In Siena there is a very beautiful Duomo Cathedral and Piazza del Campo. But perhaps the historical center of Siena, which came to us unchanged since 13-14 centuries, is of greater interest for tourists. When strolling along the medieval streets of Siena, you understand what the Italian city looked like in the early Middle Ages.
The area of the historical center of Siena is 6 square kilometers. It is divided into 17 contrade (districts), each of which is named after an animal or symbol and has its own flag and coat of arms. It is the representatives of these contrade that race on horseback in the Palio di Siena, run twice each year in Piazza del Campo.
Most Italian cities, in particular Florence, with which Siena competed for a long time and even quarreled in 13-14 centuries, were later significantly rebuilt, their streets were widened for cars. However, Siena fully retained its appearance of 13-14 centuries, and this is not the work of restorers, but a completely preserved original.
This is related to the plague epidemic, which killed almost the entire population of the city in 1348. After that the influence of Siena began to decrease and in 1555 it finally came under the rule of Florence. The city development and the construction of new houses slowed down significantly due to these events, which kept the medieval city intact.
The historical center, the layout of its streets, was formed in 13 century, when the central square, Piazza del Campo, was developed. 8 streets begin from it, with the width of some streets not exceeding 3 meters. To have a tour of these streets you should reserve at least half a day. During this tour you should certainly visit the Duomo Cathedral and the Santa Maria della Scala museum (former hospital), but the streets themselves are of least the same historical value.
If you want to admire the beauty of the medieval quarters of Siena, you can do this from one of two viewing points. One of them is the Torre del Mangia and the other is near the Duomo Cathedral. You can have wonderful views of the Old Town of Siena from both of them.