Halls and Horses (Piazza del Campo, Siena)
Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 7, 2013
It feels strange to think of sunny Siena on one of the stormiest days we’ve had this winter. The Piazza del Campo (“Horse Square”) is Siena’s main central square. Its name comes from the twice-yearly horse race (Palio di Siena) held on the perimeter. The square is surrounded by palaces belonging to noble families of Sienna and dominated by the Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) and Torre del Mangia (bell tower or campanile).
On our second-last day in Italy we left Florence for a day trip via local bus through the beautiful Tuscan countryside. We ended up in Siena and San Gimignano (San Gimignano wasn’t on the original plan — when we were eating our Shabbat meal with the Florentine community, I overheard the Italian man next to me say to someone, “You must see San Gimignano”). Tuscany is as beautiful as the postcards — miles of rolling hills covered with vineyards and old farmhouses, punctuated by Fiat factories in the middle of nowhere.
Palazzo Pubblico (yes, I know the distortion is really bad because of the wide angle lens, but it was the only way I could get the Torre del Mangia into the frame in a relatively small square):
Close-up of loggia of Palazzo Pubblico. The marble loggia (Cappella di Piazza) was added in 1352 as a thanksgiving offering by survivors of the Black Death.
Even closer view of loggia:
Courtyard of Palazzo Pubblico (we didn’t have time to go into the building itself):
Fonte Gaia (“Fountain of Joy”), built in 1419:
Drain at lowest point of the piazza:
Wikipedia photo of horse race: