito Sarrocchi.
Admire the details at your ease. Among others, on the left, the Creation of Adam. On the right, the Expulsion from Paradise. And, in front of you, the Virgin and Child. All surrounded by angels and virtues. Undoubtedly, it is an exceptionally beautiful work.
If you want to see any of the original sculptures by Jacopo della Quercia, you must go to the former Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala, which now houses an unmissable museum complex. Also, in the Museo Civico other original fragments of the fountain are preserved. Do not miss it.
And, one last tip, about gastronomy. Very near here, to the north, there is an obligatory stop at the traditional Conca d'Oro, located at 24 Via Banchi di Sopra. Furthermore, if you like sweets, you are lucky. Ask for some local specialties, such as panforte, a dessert made of fruit, honey, nuts and spices dating back beyond the 12th century. Interestingly, there are as many recipes for panforte as there are families in Siena and, like the Palio, neighbourhoods compete to offer the most delicious one. The Sienese always accompany it with a good coffee or a sweet wine, such as a Moscatello or Passito del Santo. You will love it.