With its unique shell shape, Piazza del Campo, the main square of Siena, stands as one of most beautiful in Italy and the world. Renowed as the place where Palio di Siena is held twice a year, Piazza del Campo is a perfect example of cultural and architectural integrity, invaluable for humanity.
The first documented information about the square dates back to 1169, describing the arrangement of Il Campo, referring both to the current Piazza del Campo and to the near Piazza del Mercato (Market Square) as a singular area. Starting with 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 buildings with mullioned windows and forbidding the construction of terraces.
The history of the square is strongly intertwined with that of Palazzo Pubblico, began in 1297 and completed 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 with 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 square.
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 Palazzo Pubblico (also known as Palazzo Comunale), which scenographically closes the space of the square to the southeast. Other important buildings in Piazza del Campo are Palazzo Sansedoni, Palazzo Chigi-Zondadari, Cappella di Piazza, Loggia della Mercanzia, and Palazzo d’Elci.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest bus stop is Angolo Via Delle Terme, located about 90 meters away, in Via di Città. The bus stop can be reached with the bus Line 590.
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