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—  Comune  —
Comune di Siena

Coat of arms
Siena within the Province of Siena and Tuscany
Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Province Siena (SI)
Frazioni Costalpino, Isola d'Arbia, Taverne d'Arbia, San Miniato, Vignano, Ruffolo
 - Mayor Maurizio Cenni (Democratic Party)
 - Total 118 km2 (45.6 sq mi)
Elevation 322 m (1,056 ft)
Population (30 April 2008)
 - Total 54,066
 Density 458.2/km2 (1,186.7/sq mi)
 - Demonym Sienese
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 53100, 53010
Dialing code 0577
Patron saint St. Ansanus
Saint day 1 December
Website Official website
Historic Centre of Siena*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

State Party  Italy
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv
Reference 717
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1995  (19th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Siena About this sound listen (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsjɛ(ː)na]; also widely spelled Sienna in English) is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.

The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 169,000 international arrivals in 2008.[1] Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and palio.



Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900 BC to 400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina. The Etruscans were an advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill-forts. A Roman town called Saena Julia was founded at the site in the time of the Emperor Augustus. The first document mentioning it dates from AD 70. Some archaeologists assert it was controlled for a period by a Gaulish tribe called the Saenones.

The Roman origin accounts for the town's emblem; a she-wolf suckling the infants Romulus and Remus. According to legend, Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, who was in turn the brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. Statues and other artwork depicting a she-wolf suckling the young twins Romulus and Remus can be seen all over the city of Siena. Other etymologies derive the name from the Etruscan family name "Saina", the Roman family name of the "Saenii", or the Latin word "senex" ("old") or the derived form "seneo", "to be old".

Siena did not prosper under Roman rule. It was not sited near any major roads and lacked opportunities for trade. Its insular status meant that Christianity did not penetrate until the fourth century AD, and it was not until the Lombards invaded Siena and the surrounding territory that it knew prosperity. After the Lombard occupation the old Roman roads of Aurelia and the Cassia passed through areas exposed to Byzantine raids, so the Lombards rerouted much of their trade between the Lombards' northern possessions and Rome along a more secure road through Siena. Siena prospered as a trading post, and the constant streams of pilgrims passing to and from Rome were provided a valuable source of income in the centuries to come.

The oldest aristocratic families in Siena date their line to the Lombards' surrender in 774 to Charlemagne. At this point the city was inundated with a swarm of Frankish overseers who married into the existing Sienese nobility, and left a legacy that can be seen in the abbeys they founded throughout Sienese territory. Feudal power waned however, and by the death of Countess Matilda in 1115 the border territory of the Mark of Tuscia which had been under the control of her family, the Canossa, broke up into several autonomous regions.

Siena prospered as a city-state, becoming a major centre of money lending and an important player in the wool trade. It was governed at first directly by its bishop, but episcopal power declined during the 1100s. The bishop was forced to concede a greater say in the running of the city to the nobility in exchange for their help during a territorial dispute with Arezzo, and this started a process which culminated in 1167 when the commune of Siena declared its independence from episcopal control. By 1179, it had a written constitution.

This period was also crucial in shaping the Siena we know today. It was during the early 1200s that the majority of the construction of the Siena Cathedral (Duomo) was completed. It was also during this period that the Piazza del Campo, now regarded as one of the most beautiful civic spaces in Europe, grew in importance as the centre of secular life. New streets were constructed leading to it and it served as the site of the market, and the location of various sporting events (perhaps better thought of as riots, in the fashion of the Florentine football matches that are still practised to this day). A wall was constructed in 1194 at the current site of the Palazzo Pubblico to stop soil erosion, an indication of how important the area was becoming as a civic space.

Medieval coin from Siena (12th century).

In the early 12th century a self-governing commune replaced the earlier aristocratic government. The consuls who governed the republic slowly became more inclusive of the poblani, or common people, and the commune increased its territory as the surrounding feudal nobles in their fortified castles submitted to the urban power. Siena's republic, struggling internally between nobles and the popular party, usually worked in political opposition to its great rival, Florence, and was in the 13th century predominantly Ghibelline in opposition to Florence's Guelph position (this conflict formed the backdrop for some of Dante's Commedia).

On 4 September 1260 the Sienese Ghibellines, supported by the forces of King Manfred of Sicily, defeated the Florentine Guelphs in the Battle of Montaperti. Before the battle, the Sienese army of around 20,000 faced a much larger Florentine army of around 33,000. Prior to the battle, the entire city was dedicated to the Virgin Mary (this was done several times in the city's history, most recently in 1944 to guard the city from Allied bombs). The man given command of Siena for the duration of the war, Bonaguida Lucari, walked barefoot and bareheaded, a halter around his neck, to the Duomo. Leading a procession composed of all the city's residents, he was met by all the clergy. Lucari and the bishop embraced, to show the unity of church and state, then Luceri formally gave the city and contrade to the Virgin. Legend has it that a thick white cloud descended on the battlefield, giving the Sienese cover and aiding their attack. The reality was that the Florentine army launched several fruitless attacks against the Sienese army during the day, then when the Sienese army countered with their own offensive, traitors within the Florentine army killed the standard bearer and in the resulting chaos, the Florentine army broke up and fled the battlefield. Almost half the Florentine army (some 15,000 men) were killed as a result. So crushing was the defeat that even today if the two cities meet in any sporting event, the Sienese supporters are likely to exhort their Florentine counterparts to “Remember Montaperti!”.

The historic centre dominated by the Duomo

The limits on the Roman town, were the earliest known walls to the city. During the tenth and 11th centuries, the town grew to the east and later to the north, in what is now the Camollia district. Walls were built to totally surround the city, and a second set was finished by the end of the 13th century. Much of these walls still exist today.[2] 

Siena's university, founded in 1240 and famed for its faculties of law and medicine, is still among the most important Italian universities. Siena rivalled Florence in the arts throughout the 13th and 14th centuries: the important late medieval painter Duccio di Buoninsegna (1253–1319) was a Sienese, but worked across the peninsula, and the mural of "Good Government" by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the Palazzo Pubblico, or town hall, is a magnificent example of late-Medieval/early Renaissance art as well as a representation of the utopia of urban society as conceived during that period. Siena was devastated by the Black Death of 1348, and also suffered from ill-fated financial enterprises. In 1355, with the arrival of Charles IV of Luxembourg in the city, the population rose and suppressed the government of the Nove (Nine), establishing that Dodici (Twelve) nobles assisted by a council with a popular majority. This was also short-lived, being replaced by the Quindici (Fifteen) reformers in 1385, the Dieci (Ten, 1386–1387), Undici (Eleven, 1388–1398) and Twelve Priors (1398–1399) who, in the end, gave the city's seigniory to Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan in order to defend it from the Florentine expansionism.

In 1404 the Visconti were expelled and a government of Ten Priors established, in alliance with Florence against King Ladislas of Naples. With the election of the Sienese Pius II as Pope, the Piccolomini and other noble families were allowed to return to the government, but after his death the control returned into popular hands. In 1472 the Republic founded the Monte dei Paschi, a bank that is still active today and is the oldest surviving bank in the world. The noble factions returned in the city under Pandolfo Petrucci in 1487, with the support of Florence and of Alfonso of Calabria; Petrucci exerted an effective rule on the city until his death in 1512, favouring arts and sciences, and defending it from Cesare Borgia. Pandolfo was succeeded by his son Borghese, who was ousted by his cousin Raffaello, helped by the Medici Pope Leo X. The last Petrucci was Fabio, exiled in 1523 by the Sienese people. Internal strife resumed, with the popular faction ousting the Noveschi party supported by Clement VII: the latter sent an army, but was defeated at Camollia in 1526. Emperor Charles V took advantage of the chaotic situation to put a Spanish garrison in Siena. The citizens expelled it in 1552, allying with France: this was unacceptable for Charles, who sent his general Gian Giacomo Medici to lay siege to it with a Florentine-Imperial army.

The Sienese government entrusted its defence to Piero Strozzi. When the latter was defeated at the Battle of Marciano (August 1554), any hope of relief was lost. After 18 months of resistance, it surrendered to Florence on 17 April 1555, marking the end of the Republic of Siena. The new Spanish King Philip, owing huge sums to the Medici, ceded it (apart a series of coastal fortress annexed to the State of Presidi) to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, to which it belonged until the unification of Italy in the 19th century. A Republican government of 700 Sienese families in Montalcino resisted until 1559.

The picturesque city remains an important cultural centre, especially for humanist disciplines.

The Piazza Del Campo
Il Campo from Torre del Mangia.
Façade of the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall) during the Palio days
Piazza Salimbeni
Church of San Domenico
Panorama of The Cathedral of Siena


Siena retains a ward-centric culture from medieval times. Each ward (contrada) is represented by an animal or mascot, and has its own boundary and distinct identity. Ward rivalries are most rampant during the annual horse race (Palio) in the Piazza del Campo.[3]

Main sights

Siena's cathedral, the Duomo, begun in the twelfth century, is one of the great examples of Italian romanesque architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. It is unusual for a Christian cathedral in that its axis runs north-south. This is because it was originally intended to be the largest cathedral in existence, with a north-south transept and an east-west aisle, as is usual. After the completion of the transept and the building of the east wall (which still exists and may be climbed by the public via an internal staircase) the money ran out and the rest of the cathedral was abandoned.

Inside is the famous Gothic octagonal pulpit by Nicola Pisano (1266–1268) supported on lions, and the labyrinth inlaid in the flooring, traversed by penitents on their knees. Within the Sacristy are some perfectly preserved renaissance frescos by Ghirlandaio, and, beneath the Duomo, in the baptistry is the baptismal font with bas-reliefs by Donatello, Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and other 15th century sculptors. The Museo dell'Opera del Duomo contains Duccio's famous Maestà (1308–1311) and various other works by Sienese masters. More Sienese paintings are to be found in the Pinacoteca.

The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the town square, which houses the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, is another architectural treasure, and is famous for hosting the Palio horse race. The Palazzo Pubblico, itself a great work of architecture, houses yet another important art museum. Included within the museum is Ambrogio Lorenzetti's series of frescos on the good government and the results of good and bad government and also some of the finest frescoes of Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti.

On the Piazza Salimbeni is the Palazzo Salimbeni, a notable building and also the medieval headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of the oldest banks in continuous existence and a major player in the Sienese economy.

Housed in the notable Gothic Palazzo Chigi on Via di Città is the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena's conservatory of music.

Other churches in the city include:

The city's gardens include the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Siena, a botanical garden maintained by the University of Siena.

The Medicean Fortress houses the Enoteca Italiana and the Siena Jazz School, with courses and concerts all the year long and a major festival during the International Siena Jazz Masterclasses. Over two weeks more than 30 concerts and jam sessions are held in the two major town squares, on the terrace in front of the Enoteca, in the gardens of the Contrade clubs, and in numerous historical towns and villages of the Siena province. Siena is also home of Sessione Senese per la Musica e l'Arte (SSMA), a summer music program for musicians, is a fun/learning musical summer experience.

In the neighbourhood are numerous patrician villa, numerous of which attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi:

  • Villa Chigi
  • Castle of Belcaro
  • Villa Celsa
  • Villa Cetinale
  • Villa Volte Alte


The main activities are tourism, services, agriculture, handicrafts and light industry.


