This page is not about the form of limonite clay called sienna.
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy, located at with an elevation of 322 m (1056 ft).
Siena was an Etruscan settlement and a small Roman town, the seat of a Christian bishop by the 5th century, but its importance began in the early 12th century, when a self-governing commune replaced the earlier aristocratic government. The consuls who governed the republic slowly became more inclusive of the poblani, or common people, and the Commune increased its territory as the surrounding feudal nobles in their fortified castles submitted to the urban power. Siena's republic, struggling internally between nobles and the popular party, usually worked in political opposition to its great rival, Florence, and was in the 13th century predominantly Ghibelline in opposition to Florence's Guelph position (the backdrop for Dante's Commedia)
Siena's university, founded in 1203 and famed for its faculties of law and medicine, is still among the most important Italian universities. Siena rivalled Florence in the arts through the 13th and 14th centuries: the important late medieval painter Duccio (1253–1319) was a Senese but worked across the peninsula, and the mural of "Good Government" by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the Palazzo Pubblico, or town hall, is a magnificent example of late-Medieval/early Renaissance art as well as a representation of the utopia of urban society as conceived during that period. Siena was devastated by the Black Plague of 1348 and never recovered its earlier glory, losing out to Florence in inter-urban rivalry. Siena retained its independence in Tuscany until 1557.
The picturesque city remains an important cultural centre, specially for humanist disciplines.
Siena's cathedral, the Duomo, begun in the 12th century, is one of the great examples of Italian gothic architecture. Its main facade was completed in 1380. Its campanile and baptistry make a fine group. Inside is the famous Gothic octagonal pulpit by Nicola Pisano (1266–1268) supported on lions, and the labyrinth inlaid in the flooring, traversed by penitents on their knees. Beneath the Duomo, in the baptistry is the baptismala marvellous font with bas-reliefs by Donatello, Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and other 15th-century sculptors. The Museum of the Opera del Duomo contains Duccio's famous Madonna (1308–1311).
The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the town square, which houses the Palazzo Pubblico, and the Torre del Mangia is another architectural treasure and is famous for hosting the Palio.
According to legend, Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, who was in turn the brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. Statues and other artwork depicting a she-wolf suckling the young twins Romulus and Remus can be seen all over the city of Siena.
Siena is also the home of Siena Jazz School, which hosts the summer Jazz Concert.
View looking towards the Duomo
The Palio delle contrade is a horse race held twice each year, in which the horse and rider represent one of the seventeen contrade, city wards. See Palio di Siena for more information.