With its unique shell shape, Piazza del Campo, the main square in Siena, stands as one of most beautiful in Italy and the world. Renowed as the place where twice a year the Palio di Siena is held, Piazza del Campo is a perfect example of cultural and architectural integrity, invaluable for humanity.
The first documented information about the square is from 1169, that speaks about the arrangement of the Campo, referring both to the current Piazza del Campo and to the near Piazza del Mercato (the Market Square) as a singular area. From 1193, the area was divided in two, and until 1270, the space was used for fairs and markets.
In 1262, the first measures to improve the layout of the square were taken, imposing among other things the obligation to build only mullioned windows and forbidding the construction of terraces.
The history of the square is strongly intertwined with that of the Palazzo Pubblico, started in 1297 and finished in 1310. At the same time, private palaces were built in the square, Torre dell Mangia was raised between 1325 and 1344, and the square was paved in fishbone-patterned red brick and divided by eight lines of travertine into nine sections.
Later, the government of Siena gradually issued laws in order to standardize facades, spaces and architectural fronts and to align the profile and the perimeter of the space.
In the early 15th century, Jacopo della Quercia decorated the old fountain Fonte Gaia, which in the 19th century was moved to its current place.
The shape of the square is hemicyclic, resembling a shell, with nine segments defined by white bands. Enclosed by the almost continuous curtain of buildings, there are eleven passages spread around, skilfully masked by the use of vaults.
The fulcrum of the entire square is the Palazzo Pubblico, which scenographically closes the space of the square.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest bus station is Angolo Via Delle Terme, at about 90 meters away from the square. The station can be reached with the bus 590. If you want to explore Siena on foot, use the map below.