Primary (agriculture)

Agriculture counts 919 companies with a total area of 10,755 kilometers2 for a UAA (usable agricultural area) of 6954 kilometers2 or about 1 / 30 of the total municipal area (data ISTAT for the 2000 Agriculture Census V).

Secondary (industry and manufacturing)

The industry sector of the Sienese economy is not very developed, but there are some important manufacturing centres and enterprises.

The Centenary Institute Sieroterapico Achille Sclavo, now American-owned and under other brand, (Novartis Vaccines) produces vaccines and employs about a thousand people. It is the industry leader in a series of small activities related to the pharmaceutical industry: strumentistica, services, special transports.

Parallel is under development industry Biotechnology, supported by joint ventures between the public and private sectors. This is strongly supporting and developing scientific research in both the industries and activities that in private (see below).

The confectionery industry is one of the most important of the traditional sectors of the secondary industry, because of the many local specialties. Among the many, particularly known and appreciated are the typical Ricciarelli biscuits typical pasta of almonds the well-known gingerbread, and thehorses. Noto is also thegingerbread, a sweet made of honey, almonds and pepper, spread in an area ranging between Tuscany and Umbria. All are marketed both industrial and artisan bakeries in different cities.

Other seasonal specialties are the chestnut and the pan de 'Saints'(or Pan co' Santi) traditionally prepared in the weeks preceding the festival of Saints, the November 1.

Another area that has a long tradition of manufacturing industry, which is about six hundred people.

Tertiary (services, finance and commerce)

In this area, the most important financial tivities are those related to the bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

There are also important appearances of the University and the Hospital, which employ thousands of people and serves a catchment area much wider than the already large territory province. Their presence is also important from the standpoint of scientific and medical research. In the territory there is a dense network of micro-enterprises (less than ten thousand) active in trade and tourism.

"Siena city of the wires"

Siena was wired with fiber optic in the last ten years. Interested as the first city in Italy to the Socrates Project(Progietto Socrate) of Telecom, the wiring can receive, in the houses of the township, the television signal via cable. The wiring, built by private companies in partnership with the city, helped to create a civic public station (Channel Civic Senese) cable that transmits only relevant information and local news and gives you access to Internet to broadband in every home. In 2007, however, the station was privatized, separating the tv from the internet. The wiring is currently extending to major centers of the province through another company set up ad hoc (earth cable).


Tourism is certainly a big demand, given the fame of Siena and the number of tourists that this attracts. The vision of Siena as a city-museum limits the presence in day-trips. Only in recent years is trying to build a series of continuous efforts in order to attract a more steady and with periods of stay beyond the hours. Tourism promotion is entrusted to an agency for tourism, Apt of Siena, jurisdiction over the province except the Val di Chiana (entrusted to APT Chianciano Terme).

Arts and crafts

The craft keeps the character of "workshop" or a family business. Besides the classic activities necessary for every city, we signal those related to the restoration and the arts "major" restorers, decorators, carpenters specializing in antique furniture.

In the continuation of ancient tradition, still exist in Siena arts and crafts village considered anachronistic "sequins" (polished furniture, especially old), painter of icons, copiers of old paintings and embroidery in style Senese (Sienese with classic themes such as deer present in the decorative floor of the Duomo).

It must be said that the boundaries of those minor arts are often blurred and many artisans ranging in multiple fields or some artists "more" does not disdain the pursuit of smaller crafts.

Quaternary (R&D)

There's a few years increased attention to biotechnology and research related to that part of a local bank (see below) which is funding and supporting businesses to pure research and services in the "startup" "for the creation of new activities in the field".

The creation of an infrastructure network is seeking to develop a highly skilled and competitive, integrated in an "ecological" in an area known for natural and man-made landscape. It is therefore trying to address a new town development towards "sustainable". public investment, since the 2000s, have been focused on the Siena Biotech, a company created with the function of creating a local fly in this area and led to tow a small business more or less instrumental. Not secondary, in this context, the importance of the pharmaceutical industry spent on earth of Siena, in particular related to the name of Achille Sclavo and the Institute Sieroterapico who later took the name, found at the end of the twentieth century by the group Marcucci, then by Chiron and then by the multinational Novartis, which still keeps you a major production plant specialized in the production of vaccines.


Siena has enjoyed a long tradition in sports. Basketball and football are perhaps the most popular in Siena. However, other sports such as rugby union and track-and-field are also widely practised.

Professional sports

The 'Calcio' (soccer) Association of Siena was founded in 1904 and fully established in 1908. It has participated in the National Championship of Soccer in Seria "A" (The highest level of the Italian soccer leagues) since the 2003–2004 season. The football club A.C. Siena hosts its games at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

The premier society of men's basketball in Siena is called Mens Sana Basket (also referred to by its sponsored name of Montepaschi Siena). It is also the oldest sports society in Siena. Mens Sana Basket participates in the highest level of play in Italy, Lega Basket Serie A, and it won the national championship in the 2003–04, 2006–07, 2007–08 and 2008-09 seasons. The team host their home games at Palasport Mens Sana indoor arena.

Amateur sports

As with most of Italy, football is very popular, and numerous amateur football teams have been formed. Tournaments for amateur football leagues are carried out during the winter. Contrary to the rest of Italy, Siena is home to several amateur basketball teams. These teams exist to "seed" the professional teams. In addition to Mens Sana Basket, other teams (amateur) exist including "l'Associazione Sportiva Costone Basket" and "La Virtus Siena".

There exist several female University sports teams organized under the CUS (Centro Universitario Sportivo.) These include such sports as fencing, volleyball and rugby.

The Palio

The Palio di Siena is a traditional medieval horse race run around the Piazza del Campo twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August. The event is attended by large crowds, and is widely televised. Seventeen Contrade (which are city neighbourhoods originally formed as battalions for the city's defence) vie for the trophy: a painted banner, or Palio bearing an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For each race a new Palio is commissioned by well-known artists and Palios won over many years can often be seen in the local Contrade museum. During each Palio period, the city is decked out in lamps and flags bearing the Contrade colours.

Ten of the seventeen Contrade run in each Palio: seven run by right (having not run in the previous year's corresponding Palio) together with three drawn by lot from the remaining ten. A horse is assigned to each by lot and is then guarded and cared for in the Contrade stable. The jockeys are paid huge sums and indeed there are often deals and bribes between jockeys or between 'allied' Contrade committees to hinder other riders, especially those of 'enemy' Contrade. For the three days preceding the Palio itself, there are practice races. The horses are led from their stables through the city streets to the Campo, accompanied by crowds wearing Contrade scarves or tee-shirts and the air is filled with much singing and shouting.

Though often a brutal and dangerous competition for horse and bare-back rider alike, the city thrives on the pride this competition brings. The Palio is not simply a tourist event as a true Sienese regards this in an almost tribal way, with passions and rivalry similar to that found at a Soccer 'Derby' match. In fact the Sienese are baptised twice, once in church and a second time in their own Contrade fountain. This loyalty is maintained through a Contrade 'social club' and regular events and charitable works. Indeed the night before the Palio the city is a mass of closed roads as each Contrade organises its own outdoor banquet, often for numbers in excess of 1000 diners. On the day of the Palio itself the horses are accompanied by drummers and flag twirlers dressed in medieval costumes who first lead the horse and jockey to the Contrade parish church and then join a procession around the Campo square. There are often long delays while the race marshall attempts to line up the horses, but once underway the Campo becomes a cauldron of wild emotion for the 3 minutes of the race.

This event is not without its controversy however, and recently, there have been complaints about the treatment of the horses and to the danger run by the riders. In order to better protect the horses, steps have been taken to make veterinary care more easily available during the main race. Also at the most dangerous corners of the course, cushions are used to help protect both the riders and horses.


The nearest international airports to Siena are Peretola Airport in Florence and Galileo Galilei International Airport in Pisa.

Siena can be reached by train from both Pisa and Florence, changing at Empoli. Siena's train station is located at the bottom of a long hill outside the city walls, and travellers with luggage should look for a taxi or bus (from the stop opposite the station).

Buses leave from Piazza Gramsci, located within the city walls. Buses are available directly to and from Florence, a one hour trip, as well as from Rome (three hours), Milan (four and a half hours), and from various other towns in Tuscany and beyond.

By road, Siena is linked to Florence by a "superstrada" (the Raccordo Autostradale RA03 – Siena-Firenze), a form of toll free autostrada, albeit with narrower lanes, with a less well maintained surface and sharper bends. The superstrada to Florence is indicated on some road signs with the letters SI-FI, recalling the pre-1994 license-plate designations. A continuation of the same four lane road to the south east is under construction and will when completed facilitate the drive towards Perugia and Rome. However, drivers should be aware that almost no traffic is permitted within the city centre. Several large carparks are located immediately outside the city walls. The "La Fortezza" car park is closest to the centre, and is free of charge. Commercial traffic is permitted within the city only during the morning hours, while in the afternoon pedestrians dominate.

Art in Siena

See also: Art at the Pinacoteca of Siena

Over the centuries, Siena has had a rich tradition of arts and artists. The list of artists from the Sienese School include Duccio, and his student Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti and Martino di Bartolomeo. A number of well known works of Renaissance and High Renaissance art still remain in Siena galleries or decorate churches in Siena.

The Church of San Domenico in Siena contains art by Guido da Siena, dating to mid 13th century.

Duccio's Maesta which was commissioned by the City of Siena in 1308 was instrumental in leading Italian painting away from the hieratic representations of Byzantine art and directing it towards more direct presentations of reality. And his Madonna and Child with saints polyptych, painted between 1311 and 1318 remains at the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena.

The Pinacoteca also includes several works by Domenico Beccafumi, as well as art by Lorenzo Lotto, Domenico di Bartolo and Fra Bartolomeo.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Siena is twinned with:

Gallery of art in Siena


  1. ^
  2. ^ name=Mcintyre
  3. ^ Huppert, George. After the Black Death: A Social History of Early Modern Europe. Second Edition. Indiana University Press. 1998. 36.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Siena [1] is a medieval city in the region of Tuscany, located in the north of Italy some 70 km (43 miles) south of Florence. It is probably best known for a colourful horse race, Il Palio, conducted twice each year in the summer.



Siena was a proud, wealthy, and warlike independent city-state during the Middle Ages, until its final defeat by Florence. Medieval Sienese art (painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.) is unique and of great historical importance. Some of the famous artists who lived and worked in Siena are Duccio, Simone Martini, and Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti. Sienese people are fiercely proud of their city and their neighborhood (contrada). The Palio, described below, is all about neighborhood pride and rivalry, and also constitutes the unbroken continuation of a Medieval tradition associated with religion, pageantry, trash-talking, bragging, and occasional violence. It is taken very seriously and is in no way a put-on for tourists; in fact, you are likely to be less welcomed during the Palio than at any other time, and there isn't the slightest doubt that Siena would run the Palio with great enthusiasm regardless of whether any visitors ever showed up. That said, this is a city which depends and flourishes on tourism. Siena was a very poor little city for a few hundred years after its defeat, which is the main reason that its lovely Medieval buildings were never torn down and replaced with modern structures. In the 19th century, tourists started coming. Nowadays, it is a requirement that new buildings within the city walls be built to maintain the city's character and beauty - many are strikingly modern, yet fit in well.

Get in

By plane

Siena's Ampugnano airport is located 9 km from the city. At the moment, connections from Olbia, Vienna and Munich are available. For additional information tel 0577-392226. A shuttle service connection is currently available between the airport and Piazza Gramsci TRA-IN (tel. 0577-204224).

