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Piazza del Campo: a magnificent history

This particular piece of architecture is very different from traditional squares that can be found on Italian soil because of its unique shell shape, placed slightly in elevation as it is located at a point of convergence between the three hills on which the city stands.

Piazza del Campo from the beginning

The first news of Piazza del Campo dates back to 1169 when it was connected to the nearby Market Square, from which it will be separated in 1193. Initially Piazza del Campo was used to host the country's market and livestock fairs, later then, under the Government of the Nine, it was embellished with the construction of the Town Hall, the building used as the seat of city government.

The pavement was divided into nine segments to celebrate the Nine. The current architectural shape of the Piazza del Campo is due to ongoing structural changes related to laws enacted over the years that have shaped over time spaces, facades and monuments. The Public Palace now is residence of the council of Siena and the Civic Museum, the latter real cultural heritage of the city as it contains works of art of inestimable value. The three floors of the Public Palace are adorned with pointed arches typical Sienese architectural while the center is a rosette copper depicting Christ.

On the left side of the palace stands the Torre del Mangia, a brick building high 88 meters to visitors climbing the 400 steps that lead to a covered structure that allows you to see the view of the square and of the town. The name of the Tower has ancient origins dating back to its first bell Giovanni di Duccio, who goes by the name of Mangiaguadagni.

The Palio and the square

 

Today this square is famous throughout the world because of an event which takes place twice a year, on August 16 and July 2: the Palio. The horse race in Piazza del Campo has ancient origins and is held to proclaim the winner among the various Contradas of the city, the winner is given the typical drape fabric representative religious icons. We have already wrote about it in several posts of our blog, so check them to know the “behind the scenes” of the Palio.

Tips and info

The two Palio of 2015 has already happened. But if you want to live the Palio in the best way, we advise you to book in advance, so that we may reserve you the best experience.

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