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Piazza del Campo

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazza del Campo, 53100 Siena SI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Visit Piazza del Campo right before sunset to catch the beautiful play of colors on the historic buildings; local photographers swear by this timing for the best shots. Also, step into one of the less conspicuous cafes around the Campo for a more authentic and less touristy experience, the locals love 'Caffè Fiorenza' for a mid-afternoon espresso."

What is Piazza del Campo?

Piazza del Campo is the principal public space of the historic center of Siena, Tuscany, and is one of Europe's greatest medieval squares. Known locally simply as "Il Campo," this shell-shaped piazza has been the heart of Siena since the 12th century and is famed worldwide for its beauty and architectural integrity. It's also home to the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, as well as the famed biannual horse race, Il Palio di Siena, which captivates spectators from across the globe. But for those of us who spend our evenings watching the sun dip below the gothic skyline from the comfort of a café in the piazza, Il Campo is more than a tourist hub—it's a stage where daily life unfolds in a symphony of historic charm.

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History of Piazza del Campo

The history of Piazza del Campo is deeply interwoven with the rise of Siena as a major center of commerce and banking in the Middle Ages. Originally a marketplace, it was transformed into a civic space in the 13th century. The uniquely fan-shaped square was constructed at the intersection of the three main hills on which the city is built, and it is divided into nine sections, symbolizing the power of The Council of Nine, a governing body during one of Siena's most prosperous periods. The piazza has witnessed countless historical events and has been a place of celebration, execution, and public announcements. One can almost hear the echoes of merchants, pilgrims, and powerful politicians who have traversed its grounds over the centuries.

Why is Piazza del Campo Important?

Piazza del Campo isn't just important for its aesthetic appeal; it's a capsule of social, political, and cultural history. The square's design with its radiating lines of travertine paving, point towards the Palazzo Pubblico, signaling the importance of civic participation and the alignment of the secular and the spiritual in the life of Siena's citizens. Hosting the Palio di Siena since the 17th century, the piazza metamorphoses into a racetrack, bringing together the community through a passionate display of local rivalry and pride. And it's not just the grand events; daily, residents and visitors sit on its sloping pavement to enjoy the simple pleasure of a moment’s relaxation or the delights of an outdoor café. In a sense, Il Campo teaches us every day about the power of public spaces in shaping the cultural and social fabric of a city.

Things to Do & See at Piazza del Campo

There's much to experience at Piazza del Campo. Marvel at the stunning architecture of Palazzo Pubblico, the Gothic town hall, with its graceful campanile, the Torre del Mangia. Should you be willing to climb the 400 steps to the top, the views of Siena and the Tuscan countryside are simply breathtaking. Art enthusiasts must visit the Museo Civico inside the palazzo, which houses some of the finest frescoes of Sienese artistry. Time your visit to coincide with the Palio di Siena (held on July 2nd and August 16th) if you can—there’s nothing quite like witnessing this historic horse race firsthand. For those who seek a quieter experience, the beauty of the Campo is just as profound in the off-season, allowing a leisurely pace to observe the details carved into the surrounding facades or to soak up the atmosphere over a glass of Chianti as dusk falls.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the historical significance of Piazza del Campo in Siena?

Piazza del Campo is one of Europe's greatest medieval squares and the principal public space of Siena, Tuscany. It is renowned for its architectural integrity and beauty, as well as being the site of the famous Palio horse race. The square is a social and cultural hub, lined with beautiful buildings like the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall) and the Torre del Mangia.

What events can be witnessed at Piazza del Campo?

The most famous event at Piazza del Campo is the Palio di Siena, a traditional medieval horse race held twice a year on July 2 and August 16. The square also hosts various festivals, markets, and concerts throughout the year.

Can visitors access the Torre del Mangia and what can they expect?

Yes, visitors can climb the Torre del Mangia, which is the third tallest tower in Italy. From the top, one can enjoy panoramic views of Siena and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. The climb involves a certain number of steps and is usually timed to control the flow of visitors.

Are there guided tours available for Piazza del Campo?

Yes, guided tours are available for Piazza del Campo, which provide insights into the history and architecture of the square and its surrounding buildings. These tours often include visits to the Palazzo Pubblico and its museum, which houses important works of art.

What are the dining or refreshment options around Piazza del Campo?

Around Piazza del Campo, there are numerous dining options, including cafes, trattorias, and restaurants where visitors can enjoy traditional Tuscan cuisine and wines. The square's perimeter is lined with establishments that offer outdoor seating with views of the historic square.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazza del Campo, 53100 Siena SI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps