Siena – World Heritage Site - The Traveller


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Siena – World Heritage Site

Siena, a city in Tuscany, Italy is the capital of the province of Siena and the historic centre of Siena has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Siena is one of the most popular tourist attractions for traveler to Tuscany and is famous for its cuisine, museums, art, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race which is held twice each year.

This historical town of Siena Italy is located conveniently between Florence and Rome and is a home to a various historical landmarks as well as tourist attractions. One of the most amazing towns square is the Piazza del Campo, where the Siena Town Hall and Civic Tower are found with many great restaurants.

Visitors come to Siena, Italy from Rome or Florence at Siena’s central train station or one can take an intercity bus to reach this medieval city. The closest airport to Siena is the Amerigo Vespucci Airport in Florence while the Pisa’s Galileo Galilei Airport is also some distance away. Besides this, there are also two to three buses daily between Siena and Bologna Airport.

Reach Siena by Train from Pisa

One can also reach Siena by train from Pisa as well as Florence by changing at Empoli while the Siena railway station is at the bottom of a long hill outside the city walls where travelers with luggage can hire taxi or bus from the stop near the station.

Buses are also available from Florence as well as from Rome, Milan and from various other towns in Tuscany and beyond. Siena is linked by road to Florence by a superstrada, which is a form of toll free autostrada and the same to Florence is indicated on some road signs with the letters SI-FI, related to province abbreviations.

No automobile traffic is allowed within the city and several huge car parks are available immediately beyond the city walls. The car parks, La Fortezza and Il Campo are the nearest to the centre while free lots are located further on. Commercial traffic is only allowed during morning hours within the city.

An Intriguing Medieval City

Siena is an intriguing medieval city which was once a major military, trading and banking center. This walled city rivaled Florence in prestige and power and is a home to various beautiful cathedrals and churches. The Siena Cathedral is one of the examples of Italian Romanesque Gothic architecture and its main façade was completed in 1380.

 Its axis runs north south which is unusual for a cathedral and this was because it was intended originally to be the largest cathedral in the world with an east west nave and a north south transept. On completion of the transept and the building towards the east wall, they fell short of funds and the rest of the cathedral remained abandoned.

The famous Gothic octagonal pulpit by Nicola Pisano is inside which is supported on lions with the labyrinth inlaid on the flooring, traversed by penitents on their knees. There are also some preserved renaissance frescos by Domenico Ghirlandaio within the Sacristy and below the Duomo in the baptistery, is the baptismal font by Donatello, together with Lorenzo Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and other 15th century sculptors.

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