"More than a horse race" Siena by painterdave

Siena Travel Guide: 899 reviews and 2,730 photos

Siena A City Of Proud People

Siena has been formed around three hills, which has lended itself to dividing up the city in three terzi (parts). It was a free city in the mid 12th century and the wealthy families of Siena began a major banking system which even had branches in other countries.
A small bit of the history of Siena.
Sienna in the Battle of 1240 defeated the Florentines at Montaperti. This battle coined the phrase “Remember Montaperti” which can even be heard today when the two cities meet in a sporting event.
Siena Univerisity was founded in 1203 and in the 13th and 14th centuries the art rivalled that of Florence.
The Black Death of 1348 caused Siena to never recover in its previous place of stature.
In 1554 Cosimo de Medici gathered a huge Florentine army and laid seige to Siena and after 18 months the city surrendered to Florence in 1555. Many well to do families then fled to nearby Montalcino for protection.
However, this was the end of the Siena Republic.

You're Gonna Walk!

If you want to know Siena, you are going to have to walk a lot. That is unless you have a vespa. Cars are not allowed.
It's a good walk up to the Duomo, and you will also want to adventure around and look at things. When you see my accompanying pages you will see how people rest their feet.
Good shoes are a must. Make sure they give you good support.

The Palio

The Palio horse race is held on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August. There are also practice races held during the week before. Each neighborhood has its own rider and is supported with a great passion. It has happened that riders, who are not members of the neighborhood have been paid off to not win, and other underhanded situations occur. Not every neighborhood will race each year, so it is even more important to have an entry and to win.
This race is a major Italian television event. Tickets are difficult to obtain. It is also dangerous for both the horses and riders, deaths have occured.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots to see/ The Duomo is Incredible
  • Cons:Get Ready to Walk A Lot
  • In a nutshell:Read "Too Much Tuscan Sun", by a Sienese Travel Guide
  • Last visit to Siena: Apr 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (4)

Comments (3)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    its true I turned the corner and was shocked to find and even more so the interior such a beautiful cathedral! loved the views from the duomo in the centre's belltower over the surrounding landscape and streets below.lovely visit to this picturesque town

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2007 at 8:17 PM

    Great start on Siena! The Cathedral is spectacular in it's ornamentation...alan

  • nixca316's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2007 at 10:21 PM

    Hi! Can't wait for the other tips...even if this is still under construction, I enjoyed the tips. Take care!

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