I have been impressed throughout our tour of Tuscan towns by the ancient walls that are still intact. Coming from somewhere where chain link or white picket fences are the norm, it is terrific to see history everywhere you go.
While I've been impressed, I won't be rushing home to build my own fortress. :-)
This imposing building from the 9th century used to be the home of the great Salimbeni family, but is now the property of Monte dei Paschi, one of the oldest banks.
The fortress houses a collection of works of art.
At the centre of the same square is the monument to Sallustio Bandini, done by Tito Sarrochi in 1880.
The whole square was reorganised in 1963-72.
The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as the Church of St. Catherine (Santa Caterina), was built in brick between 1225 and 1265.
Inside, in the Chapel of the vaults, there’s St Catherine’s portrait, frescoed by Andrea Vanni in 1667.
The Chapel of St Catherine of Siena preserves the remains of the head of the saint and her finger.
There are also the masterpieces of Sienese art, oil and wall paintings by Sodoma, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Benuto and Matteo di Giovanni...
Taking pictures inside the church is not allowed!
If you look at the town's emblem ~ a she-wolf suckling the infants’ Romulus and Remus, you may think of Rome's origins as well. Legend has it that Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus (Romulus' brother)
You can find this emblem in many parts of the city.
Of course Siena has its great spaces and places. But if you keep your eyes peeled, there are lots of details which can be just as interesting and aren't covered in tourists!
Definitely keep an eye out for doors leading into courtyards - might just lead to a whitewashed rom with a Fiat parked in it, or could be an off-shoot of the university, with murals and a grassy courtyard.
We discovered this lion minding his own business in a small side street south of the Campo. Press his tongue, and water shoots out! Fun for kids aged 4-40.
When in Siena an absolute must see is a view from the Torre del Mangia and a visit to the Museo Civico. A ticket to both costs 10euros (6 for the tower and 4 for the museam). The climb up the tower is a bit of a challenge. Lots and lots of steps, very narrow stairwells and several points along the way where you can easily bump your head (believe me I did many times).
Sorry, no pictures taken from inside the Museo Civico because they don't allow you to and enforce that rule by more security cameras then the Pentagon has.
I liked the Museo more than anything in Florence. In one of the halls is a statue of a man sitting with his head in his hand worried or saddened about something--better than David in the Accademia. Also a statue of a little girl sleeping innocently. Sad that these works of art are not more known worldwide. Maybe because they don't allow pictures!!
..it is possible to enjoy views like this.
Can't remember (as usual) the name of this big monastery, what I can clearly remember is that its is a very famous landmark in ancient Siena.
Just outside the central Siena, like here, there is no crowd at all so a pleasant walk is easy to undertake
The abbey of Saint Galgano with the Montesiepi hermitage rise in the valley of the river Merse, between the medieval villages of Chiusdino and Monticiano, in the province of Siena. Both sites are easily reachable from Florence following the motorway FI-SI until the exit towards 'San Lorenzo a Merse', then following the indications for Monticiano. You can also exit the motorway at Siena and then drive on the road SS73 that leads to the ruins of Saint Galgano.
Famous film-maker Andrei Tarkovsky filmed here parts of his film "Nostalghia".
Also here in the nearby chapel the visitor can see the famous SWORD OF THE ROCK, a mysterious medieval sword
Going through the narrow and winding streets is a real treat. Take a slow walk and find out that in spite of tourism, life goes on unchanged for the locals
All over Siena you can find this symbol of the city, the she-wolf with the two Roman twins.
The one at the centre of Piazza Tolomei is from 1610.
The Church of Saint Christopher is among the oldest in Siena.
Between the 12th and the 13th centuries, it was the seat of the great Council of the Republic, the Council of the Bell.