Siena

We leave Pienza with memories of the beautiful countryside:

Siena is a medieval town in Umbria located with tightly compacted streets much like Assisi. It was a rival with Florence for political and spiritual dominance in the pre-renaissance period.

The people of Siena built these walls for protection from invasion from Florence and other city states around the year 1500:

The area inside these walls is now used as a public park.

The streets are very narrow which has the advantage of being hard to invade.

There are 17 neighborhoods in Siena each marked with its own animal crest:

This street light marks the goose neighborhood.

These plaques mark the division between 2 neighborhoods.

A gate in the rhino neighborhood.

The dominant church in Siena is the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary.

Photos and video of the interior of the cathedral

Busts of all the Popes up until the time of construction are displayed on the upper walls.

The people of Siena wanted to show the people of Florence that they were spiritually superior to them so they started construction of a larger church next to the Cathedral. They got the end wall and side pillars done and then the ground started sinking, the Black Death hit in 1348 and they ran out of money so they discontinued construction.

You can still walk up to the top and see the view. Note how worn the steps are after 700 years of foot traffic.

This is the Campo and Palazzo Pubblico which is famous for its annual horse race in July and August.

Next: The Pilgrim’s Path

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