Most travellers arriving by plane will land at airports in Florence or Pisa. Buses of the Sena line connect Siena with the Bologna Marconi airport (twice daily, 2.5 hours), a favorite with the discount carriers.

By car

From the north, take the Chiantigiana from Florence (SS 222 - 72 km) that elegantly crosses the hills of Chianti or the highway (SS 2 superstrada Siena/Firenze - 68 km). From the south, Siena can be reached by taking the Autoway from Rome (A1 Roma-Firenze, exit Valdichiana), turning right on state highway #326 (Bettolle-Siena - 240 km). Relatively cheap parking can be found near Fortezza Medicea, northwest of the city stadium - and around it. [2] [3] [4]

By train

From the north, some trains go directly from Florence to Siena, and otherwise it is possible to take any train that stops in Empoli and find train connections from Empoli to Siena every 30-60 minutes. From the south, direct connections to Siena depart from Chiusi or from Grosseto. The train station in Siena is located approximately 2 km from Siena's historical centre, a five minute bus ride - buses leave regularly from Piazza del Sale. Buses numbers 3, 8, 10, 17, 77 leave from the station to Piazza del Sale and bus #17 departs from Piazza del Sale for the train station. If you don't mind walking uphill, you can also walk to the centre in about 20-30 minutes: Exit the train station, turn left, walk past the bus park and then uphill, bearing right at the traffic circle, staying on the road called Viale Giuseppe Manzini. When this road sharply bends to the right, follow the curve around where the road becomes Via Garibaldi, which will take you into the city.

By bus

By far the easiest way to get to Siena from Florence (though the train journey is much more picturesque). Take the SITA bus (located across the street from Santa Maria Novella train station). After 1hr 20 minutes it will eventually drop you off at Piazza Garibaldi which is located well within the walls of the city, allowing for an easy walk to any of the city's attractions. Connections are also available from Rome (3 hours) and various other cities.

Get around

The centre of Siena is accessible only on foot. Cars (other than taxis, police, etc.) are strictly prohibited; motorcycles and scooters are OK, though. Patrons of the central hotels are allowed to drive up and unload the luggage (and then get out), but only by obtaining one-time permission slips from the hotel front desk beforehand (also have them draw the route for you on a map and follow it to the letter; if you miss a turn, it may be wiser to head out the nearest gate, get on the circumferential road just outside the walls, return to the starting point and try again); have this pass handy if stopped by police while driving within the walls - or, in a pinch, at least a confirmation of your reservation. Don't rush your turns, and swing wide like a truck, as you would be sometimes required to fit between two stone walls into an opening just slightly wider than your vehicle. There are several small buses (Pollicino) run by the TRA-IN company that cover some streets located in the centre and several bus lines to and from the outskirts of town. Bus tickets cost 0,90 per fare when bought at kiosks/tabacchi, but are more expensive when bought from the driver. Outside the main city walls can be found various parking areas. For more information, contact "Siena Parcheggi" tel. 0577-228711. To call or reserve a taxi, telephone the Central Reservation Office at 0577-49222.

Siena may be the only city in Mediterranean Europe where parking is not a massive headache, though charges have increased dramatically in the past few years and you can expect to pay €40,00 or more per day for the more convenient spots. The huge parking lots around the Fortezza and the adjacent football stadium are no longer free, but on the other hand, you can now count on finding a space there almost anytime; there is free parking further out, with minibus service, from Due Ponti and Coroncina (beyond Porta Romana).

Siena is a city (a small city, yes, but it isn't like one of the hill towns) and the attractions away from the Piazza/Duomo area are spread out on three steep hills, so walking is a necessity. You will understand why Italians can eat so much, and not get fat, when you see old women carrying groceries up a long street with a 30-degree incline. If you are tired, check to see if you can get to your destination by walking along a ridge, rather than going in a straight line down a hill and back up.

Piazza del Campo at "Il Palio". The Palazzo Pubblico is to the right in the photo.
Piazza del Campo at "Il Palio". The Palazzo Pubblico is to the right in the photo.
Piazza del Campo from above
Piazza del Campo from above
  • The Piazza del Campo, the unique shell shaped piazza at the centre of the city, and twice a year the racetrack for the Palio (q.v.).
  • The Palazzo Pubblico, Siena's City Hall for almost 800 years, contains (amongst many other things) the famous frescos on good and bad government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, frescoes by Simone Martini and Duccio, and access to the Torre di Mangia, from whose top you can view a beautiful panorama of the Sienese countryside.
  • The Duomo, Siena's magnificent black and white Italian Romanesque cathedral including the Libreria Piccolomini, Baptistery (separate entrance and charge), and an attached Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (separate entrance and charge) [5] (website only in Italian) which includes the famous Maestà by Duccio. After you've seen all the art, you can also treat yourself to a beautiful panorama from Il Facciatone in the museum.
  • The Pinacoteca, full of Sienese painting from the city's Medieval heyday.
  • The Palazzo Salimbeni, built in 1472, is the world headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the major banking corporation which has a hand in much of the economic and cultural life of the city. The building itself is well worth looking at from the outside. Inside, there are interesting documents showing the history of banking, plus a collection of paintings and other artwork, but you would have to request permission in advance if you'd like to have a chance to view them.
  • The house where St. Catherine of Siena was born is just a few blocks from the duomo. This 14th century mystic is one of the principal patron saints of Italy.
  • 2Be In Siena, Phone +39 334 9363263, (email:, [6] Travel Designers, offers customized wine tours and sightseeing tours for Siena and Florence. Transfers, ballooning, horseback riding, Vespa rental, trekking and mountain bike.
  • Siena Wine Tours, [7]. , (email: Offers visits to wineries in Chianti region, in Montalcino hilltop village for Brunello wine tasting and romantic San Gimignano for sightseeing and wine visit.  edit
  • Take a guided walking tour of Siena, [8]. Take an escorted walking tour of Siena with an English-speaking guide. mail:  edit
  • Take a tour of an Etruscan tomb, visit a winery for a wine tasting, sample regional food, and visit a local village. There are many such tours available.
  • Palio Horse Race - a horse race like nowhere else, between the 17 contrade of Siena, is run in The Campo of Siena on July 2 and August 16. All Sienese are affiliated with one of the contrade, to which a typical Sienese feels loyal with a strength perhaps surpassed only by their loyalty to their family. Since the 11th century, the Sienese have conducted festivals every year where the contrade compete for renown (and in times gone by, actual political power) through contests such as flag throwing, horse racing and even fist fights. The fist fights no longer happen (a heavy police presence in the weeks prior to the contest sees to that), but the spirit of competition between contrade is still fierce. See more on the Palio at: [9].
  • Classical concerts during the summer at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and at various locations in the city during the Settimana Musicale Senese. [10]
  • Siena Jazz Festival [11] during summer.
  • Other Events [12] updated list of expositions, market exhibitions, festivals and other events.


Siena is large enough still to have items made in the local area, stemming from its history of craftmanship, so you will find some items not readily available anywhere else. Fine paper, neckties, fabrics, embroidery/tapestry, glazed terracotta, gold jewelry, and of course local food and wine, are some of the distinctive items produced locally. There is a great shop on Via di Citta (the main street) with leather luggage, purses, bags etc.

A huge Market is held every Wednesday around the Fortezza Mediceana from about 7am to about 2pm.

Siena has popular stores such as Furla, United Colors of Benetton, Upim, Intimissimi and more.

Due to the city's status as a major tourist attraction there are plenty of newsagents selling international papers and magazines. A good example is the shop opposite the church on Via San Marco in the Snail Contrada, which has a friendly and helpful multilingual owner, who also runs an internet access point.

  • Olive Oil [13], - if you have a car then drive out to the Montestigliano Olive estate, perched high on a hill surrounded by olive trees. You can taste and buy their single estate, extra virgin olive oil (as well as a few other goodies) to take with you or have shipped. There is also a lovely courtyard where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine and admire the view.


The wonderful Siena Jazz Music School is housed in the old fortress.

Siena is also well known for its Italian language schools and several prestigious universities.


Also in the fortress is the excellent and large Enoteca Italiana which is a wine bar underneath which are vast vaults containing stock of every wine made in Italy.

  • Barone Rosso, Via Dei Termini N° 9 Siena, [14]. I spent the first month of my study abroad program living in Siena and this bar was by far one of the most fun and entertaining place to go out to at night. Great live music, but a bit on the seedy side.  edit
  • The Walkabout Pub, Via Pantaneto 90. Cool pub with Australian ambiance doing cool music. My second favorite bar in Siena (behind BR).  edit
  • Excellent gelato can be found just off the Campo at two gelaterias called "Il Gelato" and "Brivido". Ask for Romaney at "Il Gelato"
  • For something more substantial, "La Chiacchiera" next to the House of St Catherine is an excellent source of typical Tuscan cuisine; the pici (thick, homemade noodles) are superb.
  • Osteria Nonna Gina, Piano dei Mantellini, 2, +39 0577 287247. This osteria, outside the Due Porte, is recommended.  edit
  • Osteria del Gatto, Via di San Marco, 8 (San Marco quarter), +39 0577 287133 (), [15]. 12:15-14:30/19:45-22:00. This cosy osteria in Via di San Marco, not far from the above Nonna Gina, is also recommended. Menu will be in Italian but the waiters and the cooks will be available for a translation "on the fly". Fish is served one week a month. If you happen to be there in that week, don't miss the "Tonno alla Mediterranea" (tuna fish in the Mediterranean way). €18.00-€28.00.  edit
  • La Torre. This is also an excellent restaurant, in the contrada of the same name.  edit
  • Osteria Sotto le Fonti, Via Esterna Fontebranda, 114, 0577-226446, [16]. Restaurant off the beaten path, with owners who serve you personally; the waitress speaks fluently English (very rare in Italy) and knows how to recommend you wine, as she is also a wine tour guide.  edit
  • Nannini, Banchi di Sopra, +39 0577 286050. A bakery/cafe with an excellent selection of Tuscan pastries: Ricciarelli, Cavalucci, Cantucci, Panforte, etc. The ingredients of same are prominently displayed in most cases, making Nannini a very attractive option to the travelling vegan.  edit

Sienese specialties include:

