Here’s another place I would have loved to spent longer, much longer .. ambling through the narrow streets of Siena, the historic centre of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscapes and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year in July and August.
Gateway to Siena .. (from the inside looking out)
Siena was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c 900 – 400 BC), thereafter a Roman town was founded at the site in the time of Emperor Augustus AD 70. The Roman origin accounts for the town’s emblem : a she-wolf suckling infants Romulus and Remus
Siena is a hilltop town. Walking from the coach stop (at the entrance to the town) to the medieval square, Piazza del Campo and further up the hill to the highest point, the Duomo .. was quite hectic! A long, gradual climb!
” The Palio is Tuscany’s most celebrated festival. It is a bareback horse race first recorded in 1283.” “The jockeys represent ten of Siena’s 17 contrade (districts); the horses are chosen by the drawing of lots and are blessed at the local contrada churches. Preceded by days of colourful pageantry, costume processions and heavy betting, the races themselves last only 90 seconds each.” “The winner is rewarded with a silk palio (banner). Festivities for the winners can last for weeks.”
The red brick paving was laid in 1327 and completed in 1349, its distinctive nine segments designed to reflect the authority of the Council of Nine and to symbolize the protective folds of the Madonna’s cloak. The Piazza has been the focus of city life ever since, a setting for executions, bullfights, and the Palio
Wished I’d had my wide-angled lens for these photographs
Fonte Gaia .. a 19th century copy of the original fountain carved by Jacopo della Quercia in 1409-19. Its reliefs depict the Virtues, Adam and Eve, and the Madonna and Child. The fountain’s water is still supplied by a 500 year old aqueduct
We continue our walk-about in Siena .. next post