The history of the city of Siena through its monuments

The history of the city of Siena through its monuments

Among the palaces of Siena

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Siena is a city rich in history, which is also handed down thanks to the various monuments, especially palaces and churches, which adorn the Tuscan city.

The city is divided into seventeen districts within the walls, and each of these is full of buildings that evoke the long history of Siena.

Many of these palaces were built at the behest of rich families who lived in Siena and today some of them are home to museums or institutional headquarters, but they can all be visited.

Nine monuments of Siena not to be missed

Among the various monuments that you can visit in the city of Siena, these nine retrace the history of influential families who lived in the city, stories related to religion and saints like Saint Catherine of Siena and stories of pilgrimage.

  • Medici fortress

La Medici fortress it was built in 1561 by order of Cosimo I de 'Medici in the heart of Siena, where an old Spanish fortress once stood. The purpose of this sumptuous structure was to prevent the citizens of Siena from rebelling against Florentine control over the city.

This fortress, which stands in the highest part of the city, is surrounded by gardens, including the Lizza gardens. Today Medici fortress is a public park from which you can admire landscapes of Siena and the hills that surround it.

  • Piccolomini Palace

Piccolomini Palace it was built in the XNUMXth century, commissioned by Pope Pius II. The building shows a typical Renaissance architecture spread over three floors, also recalling the Florentine palaces of that period.

Some rooms of the Piccolomini Palace they are adorned with Neo-Renaissance frescoes that date back to the period in which the building was the seat of the Bank of Italy.

  • Salimbeni Palace

Salimbeni Palace it is located in the square of the same name and is a neo-Gothic style building developed on three floors. In the square where Palazzo Salimbeni stands there is the statue of Sallustio Bandini, an economist, who refers to the fact that the palace is the seat of the ancient bank of the Monti dei Paschi di Siena.

Inside Salimbeni Palace there is also a collection of works of art made by Sienese artists and linked to the city of Siena.

  • Buonsignori Palace

Buonsignori Palace it is the seat of the National Art Gallery, where various works of art by Sienese and Tuscan artists are kept. The palace was built in 1440 in a late Gothic style. Among the artists exhibited in the National Art Gallery you can find: Simone Martini, Matteo di Giovanni, Sano di Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

  • Basilica of San Domenico

Siena - Nannini Dolci and Caffè

The construction of this church began in 1226 by the Dominicans.

Saint Catherine of Siena spent most of her life within the walls of this Basilica, in fact the Caterinian codes are kept in the Basilica together with various relics.

La Basilica of San Domenico it went against damage during the earthquake of 1798 and was restored, only to be left to itself for a long time. 

It was restored in 1940 with a restoration that ended in 1962. Today the Basilica of San Domenico is an important center for pilgrims.

  • Hospital of Santa Maria Della Scala

THEHospital of Santa Maria Della Scala it is located in front of the Cathedral of Siena and was one of the first hospitals that not only dealt with treating the sick, but also served as a refuge for pilgrims and the poor.

The Hospital of Santa Maria Della Scala is now a museum where a series of frescoes traces the history of the building, as well as hosting various works by Sienese artists.

  • Tolomei Palace

The first time that Tolomei Palace was built for the wealthy banking family was in 1209. It was destroyed almost sixty years later during a dispute by the Ghibellines, since the Tolomei family was on the Guelph side.

The palace was rebuilt in 1270, after the Tolomei family made their return to Siena. To date, Tolomei Palace it is one of the most noble and elegant buildings in the Tuscan city.

  • Basilica of San Francesco

La Basilica of San Francesco it is located in the homonymous square and is among the three most important churches in Siena. The Basilica was built in the XNUMXth century in a romantic style and was later enlarged.

Within the Basilica of San Francesco the pyx with the Sacred Pentecost is preserved, on which there is the story of a miracle. 

  • Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi

La Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi it is located on the Valdimontone hill. Inside the Basilica there are both artistic and spiritual works that are mainly dedicated to Mary. 

Among these works you can admire: The Madonna del Bordone by Coppo di Marcovaldo, The Coronation of the Virgin by Bernardo Fungai e The Madonna of Mercy by Giovanni di Paolo.


After visiting these nine beautiful monuments, we can say that we know better the glorious history of a city like Siena.

Having the opportunity to visit these palaces and learn about their history allows you to explore the city of Siena in a different and more complete way.

To better savor the history of Siena, accompany your reading of the pills on Siena with one of ours coffee, maybe even munching one of ours very fine shortcrust biscuits.

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