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Miriam Gude wins the XVth Italian Thomas Dempster price 2009  

Siena Italy - Visit Sienna Italia

Siena is one of the most popular destination inside Tuscany Italy and is the capitol of the province Siena. The City Siena is best known for its cuisine, art, museums and last but not least the Palio (a spectacular horserace on the Piazza del Campo, preceded by an impressive parade).

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The most famous square of Siena (and maybe even Italy) is without a doubt the Piazza del Campo. It’s the central point of Siena that is built on three converging hills. The Piazza del Campo is easily recognized by its shell shaped square which is divided into 9 patches. These ‘patches’ where made to commemorate the 9 men who ruled the city Siena between 1285 and 1355. The square also houses the Palazzo Publico (town hall) and the Torre Del Mangia. There is also a stunning fountain named the Fonte Gaia which was build in the honor of the (still working) aqueduct from the 14th century.

The Palio di Siena is the biggest event in Siena and is held twice a year on July 2nd (the Palio di Provenzano) and August 16th (Palio dell’Assunta). Many people from around the world come especially to Sienna for this event to see the 10 jockeys race each other whilst wearing outfits with colors that represent the 17 districts (contrade) of the town. During the races it can get quite intense and it’s not uncommon to see riders get thrown of their horses whilst making sharp turns on the square. The race means a lot to the residents of Siena and is shown by the following saying "Chi dice Siena, dice Palio.",  "Who says Siena, says Palio.". It is used when two issues are inseparable from each other.

Another sight you don’t want to miss when visiting Siena is the Duomo di Siena (a very large cathedral). They began building the cathedral back in the 12th century and the main façade was completed in 1380. Inside is the famous octagonal pulpit by Nicola Pisan, which is supported on beautifully crafted lions. This cathedral, like the Piazza del Campo is very recognizable and difficult to miss.

You can travel to Siena by car and with the ‘Raccordo Autostradale’ it easy to drive between Siena and Florence. The closest airports to Siena are the Peretola airport in Florence and the Galileo Galilei airport in Pisa. You can also easily reach Siena by train, with the train station located just outside the city walls. Keep in mind though, it can be quite a walk to the city center and you can also take the bus or a taxi upon arrival. You can read more about traveling to Tuscanyon the GudeToscana.com.

Have fun in Siena Tuscany!