It’s only 65 kms (45 minutes drive) from Florence and the surrounding landscape is known as one of the most beautiful of the world.
You can choose different routes that heading south from Florence can bring you to Siena. The fastest is the “Superstrada del Palio” (65 kms). But if you’re not in hurry you may choose to ride on one of the most beautiful roads of Italy, the “via Chiantigiana”
It starts south east of Florence from the suburb ancient town of Bagno a Ripoli. Following the “Chiantigiana” road you will get to Greve in Chianti (30 min from Florence) that really deserves a stop for its peculiar market square. Then heading south you will pass Panzano in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti and after the tiny village of Fonterutoli you will start seeing Siena. Lying on top of a line of hills the medieval town will show you its beauty from different angles at each curve of the road. An unforgettable series of views.
And when you are in Siena you obviously must start from Piazza del Campo where the “Palio di Siena” each year attracts thousands of spectators.
This path through Siena starts from the famous Piazza del Campo and leads to the equally famous piazza Duomo.
Piazza del Campo is one of the most famous squares in the world, both for its shape and for hosting the historical Horse Race the “Palio di Siena”. It is located in the town centre, at the gathering point of the 17 districts.
It stands on the remains of the ancient Roman forum: it took the current shape, that of a civic square, in the late XIII century. Before then, it also hosted the main marketplace in the city. The square hosts two main monuments: the public palace and the tower of Mangia. The Public Palace is in Gothic style; today, it hosts the town hall and several artistic and cultural events; the tower of Mangia stands over the palace. This bell tower is 102 meters high and it is the second highest tower in Italy.
The Gaia Fountain stands in front of the Palace: this monument and its surrounding bas-reliefs are copies made in the XIX century, reproducing the original work by Jacopo della Quercia, built from 1409 to 1419.
The Merchants’ Lodge stands behind the fountain: it takes its name from the fact that in Middle Age it hosted most of merchants and moneylenders’ activities.
From the fountain, leaving the Public Palace behind you, you can follow Via della Città, pass beyond Via del Capitano and reach Piazza Duomo.
This cathedral is a fine example of architecture, featuring miscellaneous artworks, sculptures, paintings and displaying a fine Romanesque-Gothic influence.
Near the cathedral you can visit the Museum of the Cathedral’s Works, whose featured works include samples from great artists such as Duccio di Boninsegna.
If you wish to go back to the town centre, you can follow the same itinerary or flank the Cathedral, following via dei Pellegrini or the bells? alley, to go back to Piazza del Campo.
Things to see
. Piazza del Campo
. Public palace
. Tower of Mangia
. Gaia Fountain
. Merchant?s Lodge
And what about the roads of crafts and old works in a Siena? Want to take a look?
You can also book now a guided tour to Siena
But Siena is also world wide known for its pastries. Take a look at the delicacies from Siena.
And where to sleep?
Here are a couple of suggestions:
Residenza d'Epoca Palazzo Fani Mignanelli, a palace in the very center of Siena, two minutes walk from Piazza del campo
Residenza San Domenico, with a wonderful panoramic view of the city
Hotel Garden an ancient Villa located to the north of Siena
Hotel Arcobaleno situated in an enchanting country villa from the 1800s at the gates of Siena
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