It is said to have been founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus, one of the two legendary founders of Rome, thus Siena’s emblem is she-wolf suckling the infants.
Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in Etruscan times ( 900 – 400 BC ) when it was inhabited by a tribe called Saina. The city lies on three hills and Piazza del Campo is its heart. This shell-shaped square is dominated by the Palazzo Pubblico with the tall Torre del Mangia; it still houses the city’s municipal offices and also the Civic Museum with frescoes by Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti and by Simone Martini. The popular Palio di Siena, a frantic horse race held twice a year, takes place in Piazza del Campo. Apart from the race, the Corteo Storico procession worth seeing: it is a splendid historical evocation in costume of the glorious Middle Ages, over 700 people wear the sumptuous costumes, faithfully reconstructing the 15th century ceremonial garb.
Not to be missed in Siena is the majestic marble Duomo whose construction started in the 12th century, probably on the site of an existing church. Dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, the cathedral is a magnificent example of Romanesque – Gothic architecture. Inside, the cathedral of Siena contains several masterpieces among which the floor is exceptional: “the most beautiful…largest and most magnificent…that ever was made” in Giorgio Vasari opinion.
Reachable in a 40-minute drive on the highway or a little bit longer drive on a scenic route, a half or full day tour of Siena is certainly a great experience for the guests of La Canonica di Cortine.