  • Panforte - a unique kind of dense cake, made of honey, flour, almonds, candied fruits, a secret blend of spices, etc. Tipo Margherita is the classic, but several other types are made. Panforte is commercially manufactured only in Siena and neighboring Monteriggioni, its loyal ally in medieval wars with Florence. The most famous brand of panforte is Sapori. You can buy panforte most cheaply in local supermarkets, but don't miss a trip to Nannini on Banchi di Sopra (see above), a pleasant caffé where you can buy not only their panforte by weight but also many other types of unusual pastries and so forth.
  • Ricciarelli - small almond paste cakes.
  • Camping Siena Colleverde [17] (in Italian, German and English), Strada di Scacciapensieri 47, tel. +39 0577 280044, fax +39 0577 281041, e-mail [18] is situated to the east at about 3 km from the city centre and up the hill from the rail station. It is quite a large campsite and has all the facilities and a swimming pool. As of this year, one can rent new and comfortable cabins with toilet/shower for 2/4/5 persons (40/100/115 euros per night, maybe cheaper when booked through traveling sites), a good alternative for a hostel. The campsite can be reached by taking bus 8 from the city centre and asking to be let off at camping Colleverde (the stop itself is actually quite near the entrance to the site, there's a good and cheap pasticcheria/bar nearby as well). Alternatively you could walk though it's quite strenuous to do so.
  • Alternatively, you could camp at Montagnola, Strada della Montagnola 39, 53018, Sovicille (SI), tel. +39 0577 314473, e-mail [19], beyond the small village of Sovicille about 12 km from Siena with regular bus connections to and from Siena. It's a decent site with basic facilities but quite friendly and helpful staff.
  • Piccolo Hotel Il Palio [20] Cheap but not very well kept 2 star hotel within the city-walls from 60€ (2007) easy to reach by foot from the station.
  • Agriturismo Monaciano [21] Tuscany self catering accommodations into the Chinti hills just 7 km. from Siena with swimming pool, ping-pong and a romantic park. Monaciano has many farmhouses that may comfortably accommodates large families or large group of friends.
  • Ostello del Chianti (Chianti youth hostel), Via Roma, 137 50028 Tavarnelle Val di Pesa FI, tel. +390558050265 fax. +390558065039 [22] is a clean, comfortable and friendly hostel very convenientely situated right in the heart of Tuscany, within easy reach of Florence, Siena, Sangimignano and the renowned Chianti area. Doubles €31, ensuite €40, dorms €14.
  • Casa Gigliola [23] - holiday rental apartment near Siena - beautiful apartment for 6 people near the Abbey of San Galgano. Private garden, terrace, excellent location in a very green area of Monticiano. Inexpensive and comfortable.
  • Casina di Rosa [24] holiday rental home in medieval hilltop village south of Siena, can accommodate up to 3 people.
  • The Relais dell’Ussero [25] at the Villa di Corliano or at the Ussero Palace are two historical fifteenth century mansions. Villa di Corliano it is very conveniently located only 2 Km along the road from the health spa of San Giuliano Terme (Pisa) and Ussero Palace is in the historical centre of Pisa. Both are near the cities of Lucca and Livorno (a 15 minute drive to both). Florence is only an hour away and Siena an hour and a half.
  • Santuario S. Caterina (Alma Domus), Via Camporegio, 37, +39 0577 44177 (fax: +39 0577 47601). Run by a nunnery, this modest hotel near the Basilica di S. Domenico provides sanctuary to weary travellers. Curfew is 11pm. 60-90€.  edit
  • Tuscan Villa Burraia [26]. Agriturismo near Montepulciano, 1 comfortable self-catering apartments for 8 people, Gym garden, swimming pool.
  • Agriturismo in Toscana Il Passo degli Ulivi [27]. Agriturismo near Paganico, 3 comfortable self-catering apartments near Petriolo hot springs, air-con, garden, swimming pool.
  • Albergo Bernini, Via della Sapienza n°15, 53100 Siena (just down the street from San Domenico) tel. +39-0577-289047 [28] (use simple English if you email) [29] - dated but clean rooms in a tiny, centrally-located inn. A truly friendly older couple owns and runs it, and lives on the property (they leave their door open often). The great thing is the view of Siena - spectacular, as you look across the unobstructed valley and almost down at the Piazza del Campo and Duomo. The two rooms at the back have the view. They also have good tips on the best inexpensive dining, which is fabulous. At midnight they lock the doors and go to bed. Double with bath €85, without bath €65.
  • Piccolo Hotel Etruria [30], via Donzelle 3. You can't beat the location; it's just a couple of steps up from the Campo. Clean, recently renovated, has a nice common room with a small balcony right over Banchi di Sotto - the final leg of the route towards the Campo taken by the constant parades of the contrada which won the latest palio (these last for a few weekends after the event, and can mean a group of thoroughly drunk stragglers accompanied by costumed drummers and banner-wavers at 2 in the morning - this is not frowned upon by the locals); as you go up the stairs to the rooms there is also a display of the riding accessories of the Civetta, the small but very proud contrada where the hotel is located (it finally won the Palio in August of '09 after waiting for more than 30 years, earning in the process the dubious distinction of being the nonna, or "Grandma", as the contrada who haven't won for the longest time). Doubles with bath around €90 in season; curfew at 1 am. Also, a slightly more downmarket cousin Tre Donzelle next door up at #5; a (smaller, more spartan) room will run you €10-€15 cheaper.
  • Borgo di Pietrafitta Relais, Strada di Pietrafitta, 53011 Castellina in Chianti, Tel. +39.0577.741390 Fax +39.0577.740049. [31]. In the heart of the Chianti, in the most beautiful part of Tuscany, between Siena and Florence, Relais Borgo di Pietrafitta is waiting for you.
  • Montestigliano 53010 Rosia [32], conveniently located just 15 minutes south of Siena, in the heart of the countryside but within easy reach of the cities and hilltowns, it really is an ideal place to base yourself. The setting is a beautiful 2000 acre olive producing (the oil is delicious!)agritcultural estate, which has paths to walk or bike along. The main hamlet has restored old farm houses and buildings converted into apartments. Cooking classes (a great cultural and culinary experience) for both adults and kids, meals and various other activities can be organized, but you also relax beside the pool and enjoy the spectacular views across the Tuscan landscape. There is also a gem of a british consiegere who will help you plan as much or a little as you want.
  • NH Excelsior, Piazza La Lizza, +39 0577 382111 [33]. Situated in the heart of the city, the NH Excelsior is elegant and pleasant, and has easy access to the city’s main attractions.

The hotel, recently completely refurbished, has 129 rooms all of which offer comfort and a modern design.

  • The Hotel Minerva [34] is situated in the historic center of Siena. There are 59 bedrooms with bathrooms, phone, color TV, safe deposit box, air conditioning, fridge-bar, laundry service, fast internet facility. The bedrooms have a view of old Siena. A meeting room is available. Garage. Ten minutes' walk from Piazza del Campo. 500 meters from the Railway Station.
  • Poderi Arcangelo, Via San Benedetto 26, 53037, Capezzano San Gimignano Siena - Tel. +39 0577.944404 - Fax +39 0577 945628 - Sito web: [35]. In Chianti, near San Gimignano, in the municipality of Capezzano, surrounded by 40 hectares of olive groves and the DOCG vineyard of the organic farm: rooms, suites, restaurant and pool.
  • Argiano in Chianti , Località Argiano, 53010 Pianella (SIENA), Toscana Italia

Tel./Fax: 0577 363330 [36] or use [37] for more detail. Superb quiet self-catering apartments 1-2 bedroom or a independent villa for 10, both of which have a great pool, with stunning views. 15 -20 minutes drive from Siena

  • Residence Il Cassero in Lucignano 20 minutes south Siena *Il Cassero
  • Villa Astreo, via del Colombaione, 4 - 53010 Vagliagli, +39 0577.322624 (, fax: +39 0577.322624), [38].  edit. Villa Astreo is among the hills of the Siena countryside, surrounded by pine and olive groves.
  • Borgo Grondaie [39]. A typical farmhouse hotel in Siena with swimmingpool. It offers a selection of studio apartments and en-suite rooms in a country and friendly atmosphere.
  • Tuscany Accommodations and farm houses [41]. Private Villas and Apartments in Siena with a great selection of exclusive private villas , apartments, holiday houses for rent in Siena more than 13.000 in Tuscany
  • Tuscany Accommodations [42]. Private Villas and Apartments in Siena. Great selection of exclusive private villas for rent in Siena.
  • Chiostro del Carmine, [43] Via della Diana 4, Siena, Italy. Tel +39 0577 223476 Fax +39 0577 222556. 4 star hotel located in historical residence, Siena center. Rooms from 99 EUR.
  • Borgo Scopeto Relais Beautiful 4 star hotel and restaurant immersed in vineyards and olive groves of the Tuscan countryside just 12 km from Siena. Also does weddings and meetings.
  • Hotel Albergo L'Abbeveratoio, Loc Abbeveratoio · San Giovanni d'Asso (Siena), 0039 0577802911 (, fax: +39 0577 301167), [44]. Agriturismo accommodation just south of Siena, the ideal place to relax in the country, eat the best food possible and base yourself for a driving holiday around Tuscany.  edit
  • Borgo San Luigi, Via delle Cerreta, 7 · Loc. San Luigi Strove · Monteriggioni (Siena), +39 0577 301055 (, fax: 0039 0577802056), [45]. The San Luigi Residence, situated at the gateway to Siena under the still-intact walls of Monteriggioni in the heart of historical Tuscany.  edit
  • Il Boschetto - 4 km from Siena, 9-room villa with pool, private garden, large living room with open fireplace, satellite-TV and video, 5 large bedrooms.
  • Bellavista Palace Montecatini, Viale Fedeli, 2, Montecatini, 51016 Terme, +39 0572 78122 (). 5 star luxury hotel complex in the nearby volcanic spa town of Montecatini, Terme, where everyone is pampered to the extreme. Offering a rich host of services to complement the natural springs, including various types of massages, full fitness and leisure facilities, well being centre, physiotherapy and health and beauty treatments.  edit
  • Campo Regio Relais [46]. A luxury, bed and breakfast-style hotel, renovated in 2005, right in the historical center of Siena, with amazing view onto the old town.\
  • Hotel Borgo Casato,

A few minutes from Siena, Borgo Casato is the ideal place to relax. It is in the middle of the Chianti and only 7km from the termal station of Rapolano.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SIENA, a city and archiepiscopal see of Tuscany, Italy, capital of the province of Siena, 59 m. by rail S. of Florence and 31 m. direct. Pop. (1901) 25,539 (town); 40,423 (commune). The area of the city within the walls is about 21 sq. m., and the height above sea-level 1115 ft. The plan, spreading from the centre over three hills, closely resembles that of Perugia. The city possesses a university, founded in 1203 and limited to the faculties of law and medicine. Among the other public institutions the following are the more important: the town library, first opened to students in the 17th century; the Archivio, a record office, instituted in 1858, containing a valuable and splendidly arranged collection of documents; the Fine Arts Institution, founded in 1816; and the natural history museum of the Royal Academy of the Physiocritics, inaugurated in the same year. There are also many flourishing charities, including an excellent hospital and a school for the deaf and dumb. The chief industries are weaving and agriculture.

The public festivals of Siena known as the "Palio delle Contrade" have a European celebrity. They are held in the public square, the curious and historic Piazza del Campo (now Piazza di Vittorio Emanuele) in shape resembling an ancient theatre, on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August of each year; they date from the middle ages and were instituted in commemoration of victories and in honour of the Virgin Mary (the old title of Siena, as shown by seals and medals, having been "Sena vetus civitas Virginis"). In the i 5th and 16th centuries the celebrations consisted of bull-fights. At the close of the 16th century these were replaced by races with mounted buffaloes, and since 1650 by (ridden) horses. Siena is divided into seventeen contrade (wards), each with a distinct appellation and a chapel and flag of its own; and every year ten of these contrade, chosen by lot, send each one horse to compete for the prize palio or banner. The aspect of Siena during these meetings is very characteristic, and the whole festivity bears a medieval stamp in harmony with the architecture and history of the town. Among the noblest fruits of Sienese art are the public buildings adorning the city. The cathedral, one of the finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture, obviously influenced in plan by the abbey of S. Galgano (infra), built in black and white marble, was begun in the early years of the 13th century, but interrupted by the plague of 1248 and wars at home and abroad, and in 1317 its walls were extended to the baptistery of San Giovanni; a further enlargement was begun in 1339 but never carried out, and a few ruined walls and arches alone remain to show the magnificence of the uncompleted design, which would have produced one of the largest churches in the-world.

