Results 1-6of 6 Reviews
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
January 30, 2011
Los Angeles, California
August 19, 2009
From journal City Squares Rendezvous
February 9, 2006
As we approach the Piazza del Campo, we are treated to the merest glimpse of its vastness through the archway at the end of the narrow street—a street that seems claustrophobic as we emerge from the darkness to the bright and airy Campo. Of course, this piazza is now famous for the "Palio Races," which take place on July 2nd and August 16th (we were too late for one and too early for the other!), and we could only imagine the buzz that erupts from this arena at that time of year. Apparently thousands of people are crammed into the piazza, and they’ll endure the intense heat for the sake of experiencing the 2 minutes of intense excitement as the 10 horses hurl themselves, almost chaotically, around the square. Perhaps we’ll make it one day!
The campo is encircled by majestically curved buildings, and there’s a plethora of restaurants and coffee shops where we were able to people-watch and take in the atmosphere of this historic town. Dominating the square is the bell tower, the Torre del Mangia. If you feel fit enough, try climbing the narrow winding staircase to experience breathtakingly beautiful views of Siena and the surrounding countryside.The Palazzo Pubblico, the public palace, dating back to 1250, is the focal point of the square and retains its original function as the municipal offices. Around it are some fascinating courtyards with great angles on the bell tower and the rest of the piazza. Just outside is the Cappella di Piazza commissioned in 1348 to "celebrate" the town’s survival following the Black Death. Amazingly, it took a full century to complete!
Make sure that you give sufficient time to take in the absolute splendour of Siena’s Cathedral. This was built in 1150, and it’s like a green-and-white zebra with horizontal stripes around the walls. Apparently there were earlier plans to enlarge the cathedral and make it the largest in the world. This, of course, never happened, but the building is still a most impressive sight (the best overall view is from outside of the city walls). Inside the Duomo there are impressive striped pillars, and the church is lined with the sculptured heads of past popes. The floor is particularly magnificent, being marble with fine inlaid designs. Some are covered for protection, but there are still plenty to see. A superb building.
From journal Touring Tuscany
los angeles, California
June 29, 2005
From journal Treat Yourself in Tuscany
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
February 26, 2004
The medieval centre of Siena is a jumble of narrow alleys that plunge steeply this way and that. The wider alleys, or main thoroughfares in Siennese terms, meander their way towards the Campo but by nothing approaching a direct route. This prevents you getting any sort of impression of the approaching piazza until, coming from the north; you stumble down the steep flights of steps and virtually fall into it. And it is nothing like any piazza I have ever seen. It is essentially fan shaped with the focus sitting at the lowest point of quite a steep slope, in front of the city’s Palazzo Public and mighty, 97 metre bell tower. The curve facing the palace is largely lined with cafes and restaurants, all doing a roaring trade.
The space is marvellous. The piazza remains largely bare. People sit and lay around absorbing the sunshine and passing the time of day. The only feature is the square marble Fonte Gaia, which, to me, looks misplaced with its renaissance froth sticking out like a sore thumb in its relatively simple surroundings.
During our day and night in Siena we kept returning to the Campo partly because the roads tend to wind towards there and partly because it is one of the few places where you can be certain where you are. Each time we lingered; the colours, the architecture, the cold beer all contributed.
The Campo has been the scene of many a grand civic event – it forms a natural amphitheatre and has a dramatic, theatrical quality about it – from bullfights to preaching and executions to elections. It is also the venue for the spectacular festival that is the Palio. Crazy parades and mediaeval costumes abound twice yearly in the run up to an incredibly fast horse race around the edge of the Campo. We were visiting at the wrong time of year (that would have taken far too much planning!) but we did witness the minor silliness of a contrada parade with stupid costumes and slightly tipsy bad behaviour the order of the day.
The Campo is simply magnificent.
From journal Intoxicated by (and in) Siena
New York, New York
November 2, 2000
From journal Enchanting Siena