Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Siena > Blog > Siena’s Piazza del Campo Is One of Europe’s Greatest Medieval Squares

Siena’s Piazza del Campo Is One of Europe’s Greatest Medieval Squares

Piazza del Campo, or simply the Campo, is Siena’s main square. With its unique shell shape and architectural integrity, it’s considered one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares and has become the symbol of this Tuscan city. It is still the center of the city’s public and civic life. From the piazza, 11 narrow streets radiate into the city.

The space that would become the current square was originally a reclaimed land that allowed the outflow of rainwater. The core of the emerging city was higher up, in the area of Castelvecchio, and the future ‘Campo’ was a space for markets. The history of the square is strongly intertwined with the construction of the Palazzo Comunale, which overlooks it, and was built to house the residence of the podestà (chief magistrate) and the offices of the magistrates. The first document describing a new arrangement of the space in the Campo dates back to 1169, but it wasn’t until the beginning of the 14th century that the existing buildings began being restructured and expanded.

Piazza del Campo is also famous because it hosts the Palio di Siena twice a year, on 2 July and 16 August. This unique horse race sees the 17 historic districts that make up Siena fiercely compete. The race consists of three laps around the track that surrounds the square, paved with slabs of pietra serena, which is sprinkled with a layer of tufa dust to allow the horses to run.

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