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Piazza del Campo

5 Best Things to See in Piazza del Campo, Siena

Siena is for sure one of the best cities to live in Italy. And there is a place you can’t absolutely miss seeing when you decide to travel to Tuscany and there. We are talking about Piazza del Campo, which is one of the most important places to visit in Tuscany. It is a 12th-century square situated in Siena and it is the heart of the city. It is characterized by a fountain called “Fonte Gaia”, a rectangular marble basin decorated with statues which is a 19th-century copy of the original, a work made by Jacopo della Quercia between 1409 and 1919.

But apart from the fountain, Piazza del Campo has a lot of history in it. It is mostly known for horses race the “Palio di Siena“, an event that takes place two times per year. Do you want to know more about Piazza del Campo? You are in the right place. Let’s dive in!

Palio di Siena, Folla
© tuscanylifetime.com

What is Piazza del Campo in Siena famous for?

Piazza del Campo is the main place to visit when coming to Siena, Tuscany. It’s so famous for multiple reasons: the Palio di Siena, Fonte Gaia, Palazzo Pubblico, its tower Torre del Mangia. Let’s discover it.

The Palio di Siena

As told, it is a 12th-century square that is most known for the Palio di Siena, a horses race event that takes place two times per year the 2nd of July and the 16th of August. The city of Siena is divided into 17 parts “owned” by a Contrada. These compete with a rotation mechanism to the Palio. It’s a medieval event so important for locals, which are part of one Contrada. Every one of them has its own “headquarters” where people meet before the event but also all the year. If you want to know more about the Palio di Siena, check it out.

Palio di Siena
File ID 59936823 | © M. Rohana | Dreamstime.com

The fountain: “Fonte Gaia”

Besides the Palio, Piazza del Campo is also known for its characterized elements. For sure the first thing we look at is the Fonte Gaia, a fountain placed at the entrance of the square. As anticipated, it’s a copy of Jacopo della Quercia’s work made between 1409 and 1919. The original has been removed to preserve it from the possible effects linked to the weather. The fountain has reliefs that depict Adam and Eve,
the Madonna and Child, and the Virtues.

The tower: Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico

As you enter the square, you will for sure look at the tower, which is called Torre del Mangia. It is the second-highest tower in Italy with 102m, 330ft of height. The tower has been built by Muccio and Francesco di Rinaldo around 1338 and 1348. It is possible to go up in it, but consider that there are 505 to the top. It is going to be worth it, as from there you’re going to be able to see the beautiful views across southeast Tuscany.

Close to the tower, just on its right, there is the Palazzo Pubblico. It’s the town hall of Siena, but you’ll also be able to visit it as part of the Museo Civico. It has been built between 1297 and 1310, during the Government of the Nine (called Governo dei Nove, as the nine representatives of the people were nominated from the middle class) and extended in 1680. The interns are covered by works from the most important Sienese and Italian artists. For example, in it, there is Simone Martini’s “Maestà” (Virgin in Majesty, 1315) or Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s “Allegory of Good and Bad Government” (1338).

The Museo Civico

The Museo Civico is the city museum and it is situated on the first floor of the Palazzo Pubblico. The left entrance of the building will bring you into the courtyard called the Cortile del Podestà. From there, you will be able to access the city museum and the tower as well. The ticket office is located at the end of the courtyard: you can acquire a ticket to access the museum. The museum is full of paintings, sculptures, and frescoes of the renowned Senese school.