Siena – three differen ways to discover the city

Torre del Mangia

A city to discover in three different ways: we can in fact walk along the city’s ancient “Terzi” (Thirds) among the Serena stone of the alleys and the red brick of the buildings, or you can look at the city from up high, either from the Mangia tower or from the communication pathway of what should have been the great façade of the Duomo, which remained unfinished. Finally you can explore the underground life of the city walking along the complex 25-km long medieval waterworks.

The ‘Terzo di Città’ (City’s Third) is the lay and religious heart of Siena; Via di Città links its political pole, Piazza del Campo, to its religious pole, represented by Piazza del Duomo. In this ‘third’ we find, among others, the complex of Santa Maria della Scala, which features vast culture venues and museums, the Chigi Saracini palace and the Papesse palace, the latter a contemporary art centre. The ‘Terzo di San Martino’ (San Martino Third) took shape along the Francigena way, which took pilgrims to Rome. The name of this area is in fact reminiscent of the name of the saint protectorof pilgrims and travellers. We are in Piazza del Campo, the heart of Siena which has always been people’s meeting place during events such as the famous Palio, held every year on 2nd July and 16th August. A highlight of the square is the ‘Fonte Gaia’, a large fountain called ‘Merry Fountain’ in remembrance of the joy displayed by Siena’s people when they saw water gush out in the square. In the ‘Terzo di Camollia’ (Camollia Third) the Basilica di Santa Maria di Provenzano, built in 1595 to house a terracotta image of the Madonna to which are attributed miracles occurred on 2nd July 1594 stands out. It is to commemorate that event that since 1656 the Palio has been raced on 2nd July. Climbing down towards the right we get to Fontebranda, a spring which is the richest in water of the city. The long staircase to the left of the spring leads to the Basilica di San Domenico, where Saint Catherine had her first vision, aged six.

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