Published: July 25th 2011July 9th 2011
Friday 24th June 2011
Today on to Siena where we make use of the camp site pool in the afternoon before venturing into the town in the cool of the evening where we wandered amongst the locals looking for a suitable venue for dinner.
The historic centre of Siena was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1995 being a typical example of a medieval town with its appearance having been aquired between the XII and XVI centuries. Its cathedral , begun in the mid- twelfth century , is considered an important and representative example of Gothic architecture in Italy.
The main facade, designed by Giovanni Pisano , was completed in 1380.
The magnificent square in Siena is the home to ‘il Palio’ the famous horse race held here twice a year in July and August since 1656. The race is keenly contested by riders representing 10 of the 17 contrade (districts) of the city each proudly displaying their emblem and colours. Unfortunately we are a week early for the July event however the square is already under preparation for the race with seating and the course barriers already being assembled. The riders ride without a saddle but
do have a whip, reins and the strength of their legs to keep them on horseback at each of the tight turns of the course. An estimated 33000 pack the square - hard to imagine as we sat for dinner on this warm summer evening at one of the restaurants that line it. Check out the ‘il Palio’ action YouTube its quite amazing.
There are more photos below