The hunt for Siena’s treasures never ends
Not just the Duomo: the monuments of Siena
Of course, when talking about the famous places to visit while in Siena, the first that come to mind are certainly the Duomo in Gothic-Romanesque style, and the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo with the Palazzo Pubblico, the Torre del Mangia and the Fonte Gaia, but the extraordinary wealth of cultural heritage of the charming Tuscan city does not end there. There are, in fact, many other monuments, perhaps less known, but equally worth a visit during a stay in Siena, in order to have a more complete overview of the history and culture of this ancient city, a true expression of beauty and art .
Palaces, banks and fortresses
Siena is home of the oldest bank still in business: the Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472. Among the places connected to this historic institution, the most impressive is undoubtedly its main office of Palazzo Salimbeni: located in the square by the same name and typical during the day, but even more impressive in the evening thanks to its special lighting. Built in the fourteenth century, the palace was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in the late nineteenth century by Giuseppe Partini, together with the other two buildings overlooking the square, Palazzo Spannocchi and Palazzo Tantucci. Some parts of Palazzo Salimbeni can be visited every day, while the Art Gallery of the Bank is accessible only on special dates. In the district of San Prospero, just a short distance from the town center, it’s possible to see a trace of the power of the Medici family in the territory of Sienae: the sixteenth-century Fortezza Medicea built by Cosimo I, nowadays a meeting place thanks to its events and exhibitions.
Discovering the religious side of Siena
Among the many monuments of Siena, there are three of great religious importance. To the east of the town center, it’s possible to find the complex of the Basilica di San Francesco: its rather “”modest”” look compared to the city’s tradition, especially outside, is not the main reason that attracts tourists and pilgrims here. They are attracted mainly of so-called Particles, 351 consecrated Holy Wafers from the eighteenth century that seem to not be subject to deterioration. Siena also includes the Sanctuary of Santa Caterina, located on the Costa di Sant’Antonio, in the district of Fontebranda with the fountain loved by the Saint and mentioned by Dante in the Inferno. The entire structure is built along the Portico of the Portico dei Comuni d’Italia (so named for the symbolic contribution that each municipality gave for its construction), the seventeenth-century Church of the Crucifix and the three chapels of the Cucina, the Camera and the Santa Caterina in Fontebranda. From Piazza del Campo it’s easy to reach the Sanctuary: just go along via Fontebranda and turn into the vicolo del Tiratoio. Instead, visitors who wish to know more about the Jewish community of Siena can go to the late-eighteenth-century Synagogue of vicolo delle Scotte, a small street between via Salicotto and via Porrione, both easily reachable from Piazza del Campo. he synagogue is a building in neo-classical style from the austere facade, but on the inside is beautifully decorated and full of light, with large windows, fine marble and chandeliers; in front, in perfect Sienese tradition, it’s possible to see the fountain of the ghetto. The Synagogue is open every day, except during services. To easily visit these and other monuments, all you have to do is stay in a hotel in a strategic position, with convenient access to the center and the other points of interest.