Siena is said to have been founded by Senius, son of Remus, one of the two legendary founders of Rome thus Siena’s emblem is the she-wolf who suckled Remus and Romulus – you’ll find many statues throughout the city. The city sits over three hills with its heart in the huge piazza del Campo, where the Roman forum used to be. Rebuilt during the rule of the Council of Nine, a quasi-democratic group from 1287 to 1355, the nine sections of the fan-like brick pavement of the piazza represent the council and symbolizes the Madonna’s cloak which shelters Siena.
Surrounded by olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti, Siena is one of the most beautiful cities of Tuscany. Set on three hills, the city is drawn together by winding alleyways and steep steps, whilst the Piazza del Campo stands at its heart, and the Duomo and St Maria della Scala serve as additional cultural landmarks. Famed for the “Palio”, the annual historic horse-races that take place on 2 July and 16 August, it is also home to one of the oldest Universities in Europe, which ensures a vibrant Italian student atmosphere throughout the academic year. In addition to the bustling daily life of the streets and squares of the city, Siena offers many cultural events, concerts, cinema, theatre and a wide range of sporting activities.
Siena was originally divided into areas, called “Terzi” that means Thirds; the first one, called “Terzo di Città” was the earliest inhabited area of the city.
Few geographical areas in the world can boast of the variety of environment that surrounds Siena. To the north, we have the richness of the Chianti landscape, woven with vines and olive-trees throughout the hills. Here also are beautiful towns like San Gimignano and Monteriggioni with old walls, winding streets and incredible views. South of Siena, the Arbia valley leads to the hill-top town of Montalcino, home to the famous Brunello wine. And the area of La Crete stretches out, amazing visitors with its harsh rock formations and unique landscape. Westwards we head towards the coast, to captivating coastline towns like Castiglione della Pescaia, and nature reserves like the area called Maremma. With such natural beauty within easy reach by car or public transport, Siena is a good place to base yourself for a Tuscan experience. The Chianti area, between Florence and Siena, is one of the most beautiful countrysides in Italy and a famous wine production area.