The splendid west front, of tricuspidal form, enriched with a multitude of columns, statues and inlaid marbles, is said to have been begun by Giovanni Pisano, but really dates from after 1370; it was finished in 1380, and closely resembles that of Orvieto, which is earlier in date (begun in 1310). Both facades have been recently restored, and the effect of them not altogether improved by modern mosaics. The fine Romanesque campanile belongs to the first half of the 14th century. Conspicuous among the art treasures of the interior is the well-known octagonal pulpit by Niccola Pisano, dating from 1266-1268. It rests on columns supported by lions, and is finely sculptured. Numerous statues and bas-reliefs by Renaissance artists adorn the various altars and chapels. The cathedral pavement is almost unique. It is inlaid with designs in colour and black and white, representing Biblical and legendary subjects, and is supposed to have been begun by Duccio della Buoninsegna. But the finest portions beneath the domes, with scenes from the history of Abraham, Moses and Elijah, are by Domenico Beccafumi and are executed with marvellous boldness and effect. The choir stalls also deserve mention: the older ones (remains of the original choir) are in tarsia work; the others, dating from the 16th century, are carved from Riccio's designs. The Piccolomini Library, adjoining the duomo, was founded by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini (afterwards Pius III.) in honour of his uncle, Pius II. Here are Pinturicchio's famous frescoes of scenes from the life of the latter pontiff, and the collection of choir books (supported on sculptured desks) with splendid illuminations by Sienese and other artists. The church of San Giovanni, the ancient baptistery, beneath the cathedral is approached by an outer flight of marble steps built in 1451. It has a beautiful but incomplete facade designed by Giovanni di Mino del Pellicciaio in 1382, and a marvellous font with bas-reliefs by Donatello, Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and other 15th-century sculptors. The Opera del Duomo contains Duccio's famous Madonna, painted for the cathedral in 1308-1311, and other works of art.

Among the other churches are S. Maria di Provenzano, a vast baroque building of some elegance, designed by Schifardini (1594) Sant' Agostino, rebuilt by Vanvitelli in 1755, containing a Crucifixion and Saints by Perugino, a Massacre of the Innocents by Matteo di Giovanni, the Coming of the Magi by Sodoma, and a St Anthony by Spagnoletto (?); the beautiful church of the Servites (15th century), which contains another Massacre of the Innocents by Matteo di Giovanni and other good examples of the Sienese school; San Francesco, designed by Agostino and Agnolo about 1326, and now restored, which once possessed many fine paintings by Duccio Buoninsegna, Lorenzetti, Sodoma and Beccafumi, some of which perished in the great fire of 1655; San Domenico, a fine 13th-century building with a single nave and transept, containing Sodoma's splendid fresco the Swoon of St Catherine, the Madonna of Guido da Siena, 1281, and a crucifix by Sano di Pietro. This church crowns the Fontebranda hill above the famous fountain of that name immortalized by Dante, and in a steep lane below stands the house of St Catherine, now converted into a church and oratory, and maintained at the expense of the inhabitants of the Contrada dell' Oca. It contains some good pictures by Pacchia and other works of art, but is chiefly visited for its historic interest and as a striking memorial of the characteristic piety of the Sienese. The Accademia di Belle Arti contains a good collection of pictures of the Sienese school, illustrating its development.

The communal palace in the Piazza del Campo was begun in 1288 and finished in 1309. It is built of brick, is a fine specimen of Pointed Gothic, and was designed by Agostino and Agnolo. The light and elegant tower (Torre del Mangla) soaring from one side of the palace was begun in 1338 and finished after 1348, and the chapel standing at its foot, raised at the expense of the Opera del Duomo as a public thank-offering after the plague of 1348, begun in 1352 and completed in 1376. This grand old palace has other attractions besides the beauty of its architecture, for its interior is lined with works of art. The atrium has a fresco by Bartolo di Fredi and the two ground-floor halls contain a Coronation of the Virgin by Sano di Pietro and a splendid Resurrection by Sodoma. In the Sala dei Nove or della Pace above are the noble allegorical frescoes of Ambrogio Lorenzetti representing the effects of just and unjust government; the Sala delle Balestre or del Mappamondo is painted by Simone di Martino (Memmi) and others, the Cappella della Signoria by Taddeo di Bartolo, and the Sala del Consistorio by Beccafumi. Another hall, the Sala di Balia, has frescoes by Spinello Aretino (1408) with scenes from the life of Pope Alexander III., while yet another has been painted by local artists with episodes in recent Italian history. An interesting exhibition of Sienese art, including many objects from neighbouring towns and villages, was held here in 1904. The former hall of the grand council, built in 1327, was converted into the chief theatre of Siena by Riccio in 1560, and, after being twice burnt, was rebuilt in 1753 from Bibbiena's designs. Another Sienese theatre that of the Rozzi, in Piazza San Pellegrino, designed by A. Doveri and erected in 1816, although modern, has an historic interest as the work of an academy dating from the 16th century, called the Congrega de' Rozzi, that played an important part in the history of the Italian comic stage.

The city is adorned by many other noble edifices both public and private, among which the following palaces may be mentionedTolomei (1205); Buonsignori, formerly Tegliacci, an elegant 14thcentury construction, restored in 1848; Grottanelli, formerly Pecci and anciently the residence of the captain of war, recently restored in its original style; Sansedoni; Marsilii; Piccolomini, now belonging to the Government and containing the state archives;1 Piccolomini delle Papesse, like the other Piccolomini mansion,. designed by Bernardo Rossellino, and now the Banca d'Italia; the enormous block of the Monte de' Paschi, a bank of considerable wealth and antiquity, enlarged and partly rebuilt in the original style between 1877 and 1881, the old Dogana and Salimbeni palaces; the Palazzo Spannochi, a fine early Renaissance building by Giuliano da Maiano (now the post office); the Loggia di Mercanzia (15th century), now a club, imitating the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence, with sculptures of the 15th century; the Loggia del Papa, erected by Pius II.; and other fine buildings. We may also mention the two celebrated fountains, Fonte Gaia and Fontebranda; the former, in the Piazza del Campo, by Jacopo della Quercia (1409-1419), but freely restored in 1868, the much-damaged original reliefs being now in the Opera del Duomo; the Fonte Nuova, near Porta Ovile, by Camaino di Crescentino also deserves notice (1298). Thanks to all these architectural treasures, the narrow Sienese streets with their many windings and steep ascents are full of picturesque charm, and, together with the collections of excellent paintings, foster the local pride of the inhabitants and preserve their taste and feeling for art. The medieval walls and gates are still in the main preserved. The ruined Cistercian abbey of S. Galgano, founded in 1201, with its fine church (1240-1268) is interesting and imposing. It lies some 20 m. south-west of Siena.


Siena was probably founded by the Etruscans (a few tombs of that period have been found outside Porta Camollia), and then, falling under the Roman rule, became a colony in the reign of Augustus, or a little earlier, and was distinguished by the name of Saena Julia. It has the same arms as Rome - the she-wolf and twins. But its real importance dates from the middle ages. Few memorials of the Roman era 2 or of the first centuries of Christianity have been preserved (except the legend of St Ansanus), and none at all of the interval preceding the Lombard period. We have documentary evidence that in the 7th century in the reign of Rotaris (or Rotari), there was a bishop of Siena named Mauro. Attempts to trace earlier bishops as far back as the 5th century have yielded only vague and contradictory results. Under the Lombards the civil government was in the hands of a gastaldo, under the Carolingians of a count, whose authority, by slow degrees and a course of events similar to what took place in other Italian communes, gave way to that of the bishop, whose power in turn gradually diminished and was superseded by that of the consuls and the commonwealth.

We have written evidence of the consular government of Siena from 1125 to 1212; the number of consuls varied from three to twelve. This government, formed of gentiluomini or nobles, did not remain unchanged throughout the whole period, but was gradually forced to accept the participation of the popolani or lower classes, whose efforts to rise to power were continuous and determined. Thus in 1137 they obtained a third part of the government by the reconstitution of the general council with Too nobles and 50 popolani. In 1199 the institution of a foreign podestd (a form of government which became permanent in 1212) gave a severe blow to the consular magistracy, which was soon extinguished; and in 1233 the people again rose against the nobles in the hope of ousting them entirely from office.

The strife was largely economic, the people desiring to deprive the nobles of the immunity of taxation which they had enjoyed. The attempt was not completely successful; but the government was now equally divided between the two estates by the creation of a supreme magistracy of twenty-four citizens - twelve nobles and twelve popolani. During the rule of the nobles and the mixed rule of nobles and popolani the commune of Siena was enlarged by fortunate acquisitions of neighbouring lands and by the submission of feudal lords, such as the Scialenghi, Aldobrandeschi, Pannocchieschi, Visconti di Campiglia, &c.

1 In these are especially interesting the painted covers of the books of the bicchierna and gabella, or revenue and tax offices.

2 There are, however, remains of baths some 21 m. to the east; see P. Piccolomini in Bullettino Senese de storia patria, vi. (1899).

Before long the reciprocal need of fresh territory and frontier disputes, especially concerning Poggibonsi and Montepulciano, led to an outbreak of hostilities between Florence and Siena. Thereupon, to spite the rival republic, the Sienese took the Ghibelline side, and the German emperors, beginning with Frederick Barbarossa, rewarded their fidelity by the grant of various privileges.

During the 12th and 13th centuries there were continued disturbances, petty wars, and hasty reconciliations between Florence and Siena, until in1254-1255a more binding peace and alliance was concluded. But this treaty, in spite of its apparent stability, led in a few years to a fiercer struggle; for in 1258 the Florentines complained that Siena had infringed its terms by giving refuge to the Ghibellines they had expelled, and on the refusal of the Sienese to yield to these just remonstrances both states made extensive preparations for war. Siena applied to Manfred, obtained from him a strong body of German horse, under the command of Count Giordano, and likewise sought the aid of its Ghibelline allies. Florence equipped a powerful citizen army, of which the original registers are still preserved in the volume entitled Il Libro di Montaperti in the Florence archives. This army, led by the podesta of Florence and twelve burgher captains, set forth gaily on its march towards the enemy's territories in the middle of April 1260, and during its first campaign, ending on the 18th of May, won an insignificant victory at Santa Petronilla, outside the walls of Siena. But in a second and more important campaign, in which the militia of the other Guelf towns of Tuscany took part, the Florentines were signally defeated at Montaperti on the 4th of September 1260. This defeat crushed the power of Florence for many years, reduced the city to desolation, and apparently annihilated the Florentine Guelfs. But the battle of Benevento (1266) and the establishment of the dynasty of Charles of Anjou on the Neapolitan throne put an end to the Ghibelline predominance in Tuscany. Ghibelline Siena soon felt the effects of the change in the defeat of its army at Colle di Valdelsa (1269) by the united forces of the Guelf exiles, Florentines and French, and the death in that battle of her powerful citizen Provenzano Salvani (mentioned by Dante), who had been the leading spirit of the government at the time of the victory of Montaperti. For some time Siena remained faithful to the Ghibelline cause; nevertheless Guelf and democratic sentiments began to make head. The Ghibellines were on several occasions expelled from the city, and, even when a temporary reconciliation of the two parties allowed them to return, they failed to regain their former influence.

