Siena

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Medieval Town of Siena, Italy

Siena is a unique medieval town located in northern Italy. This is one of the best preserved historical cities in which the atmosphere of the Tuscan culture is palpable in full force today. The town is situated about 70 km south of Florence. This distance can be travelled in less than an hour by car. This city in the northern region of Crete Seneze is characterized by hilly terrain and Siena is built on three hills.

At about nine kilometres from the city lies a small local airport, but most tourists coming here prefer to land at airports in Pisa or Florence. From there to Siena are regular bus and rail links. You can take the train from Rome and Milan too.

Over the centuries Siena passes under a different domain. The town was founded by the Romans as a prime in the 12th century. During Roman times, it became an important commercial and banking center, but the ensuing battles with Florence weaken it. Siena became a secondary city in the area. During the medieval times, the town developed as a free republic, but progress led to its rivalry with Florence. In the 13th century there had even been Florentines who brought dead donkeys and excrement to cause epidemics of plague in Sienna.

Around town today still stand defences. The historical centre of Siena is a unique mixture of small and narrow streets among the majestic Gothic buildings painted in different shades of colour known as "Siena". All winding streets lead to huge Piazza del Campo, which is considered one of the largest on earth. Built in the shape of a shell, it has a slightly inclined surface and is divided into two parts.

Palazzo Pubblico is located in the lower part of the square. This is a unique building, which features Gothic architecture and is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. In the upper part stands the Duomo, which impresses with its marble facade of black and white stripes. Its façade is a mix between Roman and Gothic style, but inside it you can see beautiful frescoes by Giovanni Pisani.

Siena is famous for the horse races that take place twice a year here. A horse race known as the Palio is held and the central city square. For more than 500 years, this tradition remains intact, and those horse competitions are accompanied by music, demonstrations and a medieval mood.

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