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Porta Romana


Porta Romana or Porta nuova (New Gate) as it was once known, was part of the city wall’s extension at the beginning of fourteenth century, and is the biggest of Siena’s gates with a monumental external facade enriched with a magnificent inner-court. Works began in 1327 with the excavation of the foundations, whilst the first stone was laid the following year as confirmed by the inscription above the Balzana (name of the City’s coat of arms) on the left of the main arch. Two famous architects were called to realize the gate, Agostino di Giovanni and Agnolo di Ventura, and they finished work in 1329. The gate was modified over the centuries but a major restoration in the 1930’s partly returned it to its original look. Previously there was a fresco on the inner portal (the remains of which can now be found in the Basilica San Francesco) depicting the Coronation of the Virgin, started by Taddeo Bartolo, further retouched by Sassetta and completed by Sano di Pietro between 1459 and 1466. Immediately after Giovanni di Stefano carved two statues which were placed on the sides of the arch, depicting the wolf with the twins, symbol of Siena. The statues have recently been removed and are currently housed at the museum complex of Santa Maria della Scala.


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True and False Middle Ages

Siena is a medieval city, but not everything that looks of this era really is. Perfect three-light windows, well-preserved merlons, it is difficult, if we are not talking about the Town Hall, buildings that have these characteristics have not undergone some restoration, more or less generous. Even when this has happened, however, the harmony of the city is not affected because for centuries artists and architects based their work on respect for the glorious past of the city. The route starts from one of the symbolic places of the Sienese's attachment to their architectural identity over the centuries: Piazza Salimbeni, invented at the end of the nineteenth century by the architect Giuseppe Partini, but in forms that refer to the Middle Ages. In streets less traveled by tourism you will be able to discover completely original ancient glimpses such as the suggestive Castellare degli Ugurgieri with its silent meditation or the tower of the Church of San Giorgio, invisible to most, and which hides its "mystery" linked to the battle of Montaperti . An unusual corner will open to you if you want to enter the ancient alley of the Orefici, where you will breathe the air of a time that was in an unsuspected peace in the center. There will also be room to see examples of "modern" and ancient Middle Ages in comparison in the Vicolo di Tone (Casato), which overlooks one of the most shining examples of the Middle Ages and modernity so well proportioned as to present almost no distances: the Chigi Saracini palace , seat of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, which contains a lot of past and present history.


The historic center of Siena is crossed by the famous road that pilgrims walked in Sigerico's footsteps to reach Rome and visit the tomb of the apostle Peter, a journey that in itself represented an act of penance, symbolically and materially handed the pilgrim into the hands of God. Today the Via Francigena is an opportunity for a renewed relationship with nature and the territory, but also with the history, traditions, folklore of the people of the past and present. From the inner research the path of the Francigena represents for modern tourists and pilgrims a journey into the roots of Italian and European culture. While in many extra-urban stretches the Via Francigena had an irregular route, near Siena it assumed the appearance of an urban route, more comfortable and accessible for the pilgrim. The route starts from Porta Camollia, from here the pilgrims entered Siena to head south. Porta Camollia developed in medieval times thanks to the Via Francigena, in fact it was renamed by the historian Ernesto Sestan as "daughter of the road". Traveling along the Francigena inside the historic center, you have the opportunity to meet historic buildings and ancient churches, where pilgrims often stopped off in search of hospitality. Along the way you will meet the Church of San Pietro alla Magione, the Church of Santa Maria in Portico in Fontegiusta, the Church of Sant’Andrea Apostolo and the Church of Santa Maria delle Nevi. Traveling along the ancient Via dei Pellegrini, you arrive in Piazza del Duomo, where the splendid Cathedral is located in front of which one of the symbolic places of the Francigena of the Sienese stretch is located: the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. Ancient hospital, one of the first places in Europe, in the Middle Ages, intended to welcome pilgrims and help the poor. Now it is a large museum space, where the archaeological museum, various permanent and non-permanent exhibitions, restoration laboratories are collected.


An itinerary dedicated to the places with the most beautiful and surprising views of the city. Indeed, Siena enjoys breathtaking scenery. It starts from the Medici Fortress, also called Forte di Santa Barbara, was built by Cosimo dei Medici between 1563 and 1567, on a previous Spanish fortress destroyed by the Sienese in 1552. Going up along the walls we reach the bastion of San Domenico from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the medieval city and the fields that surround it. The Medici Fortress as well as being a place of peace surrounded by greenery has for years been the seat of the National Jazz Academy, which hosts international musicians every year. Not only from the Fortress but also from the internal streets of the historic center it is possible to admire panoramas of different beauty such as the one offered by via di Camporegio with a suggestive view over the Sienese roofs and the Duomo. Then along via della Galluzza you reach via di Diacceto where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Fontebranda dominated by the bulk of the Basilica of San Domenico. From via delle Sperandie it almost seems to detach itself from the city, turning its gaze towards the vast Sienese countryside. Going down via Mattioli you can take a break in the gardens of the Orto dei Tolomei from which you can appreciate the view over the heart of the city with the famous Torre del Mangia, symbol of Siena.

Sito Unesco

Siena, the so-called gothic dream, still represents the model of medieval city painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the famous fresco "Gli Effetti del Buongoverno” in the Civic Museum and because of this it was admitted, in 1995, in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The award was assigned because of the urban and architectural features of the historical center of Siena, its palaces, churches, monuments, urban spaces, which over the centuries have undergone an evolution that has managed to respect the original characteristics of the old times, between the twelfth and the fifteenth century, when the Republic of Siena influenced very strongly the art of all Europe.
Siena is a possible utopia - testimony to the creative genius, artistic and aesthetic ability, seamless integration with the surrounding landscape and wise government of the city through the centuries - and the city has set up a specific plan for maintaining the UNESCO site.
Please help us to keep it clean, and treat it with respect as though it were a huge open-air drawing room. Please don't sit on the ground to rest or to eat but look for the green areas (gardens and parks in the valleys between Siena's hills) or go to the covered loggia, designed for this purpose, in Piazza del Mercato (Tartarugone) just behind Piazza del Campo. All the citizens of Siena will be grateful to you, if you do this. Have a great visit.


Useful numbers

Medical Emergency 118
Carabinieri 112
State Police 113
Fire fighters 115
Police Headquarters / Prefecture 0577 201111
Taxi 0577 49222
Siena Parking lots 0577 228711

Tourist Reception

Santa Maria della Scala museum complex
Square Cathedral, 2 - 0577 280551