Siena, the splendid medieval town declared UNESCO world heritage, and home of the famous Palio – a bare back horse race held twice a year in the fascinating “Campo” square .
Set on three hills the town was originally divided into areas called “terzi” (thirds).The many churches throughout the city show a distinct Romanesque-Gothic architecture and house important works of art. The main square, Piazza del Campo, stands at the heart of the city and is where the famous “Palio”, horse race, is held. The race lasts no longer than a few minutes and involves riders from each of the seventeen “contrada” (quarters) of the city. It takes place every year on 2 July and 16 August, although festivities start even weeks before.
Siena is an international centre of culture, with a University 750 years old and important institutions such as the Chigiana Music Accademy and the University for Foreigners.
Sienese cuisine has ancient origins, dating back to the Etruscans, based on quality meats and vegetables, with a significant use of herbs. The famous Cinta Senese pork and hams are one speciality as well as the Chianina beef. Spices too are common in Sienese dishes and these give the distinct flavour to the “panforte” cake and “Cavallucci”.
Siena offers many cultural events, concerts, cinema, theatre and a wide range of sporting activities. There is a city market every Wednesday morning where you can find anything from clothes and shoes to flowers and fresh fruit and vegetables. There is also an antiquities market on the third Sunday of every month.