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Il Campo – the loveliest square in Tuscany?

  • Il Campo – the loveliest square in Tuscany?

    All roads lead to Il Campo, the beguiling, shell-like central square, shaped like an amphitheatre. Every year, the square celebrates the Palio horse race, the symbol of the Sienese attachment to their city. The Palio has raced through war, famine and plague. The locals liken the Campo to the protective cloak of the Virgin, who, with St Catherine of Siena, is the city’s patron saint. Sit at a terraced café on the sloping side of the square and spot the division of the paved surface into nine segments, recording the wise Council of Nine who governed Siena from the mid-13th century to the early 14th. This period of prosperity saw the creation of most of the main monuments. Look out for the Renaissance fountain that crowns the square. The marble Fonte Gaia (Fountain of Joy) contains copies of sculptures by Jacopo della Quercia, with the originals in Santa Maria della Scala.

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