Meanwhile the popular party acquired increasing power in the state. Exasperated by the tyranny of the Salimbeni and other patrician families allied to the Ghibellines, it decreed in 127 7 the exclusion of all nobles from the supreme magistracy (consisting since 1270 of thirty-six instead of twenty-four members), and insisted that this council should be formed solely of Guelf traders and men of the middle class. This constitution was confirmed in 1280 by the reduction of the supreme magistracy to fifteen members, all of the humbler classes, and was definitively sanctioned in 1285 (and 1287) by the institution of the magistracy of nine. This council of nine, composed only of burghers, carried on the government for about seventy years, and its rule was sagacious and peaceful. The territories of the state were enlarged; a friendly alliance was maintained with Florence; trade flourished; in 1321 the university was founded, or rather revived, by the introduction of Bolognese scholars; the principal buildings now adorning the town were begun; and the charitable institutions, which are the pride of modern Siena, increased and prospered. But meanwhile the exclusiveness of the single class of citizens from whose ranks the chief magistrates were drawn had converted the government into a close oligarchy and excited the hatred of every other class. Nobles, judges, notaries and populace rose in frequent revolt, while the nine defended their state (1295-1309) by a strong body of citizen militia divided into terzieri (sections) and contrade (wards), and violently repressed these attempts. But in 1355 the arrival of Charles IV. in Siena gave fresh courage to the malcontents, who, backed by the imperial authority, overthrew the government of the nine and substituted a magistracy of twelve drawn from the lowest class. These new rulers were to some extent under the influence of the nobles who had fomented the rebellion, but the latter were again soon excluded from all share in the government.

This was the beginning of a determined struggle for supremacy, carried on for many years, between the different classes of citizens, locally termed ordini or monti - the lower classes striving to grasp the reins of government, the higher classes already in office striving to keep all power in their own hands, or to divide it in proportion to the relative strength of each monte. As this struggle is of too complex a nature to be described in detail, we must limit ourselves to a summary of its leading episodes.

The twelve who replaced the council of nine (as these had previously replaced the council of the nobles) consisted - both as individuals and as a party - of ignorant, incapable, turbulent men, who could neither rule the state with firmness nor confer prosperity on the republic. They speedily broke with the nobles, for whose manoeuvres they had at first been useful tools, and then split into two factions, one siding with the Tolomei, the other, the more restless and violent, with the Salimbeni and the noveschi (partisans of the nine), who, having still some influence in the city, probably fomented these dissensions, and, as we shall see later on, skilfully availed themselves of every chance likely to restore them to power. In 1368 the adversaries of the twelve succeeded in driving them by force from the public palace, and substituting a government of thirteen - ten nobles and three noveschi. This government lasted only twenty-two days, from the 2nd to the 24th September, and was easily overturned by the dominant faction of the dodicini (partisans of the twelve), aided by the Salimbeni and the populace, and favoured by the emperor Charles IV. The nobles were worsted, being driven from the city as well as from power; but the absolute rule of the twelve was brought to an end, and right of participation in the government was extended to another class of citizens. For, on the expulsion of the thirteen from the palace, a council of 124 plebeians created a new magistracy of twelve difensori (defenders), no longer drawn exclusively from the order of the twelve, but composed of five of the popolo minuto, or lowest populace (now first admitted to the government), four of the twelve, and three of the nine. But it was of short duration, for the dodicini were ill satisfied with their share, and in December of the same year (1368) joined with the popolo minuto in an attempt to expel the three noveschi from the palace. But the new popular order, which had already asserted its predominance in the council of the riformatori, now drove out the dodicini, and for five days (rrth to 16th December) kept the government in its own hands. Then, however, moved by fear of the emperor, who had passed through Siena two months before on his way to Rome, and who was about to halt there on his return, it tried to conciliate its foes by creating a fresh council of 150 riformatori, who replaced the twelve defenders by a new supreme magistracy of fifteen, consisting of eight popolani, four dodicini, and three noveschi, entitled respectively "people of the greater number," "people of the middle number," and "people of the less number." From this renewal dates the formation of the new order or monte dei riformatori, the title henceforth bestowed on all citizens, of both the less and the greater people, who had reformed the government and begun to participate in it in 1368. The turbulent action of the twelve and the Salimbeni, being dissatisfied with these changes, speedily rose against the new government. This time they were actively aided by Charles IV., who, having returned from Rome, sent his militia, commanded by the imperial vicar Malatesta da Rimini, to attack the public palace. But the Sienese people, being called to arms by the council of fifteen, made a most determined resistance, routed the imperial troops, captured the standard, and confined the emperor in the Salimbeni palace. Thereupon Charles came to terms with the government, granted it an imperial patent, and left the city, consoled for his humiliation by the gift of a large sum of money.


In spite of its wide basis and great energy, the monte dei riformatori, the heart of the new government, could not satisfactorily cope with the attacks of adverse factions and treacherous allies. So, the better to repress them, it created in 1369 a chief of the police, with the title of esecutore, and a numerous association of popolani - the company or casata grande of the people - as bulwarks against the nobles, who had been recalled from banishment, and who, though fettered by strict regulations, were now eligible for offices of the state. But the appetite for power of the "less people" and the dregs of the populace was whetted rather than satisfied by the installation of the riformatori in the principal posts of authority. Among the wool-carders - men of the lowest class, dwelling in the precipitous lanes about the Porta Ovile - there was an association styling itself the "company of the worm." During the famine of 1371 this company rose in revolt, sacked the houses of the rich, invaded the public palace, drove from the council of fifteen the four members of the twelve and the three of the nine, and replaced them by seven tatterdemalions. Then, having withdrawn to its own quarter, it was suddenly attacked by the infuriated citizens (noveschi and dodicini), who broke into houses and workshops and put numbers of the inhabitants to the sword without regard for age or sex. Thereupon the popular rulers avenged these misdeeds by many summary executions in the piazza. These disorders were only checked by fresh changes in the council of fifteen. It was now formed of twelve of the greater people and three noveschi, to the total exclusion of the dodicini, who, on account of their growing turbulence, were likewise banished from the city.

Meanwhile the government had also to contend with difficulties outside the walls. The neighbouring lords attacked and ravaged the municipal territories; grave injuries were inflicted by the mercenary bands, especially by the Bretons and Gascons. The rival claims to the Neapolitan kingdom of Carlo di Durazzo and Louis of Anjou caused fresh disturbances in Tuscany. The Sienese government conceived hopes of gaining possession of the city of Arezzo, which was first occupied by Durazzo's men, and then by Enguerrand de Coucy for Louis of Anjou; but while the Sienese were nourishing dreams of conquest the French general unexpectedly sold the city to the Florentines, whose negotiations had been conducted with marvellous ability and despatch (1384).. The gathering exasperation of the Sienese, and notably of the middle class, against their rulers was brought to a climax by this cruel disappointment. Their discontent had been gradually swelled by various acts of home and foreign policy during the sixteen years' rule of the riformatori, nor had the concessions granted to the partisans of the twelve and the latter's recall and renewed eligibility to office availed to conciliate them. At last the revolt broke out and gained the upper hand, in March 1385. The riformatori were ousted from power and expelled the city, and the trade of Siena suffered no little injury by the exile of so many artisan families. The fifteen were replaced by a new supreme magistracy of ten priors, chosen in the following proportions - four of the twelve, four of the nine, and two of the people proper, or people of the greater number, but to the exclusion of all who had shared in the government or sat in council under the riformatori. Thus began a new order or monte del popolo, composed of families of the same class as the riformatori, but having had no part in the government during the latter's rule. But, though now admitted to power through the burgher reaction, as a concession to democratic ideas, and to cause a split among the greater people, they enjoyed very limited privileges.' In 1387 fresh quarrels with Florence on the subject of Montepulciano led to an open war, that was further aggravated by the interference in Tuscan affairs of the ambitious duke of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti. With him the Sienese concluded an alliance in 1389 and ten years later accepted his suzerainty and resigned the liberties of their state. But in 1402 the death of 1 The following are the ordini or monti that held power in Siena for any considerable time - gentiluomini, from the origin of the republic; nove, from about 1285; dodici, from 1355; riformatori, from 1368; popolo, from 1385.

Gian Galeazzo lightened their yoke. In that year the first plot against the Viscontian rule, hatched by the twelve and the Salimbeni and fomented by the Florentines, was violently repressed, and caused the twelve to be again driven from office; but in the following year a special balia, created in consequence of that riot, annulled the ducal suzerainty and restored the liberties of Siena. During the interval the supreme magistracy had assumed a more popular form. By the partial readmission of the riformatori and exclusion of the twelve, the permanent balia was now composed of nine priors (three of the nine, three of the people, and three of the riformatori) and of a captain of the people to be chosen from each of the three monti in turn. On 11th April peace was made with the Florentines and Siena enjoyed several years of tranquil prosperity.

But the great Western schism then agitating the Christian world again brought disturbance to Siena. In consequence of the decisions of the council of Pisa, Florence and Siena had declared against Gregory XII. (1409); Ladislaus of Naples, therefore, as a supporter of the pope, seized the opportunity to make incursions on Sienese territory, laying it waste and threatening the city. The Sienese maintained a vigorous resistance till the death of this monarch in 1414 freed them from his attacks. In 1431 a fresh war with Florence broke out, caused by the latter's attempt upon Lucca, and continued in consequence of the Florentines' alliance with Venice and Pope Eugenius IV., and that of the Sienese with the duke of Milan and Sigismund, king of the Romans. This monarch halted at Siena on his way to Rome to be crowned, and received a most princely welcome. In 1433 the opposing leagues signed a treaty of peace, and,. although it was disadvantageous to the Sienese and temptations to break it were frequently urged upon them, they faithfully adhered to its terms. During this period of comparative tranquillity Siena was honoured by the visit of Pope Eugenius IV. (1443) and by that of the emperor Frederick III., who came there to receive his bride, Eleanor of Portugal, from the hands of Bishop Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, his secretary and historian (1452). This meeting is recorded by the memorial column still to be seen outside the Camollia gate. In 1453 hostilities against Florence were again resumed, on account of the invasions and ravages of Sienese territory committed by Florentine troops in their conflicts with Alphonso of Naples, who since 1447 had made Tuscany his battleground. Peace was once more patched up with Florence in 1454. Siena was next at war for several years with Aldobrandino Orsini, count of Pitigliano, and with Jacopo Piccinini, and suffered many disasters from the treachery of its generals. About the same time the republic was exposed to still graver danger by the conspiracy of some of its leading citizens to seize the reins of power and place the city under the suzerainty of Alphonso, as it had once been under that of the duke of Milan. But the plot came to light; its chief ringleaders were beheaded, and many others sent into exile (1456); and the death of Alphonso at last ended all danger from that source. During those critical times the government of the state was strengthened by a new executive magistracy called the balia, which from 1455 began to act independently of the priors or consistory. Until then it had been merely a provisional committee annexed to the latter. But henceforward the balia had supreme jurisdiction in all affairs of the state, although always, down to the fall of the republic, nominally preserving the character of a magistracy extraordinary. The election of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini to the papal chair in 1458 caused the utmost joy to the Sienese; and in compliment to their illustrious fellow-citizen they granted the request of the nobles and readmitted them to a share in the government. But this concession, grudgingly made, only remained in force for a few years, and on the death of the pope (1464) was revoked altogether, save in the case of members of the Piccolomini house, who were decreed to be popolani and were allowed to retain all their privileges. Meanwhile fresh discords were brewing among the plebeians at the head of affairs.

