Piazza del Campo, what’s in the square of Siena 

You say Piazza del Campo and you think of the Palio di Siena, but in reality it is the square itself that is a work of art, and as such timeless, as Tuscany itself, one of the most fascinating regions of Italy.

Among its most precious gems there is Siena, a city rich in history and culture known especially for Piazza del Campo. In this article, we will explore this place that enchants visitors with its majesty and its unique atmosphere.

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Tuscany is renowned not only for its natural beauty, characterized by green hills, lush vineyards and unique landscapes that capture the imagination of artists and travelers from around the world, but also for the historical and cultural heritage of the various cities. 

At the heart of this region to discover lies Siena, a place that transports visitors back in time thanks to its winding alleys, historic buildings and charming squares, immersing them in an era of artistic and cultural splendor where the districts that compose it still know how to be sports enemies. 

Piazza del Campo, a true architectural work of art 

Located in the center of Siena, Piazza del Campo (also known as Il Campo) is a real architectural work, famous for its majesty and its “shell” shape. This particular form is not accidental. It depended on its being a steep terrain in which the streets of the ancient city converged.  The reason why Piazza del Campo is downhill is explained by the original use of reclaimed land, that is, the outflow of rainwater.  

The radial layout of the square, with the large central space opening outwards, creates a welcoming and charming atmosphere. To make it so interesting are also the medieval buildings that surround it and the Torre del Mangia that stands out on the panorama. 

Built in the thirteenth century as a symbol of the fusion of three ancient hill towns of the community of Siena (hence the name Il Campo), it has been the beating heart of social, political and economic life for centuries. It is no coincidence that it has been recognized by UNESCO for its historical and architectural importance.

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The architectural homogeneity of the square makes it unique (the pavement with red bricks positioned like a fish tail, divided by rows of white travertine, creates a symbolic arrangement that looks towards Palazzo Pubblico and pays homage to the patron saint Virgin Mary replicating the folds of her mantle) and the surrounding buildings (the buildings had to be built following precise guidelines, otherwise they would be demolished, as happened to the ancient church of San Pietro e Paolo. 

It is enough to look at Piazza del Campo to have the feeling of finding yourself in a place where time seems to stop: its secular stones and majestic architecture transport you to another era, reviving the greatness of the past.  

Over the centuries the square has been a spectator of important historical events and has hosted celebrations, tournaments and markets and today continues to be a place of meeting and celebration, preserving intact its essence of glorious past. 

The race of the Palio di Siena 

Piazza del Campo is also known for hosting the famous Palio di Siena, a medieval equestrian competition held twice a year, on July 2 and August 16.  

During the Palio, the contradaioli (representatives of each district) compete in an exciting race around the square. This traditional event attracts thousands of spectators, who fill the spaces around the square to witness one of the most exciting and intense races in Italy.Not comparable with the perfect television show that has made her known all over the world.

The Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia are the most iconic symbols of Piazza di Siena, but Il Campo is full of other treasures and attractions to discover. Let’s find out what to see nearby. 

  • Palazzo Pubblico – Palazzo Pubblico, overlooking Piazza del Campo, was the hub of the famous “Government of the Nine of the Republic of Siena”. Today, this building is home to the Civic Museum and houses many masterpieces.  
  • Torre del Mangia – With its more than one hundred meters high and the combination of the brick structure and the white travertine of the top, Torre del Mangia dominates the square with its majestic presence. Why is it called “del Mangia”? The bell ringer Giovanni di Balduccio was known to squander money at the game, that is, a “money eater”. 
  • Chapel of Piazza – Located at the base of the Torre del Mangia, the Chapel of Piazza is the expression of the gratitude of the population to the Virgin Mary for having survived the terrible “Black Plague” of the fourteenth century. This place, with its decorated marble pillars and its symbolic meaning, offers a testimony of the religious devotion of Siena.
  • Fonte Gaia – It is located in front of Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia and is a focal point for the city, despite being a nineteenth-century reproduction of the original Jacopo della Quercia (preserved at the museum complex of the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala). Tito Sarrocchi’s copy is fed by miles and miles of underground aqueduct tunnels and presents very suggestive marble carvings. 

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Gastronomy as a unique experience journey 

During the hot summer days, Piazza del Campo comes alive with coffee tables and restaurants, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing break immersed in its unique atmosphere.  

Savor the local dishes while, seated, you admire the architecture, history and atmosphere of the square, you can live an unforgettable experience. 

Siena boasts a rich and appreciated culinary tradition, from typical cold cuts such as salami of Cinta Senese to pici all’aglione up to the Sienese tripe, ending with a panforte or ricciarelli. All accompanied by a good glass of Chianti wine. Siena is a charming town, let yourself be conquered.

Copertina: palazzoravizza

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