Siena has always had a relationship of fierce rivalry with Florence. Both cities are stunning, but the proud character and the traditionalist mentality of the inhabitants of Siena have ensured that theirs is one of the best-preserved cities in Tuscany.
SIENA AND SAN GIMIGNANO TOUR
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Enclosed by walls whose doors are all still intact, it is laid out on a medieval plan, consisting of small streets, alleyways, and little squares that you can stroll through to reach the impressive, vast Piazza del Campo. This is the beautiful square where the famous horse race known as the Palio of Siena takes place, in which the various districts (contrade) that divide the city compete in a race with no holds barred.
Siena has countless wonders within its walls, including the superb Duomo (cathedral), the imposing Palazzo Pubblico, the dizzying Torre del Mangia, the Palazzo delle Papesse, the Loggia della Mercanzia and the Basilica of San Domenico, which houses the relics of the patron saint of the city: Santa Catherine of Siena.
Our route continues on to nearby San Gimignano, an ancient village famous worldwide for its fourteen imposing medieval towers that have survived intact to this day. San Gimignano was built thanks to the wealth produced by important noble families and merchants who were favoured by the trade generated by the Via Francigena: an important network of ancient roads that connected Italy to the rest of Europe.
The citizens of San Gimignano have witnessed the city flourish and undergo steady development, only halted in certain critical periods of conflict and epidemics. The climax of this development was reached towards the end of the past millennium, when the city became an international tourist magnet.
Guests can choose to enjoy a homemade lunch on a local farm, which produces fine organic Vernaccia white wines (Vernaccia was the first wine to be given D.O.C. status in Tuscany). Or if you prefer, Siena offers a wide range of well-known restaurants, recommended by the most authoritative restaurant guides/guide books such as Slow Food, Michelin, Gambero Rosso, Lonely Planet and Rick Steves.
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