Italy September 2014

Italy September 2014

Italy September 2014

Siena Wednesday of the Tuscany South walks was a "free" day in Siena, capital of its province, and until 1555 bitter rivals with Florence.  Siena has a political structure composed of 17 Contrade which are similar to wards - each with boundaries and coats of arms.

 

left  The old town, an UNESCO Heritage site, is centered on a large square called the Campo.   The tall clock tower rises high above the city hall.

 

left   Here is a picture of the city hall and the Campo.  Twice each summer 10 of the contrade compete in a frantic 3 minute horse race called the Palio with suitable intrigue, bribes and conspiracies preventing 'enemies' from winning and to increasing your chances.  The winner gets to flaunt their flag until the next race.

left   The latest winner?

 

right    The cathedral of Siena - "The Duomo" is described as Romanesque - Gothic.  The slide show below has shots of the interior showing the elaborate decorations.  The floor is a marvel of mosaics and the pulpit is world famous.

below   Siena was originally an Etruscan city.  The sarcophagus below reminds me of similar containers from the pre-Roman / Roman era in western Turkey.

This is part of a large Etruscan display in the Santa Maria della Scala museum

below   Santa Maria della Scala was until quite recently a hospital.  In early times hospitals gave 'hospitality' to travelers and those in need.  The fresco below shows a scene depicting many of the services provided.  Note the lower right hand corner for the artist's sense of humour.