The conspiracy of the Pazzi in 1478 led to a war in which Florence and Milan were opposed to the pope and the king of Naples, and which was put an end to by the peace of 13th March 1480. Thereupon Alphonso, duke of Calabria, who was fighting in Tuscany on the side of his father Ferdinand, came to an agreement with Siena and, in the same way as his grandfather Alphonso, tried to obtain the lordship of the city and the recall of the exiled rebels in 1456. The noveschi (to whose order most of the rebels belonged) favoured his pretensions, but the riformatori were against him. Many of the people sided with the noveschi, rose in revolt on 22nd June 1480 and, aided by the duke's soldiery, reorganized the government to their own advantage. Dividing the power between their two orders of the nine and the people, they excluded the riformatori and replaced them by a new and heterogeneous order styled the aggregati, composed of nobles, exiles of 1456 and citizens of other orders who had never before been in office. But this violent and perilous upset of the internal liberties of the republic did not last long. A decree issued by the Neapolitan king (1482) depriving the Sienese of certain territories in favour of Florence entirely alienated their affections from that monarch. Meanwhile the monte of the nine, the chief promoters of the revolution of 1480, were exposed to the growing hatred and envy of their former allies, the monte del popolo, who, conscious of their superior strength and numbers, now sought to crush the noveschi and rise to power in their stead. This change of affairs was accomplished by a series of riots between 7th June 1482 and 20th February 1483. The monte del popolo seized the lion's share of the government; the riformatori were recalled, the aggregati abolished and the noveschi condemned to perpetual banishment from the government and the city. But "in perpetuo" was an empty form of words in those turbulent Italian republics. The noveschi, being "fat burghers" with powerful connexions, abilities and traditions, gained increased strength and influence in exile; and five years later, on 22nd July 1487, they returned triumphantly to Siena, dispersed the few adherents of the popolo who offered resistance, murdered the captain of the people, reorganized the state, and placed it under the protection of the Virgin Mary. And, their own predominance being assured by their numerical strength and influence, they accorded equal shares of power to the other monti. Among the returned exiles was Pandolfo Petrucci, chief of the noveschi and soon to be at the head of the government. During the domination of this man (who, like Lorenzo de' Medici, was surnamed "the Magnificent") Siena enjoyed many years of splendour and prosperity. We use the term "domination" rather than "signory" inasmuch as, strictly speaking, Petrucci was never lord of the state, and left its established form of government intact; but he exercised despotic authority in virtue of his strength of character and the continued increase of his personal power. He based his foreign policy on alliance with Florence and France, and directed the internal affairs of the state by means of the council (collegio) of the balia, which, although occasionally reorganized for the purpose of conciliating rival factions, was always subject to his will. He likewise added to his power by assuming the captainship of the city guard (1495), and later by the purchase from the impoverished commune of several outlying castles (1507). Nor did he shrink from deeds of bloodshed and revenge; the assassination of his father-in-law, Niccolo Borghesi (1500), is an indelible blot upon his name. He successfully withstood all opposition within the state, until he was at last worsted in his struggle with Cesare Borgia, who caused his expulsion from Siena in 1502. But through the friendly mediation of the Florentines and the French king he was recalled from banishment on 29th March 1503. He maintained his power until his death at the age of sixty on 21st May 1512, and was interred with princely ceremonials at the public expense. The predominance of his family in Siena did not last long after his decease. Pandolfo had not the qualities required to found a dynasty such as that of the Medici. He lacked the lofty intellect of a Cosimo or a Lorenzo, and the atmosphere of libertyloving Siena with its ever-changing factions was in no way suited to his purpose. His eldest son, Borghese Petrucci, was incapable, haughty and exceedingly corrupt; he only remained three years at the head of affairs and fled ignominiously in 1515. Through the favour of Leo X., he was succeeded by his cousin Raffaello Petrucci, previously governor of St Angelo and afterwards a cardinal.

This Petrucci was a hitter enemy to Pandolfo's children. He caused Borghese and a younger son named Fabio to be proclaimed as rebels, while a third son, Cardinal Alphonso, was strangled by order of Leo X. in 1518. He was a tyrannical ruler, and died suddenly in 1522. In the following year Clement VII. insisted on the recall of Fabio Petrucci; but two years later a fresh popular outbreak drove him from Siena for ever. The city then placed itself under the protection of the emperor .Charles V., created a magistracy of "ten conservators of the liberties of the state" (December 1524), united the different monti in one named the "monte of the reigning nobles," and, rejoicing to be rid of the last of the Petrucci, dated their public books, ab instaurata libertate year I., II., and so on.

The so-called free government subject to the empire lasted for twenty-seven years; and the desired protection of Spain weighed more and more heavily until it became a tyranny. The imperial legates and the captains of the Spanish guard in Siena crushed both government and people by continual extortions and by undue interference with the functions of the balia. Charles V. passed through Siena in 1535, and, as in all the other cities of enslaved Italy, was received with the greatest pomp; but he left neither peace nor liberty behind him. From 1527 to 1545 the city was torn by faction fights and violent revolts against the noveschi, and was the scene of frequent bloodshed, while the quarrelsomeness and bad government of the Sienese gave great dissatisfaction in Tuscany. The balia was reconstituted several times by the imperial agents - in 1530 by Don Lopez di Soria and Alphonso Piccolomini, duke of Amalfi, in 1540 by Granvella (or Granvelle) and in 1548 by Don Diego di Mendoza; but government was carried on as badly as before, and there was increased hatred of the Spanish rule. When in 1549 Don Diego announced the emperor's purpose of erecting a fortress in Siena to keep the citizens in order, the general hatred found vent in indignant remonstrance. The historian Orlando Malavolti and other special envoys were sent to the emperor in 1550 with a petition signed by more than a thousand citizens praying him to spare them so terrible a danger; but their mission failed: they returned unheard. Meanwhile Don Diego had laid the foundation of the citadel and was carrying on the work with activity. Thereupon certain Sienese citizens in Rome, headed by Aeneas Piccolomini (a kinsman of Pius II.), entered into negotiations with the agents of the French king and, having with their help collected men and money, marched on Siena and forced their way in by the new gate (now Porta Romana) on 26th July 1552. The townspeople, encouraged and reinforced by this aid from without, at once rose in revolt, and, attacking the Spanish troops, disarmed them and drove them to take refuge in the citadel (28th July). And finally by an agreement with Cosimo de' Medici, duke of Florence, the Spaniards were sent away on the 5th August 1552 and the Sienese took possession of their fortress.

The government was now reconstituted under the protection of the French agents; the balia was abolished, its very name having been rendered odious by the tyranny of Spain, and was replaced by a similar magistracy styled capitani del popolo e reggimento. Siena exulted in her recovered freedom; but her sunshine was soon clouded. First, the emperor's wrath was stirred by the influence of France in the counsels of the republic; then Cosimo, who was no less jealous of the French, conceived the design of annexing Siena to his own dominions. The first hostilities of the imperial forces in Val di Chiana (1552-1553) did little damage; but when Cosimo took the field with an army commanded by the marquis of Marignano the ruin of Siena was at hand. On 26th January Marignano captured the forts of Porta Camollia (which the whole population of Siena, including the women, had helped to construct) and invested the city. On the 2nd of August of the same year, at Marciano in Val di Chiana, he won a complete victory over the Sienese and French troops under Piero Strozzi, the Florentine exile and marshal of France. Meanwhile Siena was vigorously besieged, and its inhabitants, sacrificing everything for their beloved city, maintained a most heroic defence. A glorious record of their sufferings is to be found in the Diary of Sozzini, the Sienese historian, and in the Commentaries of Blaise de Monluc, the French representative in Siena. But in April 1555 the town was reduced to extremity and was forced to capitulate to the emperor and the duke. On 21st April the Spanish troops entered the gates; thereupon many patriots abandoned the city and, taking refuge at Montalcino, maintained there a shadowy form of republic until 1559.

Cosimo I. de' Medici being granted the investiture of the Sienese state by the patent of Philip II. of Spain, dated 3rd July 1557, took formal possession of the city on the 19th of the same month. A lieutenant-general was appointed as representative of his authority; the council of the balia was reconstituted with twenty members chosen by the duke; the consistory and the general council were left in existence but deprived of their political autonomy. Thus Siena was annexed to the Florentine state under the same ruler and became an integral part of the grand-duchy of Tuscany. Nevertheless it retained a separate administration for more than two centuries, until the general reforms of the grand-duke Pietro Leopoldo, the French domination, and finally the restoration swept away all differences between the Sienese and Florentine systems of government. In 1859 Siena was the first Tuscan city that voted for annexation to Piedmont and the monarchy of Victor Emmanuel II., this decision (voted 26th June) being the initial step towards the unity of Italy.

Literary History

The literary history of Siena, while recording no gifts to the world equal to those bequeathed by Florence, and without the power and originality by which the latter became the centre of Italian culture, can nevertheless boast of some illustrious names. Of these a brief summary, beginning with the department of general literature and passing on to history and science, is subjoined. Many of them are also dealt with in separate articles, to which the reader is referred.

As early as the 13th century the vulgar tongue was already well established at Siena, being used in public documents, commercial records and private correspondence. The poets flourishing at that period were Folcacchiero, Cecco Angiolieri - a humorist of a very high order - and Bindo Bonichi, who belonged also to the following century. The chief glory of the 14th century was St Catherine Benincasa. The year of her death (1380) was that of the birth of St Bernardino Albizzeschi (S Bernardino of Siena), a popular preacher whose sermons in the vulgar tongue are models of style and diction. To the 15th century belongs Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius II.), humanist, historian and political writer. In the 16th century we find another Piccolomini (Alexander), bishop of Patras, author of a curious dialogue, Della bell y creanza delle donne; another bishop, Claudio Tolomei, diplomatist, poet and philologist, who revived the use of ancient Latin metres; and Luca Contile, a writer of narratives, plays and poems. Prose fiction had two representatives in this century - Scipione Bargagli, a writer of some merit, and Pietro Fortini, whose productions were trivial and indecent. In the 17th century we find Ludovico Sergardi (Quinto Settano), a Latinist and satirical writer of much talent and culture; but the most original and brilliant figure in Sienese literature is that of Girolamo Gigli (1660-1722), author of the Gazzettino, La Sorellina di Don Pilone, Il Vocabolario cateriniano and the Diario ecclesiastico. As humorist, scholar and philologist, Gigli would take a high place in the literature of any land. His resolute opposition to all hypocrisy - whether religious or literary - exposed him to merciless persecution from the Jesuits and the Della Cruscan Academy.

