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A step back to medieval Tuscany, Siena is likely Italy's loveliest medieval city. The city sits over three hills with its heart the huge piazza del Campo, where the Roman forum used to be. Rebuilt during the rule of the Council of Nine, a quasi-democratic group from 1287 to 1355, the nine sections of the fan-like brick pavement of the piazza represent the council and symbolizes the Madonna's cloak which shelters Siena. The Campo is dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower, Torre del Mangia. Along with the Duomo of Siena, the Palazzo Pubblico was built during the same period of rule by the Council of Nine. Siena is also known worldwide for the famous Palio, a horse race run around the piazza del Campo two times every summer. Movie audiences worldwide can see Siena in the movies, Quantum of Solace and Letters to Juliet.
Surrounded by olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti, the city is drawn together by winding alleyways and steep steps. It is also home to one of the oldest Universities in Europe, which ensures a vibrant Italian student atmosphere throughout the academic year. In addition to the bustling daily life of the streets and squares of the city, Siena offers many cultural events, concerts, cinema, theatre and a wide range of sporting activities.
Few geographical areas in the world can boast of the variety of environment that surrounds Siena. To the north, we have the richness of the Chianti landscape, woven with vines and olive-trees throughout the hills. Here also are beautiful towns like San Gimignano and Monteriggioni with old walls, winding streets and incredible views. South of Siena, the Arbia valley leads to the hill-top town of Montalcino. And the area La Crete stretches out, amazing visitors with its harsh rock formations and unique landscape. Westwards we head towards the coast, to captivitating coastline towns like Castiglione della Pescaia, and nature reserves like the area called Maremma. With such natural beauty within easy reach by car or public transport, Siena is a good place to base yourself for a Tuscan experience. The Chianti area, between Florence and Siena, is one of the most beautiful countrysides in Italy.