Siena

Sienna is the capital of the provice of Siena in Tuscany. The town is divided into 17 contrade, or wards, which have their origins in the Middle Ages. The inhabitants of each contrada hold a loyalty to it which follows them throughout their life.

The Piazza del Campo, the town’s main square is dominated by the Torre del Mangia and the Palazzo Pubblico.

Duomo

The Duomo is a superb example of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture which took nearly 200 years to complete. The original, grander design was never completed although the east wall of the nave still stands.

Palio

Twice each year the town hosts the Palio, a horserace, around the Piazza del Campo. Only 10 horse and riders take part in each race, with 7 contrada having a place by right. The other 10 must draw lots to take the other 3 places.

The inhabitants of the victorious contrada is considered to be “re-born” and, at a parade and feast to celebrate, they can be seen wearing scarves held together by baby’s dummys (pacifiers).

In 2012 the two races where won by Onda (blue and white waves) in July and Valdimontone (red, yellow and pink) in August.

As the summer that year was very wet in Tuscany, the celebratory feasts were held in October over one weekend, luckily coinciding with my visit.

Image Torre del Mangia, Siena
Image Piazza del Campo, Siena
Image Siena
Image Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Publico, Siena
Image Torre del Mangia and Piazza del Campo, Siena
Image Torre del Mangia and Piazza del Campo, Siena
Image Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Publico (rear), Siena
Image Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Publico façade, Siena
Image Sunset on the Duomo, Siena
Image Duomo interior, Siena
Image Duomo interior, Siena
Image Duomo interior, Siena
Image Duomo façade detail, Siena
Image Duomo interior, Siena
Image Duomo interior, Siena
Image Early morning at the Duomo, Siena
Image Olive groves and vines outside Siena
Image Monastery in the mists, Siena
Image Monastery in the mists, Siena
Image Street art made in chalk, Siena
Image Ocre colours of Tuscany, Siena
Image Balconies in the old town, Siena
Image Window shutters in the evening sun, Siena
Image Window shutters in the evening sun, Siena
Image Flags of the Valdimontone contrada celebrating victory in the palio, Siena
Image Entrance to the Montone contrada feast, Siena
Image Preparations for the feast in Montone contrada, Siena
Image Montone “Alfieri” leading the victory procession, Siena
Image Montone girls in beautiful silk dresses, Siena
Image The banner of the Onda contrada, Siena
Image Preparations for the Onda feast, Siena
Image The white horse of Onda with the Torre del Mangia, Siena
Image Street in Onda cantrada at nightfall, Siena
Image Street in Onda cantrada at nightfall, Siena
Image Bell tower in old Siena
Image Via Paolo Mascagni, Siena