The hilltop town of Siena is one of the most beautiful rural villages in Tuscany, Italy. In this view, the Siena Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta), commonly known as the Duomo, crowns the hilltop. The town is a true wonder of Medieval brick architecture, the highlight of which is Campo Square (Piazza del Campo). Mangia Tower dominates the Campo, soaring some 102 meters, or approximately 335 feet. It was built between 1338 and 1348, and designed to be the exact same height as the Cathedral, signifying equality of power between state and church. Today it is still the second highest secular tower in Italy.
Though the hilltop town of Siena is a popular Tuscan destination any time of the year, the largest crowds flock to the town during the annual horse race known as the Palio. The race is held the center of the Campo, which is covered in sand for the event. People arrive in the wee hours of the morning and stand for hours to claim a free space in the center of the oval square, from where they have an up-front view of the race. Fortunately, my visit avoided the worst of the crowds. It coincided with a stay at Montestigliano, a luxury Tuscan farmhouse that welcomes visitors. My hosts arranged an afternoon visit to Siena during my trip, which was a perfect day outing from the working farm. Afterward, I happily returned to my palazzo, Casa Luisa, to watch the sun set over the lush green hills.
Author’s note: I was a guest of Montestigliano Farm Holidays during my stay in Tuscany. However, the receipt and acceptance of complimentary items or services will never influence the content, topics, or posts in this blog. I write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.