Siena

A medieval city in Tuscany with constant rivalry with Florence, Siena is picturesque and still holds the culture of traditional times. Little streets, steep hills and elaborate churches are the charming qualities of the small city, which still endures Gothic artistic values, in contrast to Florentine Renaissance.

Emma, who has been living in Siena for a few months took me on a tour around the city and made sure I saw the main sites.

Siena’s heart is in the Piazza del Campo. Known for the famous Palio Horse Race, which occurs during the summer.

Fonte Gaia. The largest fountain of the city, is decorated with sculptures by Jacopo della Quercia. This one on display is a copy made of Carrara marble.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, is one of the world’s oldest banks in the world and now holds local pride and art patronage.

Basilica di Santa Caterina.

Siena still holds the medieval tradition of identifying each ‘contrada’, district, with a representation of an animal, to show each district’s identity. These animals are printed on different flags in the city’s Cathedral and each is represented at the annual Horse Race.

Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta; an example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture in Italy. As Brunelleschi’s Duomo in Florence is grand and imposing, the interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, is powerful and dazzling. In contrast to the white marble used on the exterior, the interior is decorated with white and dark green marble, (which symbolises the colours of Siena) enriched with works by Donatello, Nicola Pisano, Michelangelo and Pinturicchio. The floors are decorated with mosaics, each made of marble, conveying a different story.

The sun finally came out in the late afternoon, so Emma and I walked through La Fortezza Medicea before an afternoon break stop.

Back in Florence that evening I went to a gig, which felt very Shoreditch.. Celluloid Jam is an indie-electronic-pop group, with leader singer, quirky fashion student Cate, Jerro mastering the music and David who controls the visual arts. The hall was filled with a young crowd enjoying this unique taste in music that in currently new and upcoming in Italy.

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