Not only is the city magnificent in the sense of its medieval character, but so are its surroundings. To drive here from other parts of Tuscany means to pass through some of Tuscany's most scenic areas with soft rolling hillsides, vineyards, olive trees, green woodland and small villages dotted around, where smells and colours from the past still exist.
Siena's heyday was in the middle ages around 1200 to 1300 until it was defeated by Florence. Since then the old city walls have hardly changed, and there is a requirement that new buildings must be built in a style in keeping with the old style so not to ruin the historic profile of the city. Medieval Sienese art (painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.) is unique and of great historical importance. Some of the famous artists who lived and worked in Siena are Duccio, Simone Martini, and Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti.
In Siena, the famous Il Palio horserace takes place twice during the summer in Piazza del Campo. The whole town takes part with a passion in this historic event. Many tourists and personalities from all over the world also come along to see the wild chase of the horses in the main square. Afterwards there is lots of wine and a big party and its' a great time to be in the city. For the Sienese, the Palio is not just an horse racing event, it's a preoccupation all year round and something that they invest themselves in with much pride.
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Siena is also surrounded by fantastic medieval towns: Montepulciano and Pienza with their Renaissance artifacts; Rapolano with the Roman spas; San Gimignano with its amazing architectural solutions (the town could survive several months of siege); Monteriggioni, imposing and fascinating on a hilltop encircled by olive trees and its buildings untouched by the passing of the centuries, and Colle Val d’Esa, Bagno Vignoni, San Quirico d’Orcia. The list goes on and new sights and experiences await you over each hilltop.
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