In the domain of history we have first the old Sienese chronicles, which down to the 14th century are so confused that it is almost impossible to disentangle truth from fiction or even to decide the personality of the various authors. Three 14th-century chronicles, attributed to Andrea Dei, Agnolo di Tura, called 11 Grasso, and Neri di Donati, are published in Muratori (vol. xv.). To the 15th century belongs the chronicle of Allegretto Allegretti, also in Muratori (vol. xxiii.); and during the same period flourished Sigismondo Tizio (a priest of Siena, though born at Castiglione Aretino), whose voluminous history written in Latin and never printed (now among the MSS. of the Chigi Library in Rome), though devoid of literary merit, contains much valuable material. The best Sienese historians belong to the 16th century. They are Orlando Malavolti (1515-1596), a man of noble birth, the most trustworthy of all; Antonio Bellarmati; Alessandro Sozzini di Girolamo, the sympathetic author of the Diario dell' ultima guerra senese; and Giugurta Tommasi, of whose tedious history ten books, down to 1354, have been published, the rest being still in manuscript. Together with these historians we must mention the learned scholars Celso Cittadini (d. 1627), Ulberto Benvoglienti (d. 1733), one of Muratori's correspondents, and Gio. Antonio Picci (d. 1768), author of histories of Pandolfo Petrucci and the bishopric of Siena. In the same category may be classed the librarian C. F. Carpellini (d. 1872), author of several monographs on the origin of Siena and the constitution of the republic, and Scipione Borghesi (d. 1877), who has left a precious store of historical, biographical and bibliographical studies and documents.

In theology and philosophy the most distinguished names are: Bernardino Ochino and Lelio and Fausto Soccini (16th century); in jurisprudence, three Soccini: Mariano senior, Bartolommeo and Mariano junior (15th and 16th centuries); and in political economy, Sallustio Bandini (1677-1760), author of the Discorso sulla Maremma. In physical science the names most worthy of mention are those of the botanist Pier Antonio Mattioli (1501-1572), of Pirro Maria Gabrielli (1643-1705), founder of the academy of the Physiocritics, and of the anatomist Paolo Mascagni (d. 1825).

A rt. - Lanzi happily designates Sienese painting as "Lieta scuola fra lieto popolo" ("the blithe school of a blithe people"). The special characteristics of its masters are freshness of colour, vivacity of expression and distinct originality. The Sienese school of painting owes its origin to the influence of Byzantine art; but it improved that art, impressed it with a special stamp and was for long independent of all other influences. Consequently Sienese art seemed almost stationary amid the general progress and development of the other Italian schools, and preserved its medieval character down to the end of the 15th century, when the influence of the Umbrian and - to a slighter degree - of the Florentine schools began to penetrate into Siena, followed a little later by that of the Lombard. In the 13th century we find Guido (da Siena), painter of the wellknown Madonna in the church of S Domenico in Siena. The 14th century gives us Ugolino, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone di Martino (or Memmi), Lippo Memmi, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Andrea di Vanni (painter and statesman), Bartolo di Fredi and Taddeo di Bartolo. In the 15th century we have Domenico di Bartolo, Sano di Pietro, Giovanni di Paolo, Stefano di Giovanni (Il Sassetta) and Matteo and Benvenuto di Giovanni Bartoli, who fell, however, behind their contemporaries elsewhere, and made indeed but little progress. The 16th century boasts the names of Bernardino Fungai, Guidoccio Cossarelli, Giacomo Pacchiarotto, Girolamo del Pacchia and especially Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1537), who while especially celebrated for his frescoes and studies in perspective and chiaroscuro was also an architect of considerable attainments (see Rome); Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, otherwise known as 11 Sodoma (1477-1549), who, born at Vercelli in Piedmont, and trained at Milan in the school of Leonardo da Vinci, came to Siena in 1504 and there produced some of his finest works, while his influence on the art of the place was considerable; Domenico Beccafumi, otherwise known as Micharino (1486-1550), noted for the Michelangelesque daring of his designs; and Francesco Vanni.

There may, also be mentioned many sculptors and architects, such as Lorenzo Maitani, architect of Orvieto cathedral (end of 13th century); Camaino di Crescentino; Tino di Camaino, sculptor of the monument to Henry VII. in the Campo Santo of Pisa; Agostino and Agnolo, who in 1330 carved the fine tomb of Bishop Guido Tarlati in the cathedral of Arezzo; Lando di Pietro (14th century), architect, entrusted by the Sienese commune with the proposed enlargement of the cathedral (1339), and perhaps author of the famous Gothic reliquary containing the head of S Galgano in the Chiesa del Santuccio, which, however, is more usually attributed to Ugolino di Vieri, author of the tabernacle in the cathedral at Orvieto; Giacopo (or Jacopo) della Quercia, whose lovely fountain, the Fonte Gaia, in the Piazza del Campo has been recently restored; Lorenzo di Pietro (Il Vecchietta), a pupil of Della Quercia and an excellent artist in marble and bronze; Francesco d'Antonio, a skilful goldsmith of the 1 6th century; Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439-1502), painter, sculptor, military engineer and writer on art; Giacomo Cozzarelli (15th century); and Lorenzo Mariano, surnamed 11 Marrina (16th century). Wood-carving also flourished here in the 15th and 16th centuries, and so also did the ceramic art, though few of its products are preserved. According to the well-known law, however, the Renaissance, made for the people of the plains, never fully took root in Siena, as in other parts of Tuscany, and the loss of its independence and power in 1555 led to a suspension of building activity, which to the taste of the present day is most fortunate, inasmuch as the baroque of the 17th and the false classicism of the 18th centuries have had hardly any effect here; and few towns of Italy are so unspoilt by restoration or the addition of incongruous modern buildings, or preserve so many characteristics and so much of the real spirit (manifested to-day in the grave and pleasing courtesy of the inhabitants) of the middle ages, which its narrow and picturesque streets seem to retain. Siena is indeed unsurpassed for its examples of 13th and 14th century Italian Gothic, whether in stone or in brick.

See W. Heywood, Our Lady of August and the Palio (Siena, 1899) and other works; R. H. Hobart Cust, The Pavement Masters of Siena (London, 1901); Langton Douglas, History of Siena (London, 1902); E. G. Gardner, The Story of Siena (London, 1902); St Catherine of Siena (London, 1908) W. Heywood and L. Olcott, Guide to Siena (Siena, 1603); A. Jahn Rusconi, Siena (Bergamo, 1904). (C. PA.; T. As.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also si̋eną, and siena




  • enPR: sē-ĕnʹə, IPA: /siˈɛnə/, SAMPA: /si"En@/
  • Homophones: sienna

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. A province of Tuscany, Italy.
  2. The capital city of Siena.

Derived terms



  • Anagrams of aeins
  • anise


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it

Proper noun

Siena f.

  1. Siena (province)
  2. Siena (town)

Derived terms


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|The well known bell tower of the Siena Cathedral]] Siena is a city in the Italian region of Tuscany. The city has a population of about 54,000 inhabitants. Siena began as an Etruscan settlement under Roman power. In the 12th century it became an independent city with its own government. There were traditionally struggles between Siena and Florence during the middle age and the renaissance.



- 900 to 400 BC: Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns were occuped by Etruscans that changed the territories with they big "technology" about irrigation and works with earth.

- 390 Battle of the Allia

- At the time of the Emperor Augustus, a Roman town called Saena Julia in the territories before occupied by Etruscans.

- According to legend, Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, who was in turn the brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named, ( statues and other paints about the youth of two twins can be seen all over the city of Siena).

- Siena did not prosper under Roman rule. It was not sited near any major roads and therefore missed out on the resulting opportunities for trade.

- 774 BC: the oldest aristocratic families in Siena date their line to the Lombards' surrender to Charlemagne.

- 1115: the death of Countess Matilda, an important point for the history of Siena, because after this the Mark of Tuscia which had been under the control of her family – the Canossa – broke up into several autonomous regions.

- Siena became a major center of money lending and an important for trade. It was governed at first directly by its Bishop.

- During the 1100s: power of Bishop lost energy and at the same thime the biggest build of Siena, the Duomo, was completed.

- 1167: Siena, after a trouble about territories with Arezzo, became independence from the Bishop.

- 1179: Siena had a written constitution.

- Early 12th century a self-governing commune replaced the earlier aristocratic government. The consuls who governed the republic slowly became more inclusive of the poblani, or common people, and the Commune increased its territory as the surrounding feudal nobles in their fortified castles submitted to the urban power. Siena's republic, struggling internally between nobles and the popular party, usually worked in political opposition to its great rival, Florence.

- 1203: Siena's university was founded.

- September 4 1260: the Senese Ghibellines, supported by the forces of King Manfred of Sicily, defeated the Florentine Guelphs in the Battle of Montaperti.

-1348: Siena was devastated by the Black Death.

- 1355: with Charles IV of Luxembourg in the city, the population rose and suppressed the government of the Nove (Nine), establishing that Dodici (Twelve) nobles assisted by a group with a popular majority.

- Years later gave the power Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan in order to defend it from the Florentine attacks.

- 1404: the Visconti were expelled and a government of Ten Priors established, in alliance with Florence against King Ladislas of Naples. With the election of the Sienese Pius II as Pope, the Piccolomini and other noble families were helped to return to the government, but after his death the control returned into popular hands.

- 1472: the Republic founded the Monte dei Paschi, a bank that is still active today and is the oldest surviving bank in the world.

- 1487: The noble legacy returned in the city under Pandolfo Petrucci with the support of Florence and of Alfonso of Calabria;

- Pandolfo was succeeded by his son Borghese, who was ousted by his cousin Raffaello, helped by the Medici Pope Leo X. The last Petrucci was Fabio, exiled in 1523 by the Sienese people.

- Emperor Charles V took advantage of the chaotic situation to put a Spanish garrison in Siena. This citizen expelled it in 1552, with France: this was unacceptable for Charles, who sent his general Gian Giacomo Medici to lay siege to it with a Florentine-Imperial army.

- August 1554: Siena lost against Florence at the Battle of Marciano.

- After 18 months of resistance, it surrendered to Florence on April 17 1555, marking the end of the Republic of Siena. The new Spanish King Philip, owing huge sums to the Medici, ceded it (apart a series of coastal fortress annexed to the State of Presidi) to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany,

- Until the unification of Italy Siena will be controlled by Florence.

The paints in the city are still an important centre about culture, especially for humanist disciplines.

Il Campo from Torre del Mangia.
File:Siena Fassade am Domplatz
Façade of the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall) during the Palio days.
File:Palazzo Salimbeni,
Palazzo Salimbeni.

Important places in Siena

  • Siena's cathedral
  • baptistery
  • Piazza del Campo
  • Palazzo Pubblico
  • Torre del Mangia,
  • Basilica dell'Osservanza
  • Santa Maria dei Servi
  • San Domenico
  • San Francesco
  • Santo Spirito
  • San Martino
  • Palazzo Chigi
  • Villa Chigi
  • Castle of Belcaro
  • Villa Celsa
  • Villa Cetinale
  • Villa Volte Alte
  • Palazzo Salimbeni, (On the "Piazza Salimbeni") a notable building and also the medieval headquarter of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of the oldest banks of the World.
  • Sanctuary of Santa Caterina, incorporating the old house of St. Catherine of Siena. It houses the miraculous Crucifix (late 12th century) from which the saint received her stigmata, and a 15th century statue of St. Catherine.
  • The Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Museum of Opera in the Duomo) where we can see the Duccio's famous Maestà (1308–1311) and various other works by Senese masters.


Siena has enjoyed a long tradition in sports. Basketball and football are popular in Siena. However, other sports such as rugby union and track-and-field are also practiced.

The Palio

July 2 and August 16 are the dates when the Palio di Siena is held. The Palio is a traditional medieval horse race is run around the Piazza del Campo each year. This event is attended by large crowds, and is showed on tv. televised. Seventeen Contrade run for the prize,a painted flag, or Palio bearing an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sister cities

Others websites

Other pages

Province of Siena


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