Farmhouse' surroundings: Siena
Siena (Sienna) is a medieval town which has reached the present day intact. It “skipped” the Renaissance and everything that came after it. It is a prodigy of a town, the body and soul of which have escaped the weight of time.
Sienna should be visited on foot. There’s no better way to get to know a town as “special” as Siena (Sienna).
Sena Vetus stretches across three hills. Known as the Gothic town it has maintained intact its medieval appearance. It had its heyday in the 1200’s and 1300’s, beginning its decline in the middle of the 1500’s.
Piazza del Campo, or the Campo as it is more simply known, is the meeting point of the three hills on which the town is built. The piazza, one of the most beautiful in the world, host the Palio of Siena.
Palazzo Pubblico, built in the 1300’s, is one of the most elegant buildings in Tuscany and one of the very best examples of Gothic architecture. There are rooms inside that house Sienese works of art: the World Map room with frescoes by Simone Martini, the Peace room with paintings by Ambrogio Lorenzetti dedicated to the Buon Governo.
The Cathedral of Siena (Sienna) is one of the purest jewels of Italian art. The facade is a Gothic masterpiece with sculptures, columns, mosaics and pinnacles, created by Giovanni Pisano. Work on the Cathedral began in 1100: construction work went on for a further two centuries. The temple interior is very grand. Amidst numerous pillars, it encloses the famous parchment by Nicola Pisano, the chapel of the Madonna del Voto, the wooden choir and the glass window by Duccio di Buoninsegna. It also presents the Piccolomini altar with sculptures by Michelangelo, the chapel of Saint John the Baptist with a fresco by Pinturicchio and a statue by Donatello, the Piccolomini bookshop with frescoes by Pinturicchio and the floor with 46 inlaid tiles.
The Cathedral Museum houses the Majesty by Duccio di Buoninsegna and the most important collection of statues by Giovanni Pisano.
The National picture gallery offers a complete picture of the Sienese school of painting from its origins to the 1600’s.
The most important churches to visit are the Basilica of San Francesco, the Basilica of Sant’Agostino, that of Santa Maria del Carmine and that of Santa Maria dei Servi, the Church of Santa Maria della Scala and that of Fontegiusta.
Another interesting church is San Domenico, with the adjacent house of Santa Caterina, which has been converted into a chapter house.