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Siena

Siena

A city of Tuscany in northern Italy that became an important rival of Florence during the Renaissance. Founded by the ancient Etruscans, Siena came under the control of the Lombards after the fall of the Roman Empire in the middle of the fifth century. The city won its independence in the twelfth century, and gradually expanded the surrounding territory that came under its control. Early in its history as a self-governing commune Siena was an important center of support for the Ghibelline faction that supported the authority of the Holy Roman Emperor in Italy. In 1260 the city defeated a force of Florentines at the Battle of Montaperti, which remains a rallying cry for modern Sienese in their sporting rivalries with the larger city of Florence. In 1270 the city was conquered by the king of Naples, Charles I. Siena joined an alliance of Guelph cities that supported the Papacy against the emperor, while growing wealthy as a center of banking and trade. The aristocratic Petrucci family ruled the city late in the fifteenth century; after this dynasty was overthrown in 1523 the wealthy city was fought over by the Spanish, French, and the Habsburg dynasty. In 1554 Cosimo de' Medici rallied an army and laid siege to the city, which was then under the control of a branch of the Strozzi dynasty. The Florentines defeated the Sienese at the Battle of Marciano in 1554. In 1555, it was invaded by Emperor Charles V, who passed control of the city to Cosimo de' Medici as Duke of Tuscany two years later.

Siena was an important center of painting, sculpture, and architecture, and has several notable works dating from the early Italian Renaissance. The Sienese School of painting flourished through the fourteenth century, with its leading artists Simone Martini, Guido of Siena, and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. On its oval main square, the Piazza del Campo, was built the Palazzo Pubblico, an imposing public building that contains a famous Lorenzetti fresco, Allegory of Good Government. The main square also became the site of several medieval palaces and mansions and the tall Torre del Mangia. The Fonte Gaia, an elaborate fountain, was designed for the square by Jacopo della Quercia. The cathedral of Siena was raised over a period of three centuries, and remains one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture in Italy. The neighboring Biblioteca Piccolomini was decorated with fresco paintings by Pinturicchio. The Campo remains the scene of a famous horse race, known as the Palio, that echoes festive contests of skill and strength that were common in the medieval era (although the Palio itself originated in the middleseventeenth century).

See Also: Florence

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Siena

Siena (syĕ´nä), city (1991 pop. 56,956), capital of Siena prov., Tuscany, central Italy. Rich in art treasures and historic architecture, it is one of the most popular tourist centers in Italy. The city is also noted for its wine and for its marble, a rich orange with purple and black veinings. Light manufacturing products include foods, pharmaceuticals, and building materials; banking also is important.

According to tradition, Siena was founded at the beginning of Roman times by Senus, the son of Remus (see Romulus). It became a free commune in the 12th cent. and, gradually extending its territory, developed into a wealthy republic. The city was characterized by continuous internal strife between popular and aristocratic factions. Despite frequent wars, particularly with Florence, Siena maintained its independence. After the rule of the Petrucci family (1487–1523), the Spanish and French struggled for control of the city, which fell after a siege (1554–55) to Emperor Charles V. Shortly thereafter it passed to Cosimo I de' Medici, duke of Tuscany.

The local interpretation of the Gothic style produced fine works of architecture and sculpture, but the city's artistic fame is due mainly to the paintings of the Sienese school (13th–14th cent.), best represented in the works of Guido of Siena, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini, and the two Lorenzetti. On the fan-shaped main square, the Piazza del Campo, are the imposing Gothic Palazzo Pubblico (1297–1310), containing works by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Martini, and Guido of Siena; the slender Mangia tower (334 ft/102 m high); a 14th-century chapel; the Fonte Gaia (a copy of the 15th-century sculptured fountain by Jacopo della Quercia); and several medieval palaces. The Corsa del Palio, a horse race first run in 1656, is the centerpiece of a festival held in the Piazza del Campo twice each summer. The city's cathedral (11th–14th cent.), a splendid example of Italian Gothic, has an elaborate striped facade of polychrome marble (mostly by Giovanni Pisano) and a pulpit (1265–68) by Nicolò Pisano. The adjoining Piccolomini library (1495) is adorned with ten famous frescoes by Pinturicchio (1509). Also of note in Siena are the Baptistery of San Giovanni, with a 15th-century font by Jacopo della Quercia; the rich art gallery (Pinacoteca); the Gothic St. Dominic's Church, with frescoes by Il Sodoma; and Piccolomini palace. The city has a university (founded in the 13th cent.) and an academy of music.

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Siena

Siena Capital of Siena province, Tuscany, central Italy. It is one of Italy's foremost tourist attractions. The town lends its name to the yellow-brown pigment sienna, present in the region's soil, and the area is famous for its orange marble. Founded by the Etruscans, Siena became a commune in the 12th century. During the 13th century, it rapidly expanded to rival Florence, and was the centre of the Ghibelline faction. In the mid-16th century, it fell under the control of the Medici. In art history, it is especially famed for its Sienese School of painting (13th–14th centuries). Pop. (2001) 54,366.

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Siena

Siena a city in west central Italy, in Tuscany, which in the 13th and 14th centuries was the centre of a flourishing school of art. Its central square is the venue for the noted Palio horse race.

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Siena

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