Siena was a powerful state in its heyday, the 13th and 14th centuries. Although it no longer rivals Florence as it once did, it is still a remarkably well-preserved, medieval city. All activity centers on the Piazza del Campo, which is a huge, semi-circular square. Twice a year, the square becomes a horse-racing park for the Palio, a winner-take-all competition between the local “contrada” (roughly, parishes). At other times of the year, the Piazza is simply the major gathering place for residents and tourists alike. Dominating the square is the Palazzo Pubblico, the Gothic Town Hall, which dates back to 1342.
Not far from the Piazza del Campo is the Duomo of Siena, a magnificent church with a striped marble exterior decorated with numerous statues and a black and white marbled interior which houses several major works of art by artists like Michelangelo, Bernini, and Donatello.
The maze of hilly, medieval streets gives Siena a charm which many old cities have lost.
It is, technically, a Tuscan Hill Town, but is larger than most and has a wealth of attractions..