Piazza del Campo
Piazza del Campo
There are a ridiculous amount of impressive piazza’s across Italy, including the iconic Piazza della Signora in Florence or the expansive Piazza Navona in Rome. But in Siena you’ll find something very unique at Piazza del Campo, an angled medieval square in the historic center.
I haven’t yet found out exactly why the piazza is this concave half moon shape but it creates a sort of arena where you can relax after a long day of sightseeing and admire the Torre del Mangia. I chose to relax here one particularly hot afternoon after a visit to the Duomo with an delicious gelato from Grom. My summer picks have to be a small scoop of yogurt complemented by grapefruit granita. Seriously the best combo where you’re sweating under the Italian sun.
While I was walking around town I also saw some incredible photographs of a horse race that happens in the square. Twice a year the neighboring towns in Tuscany enlist their best riders to participate in Il Palio. The tradition has been kept for over 700 years and the winner brings great pride to the town.
I wish I could’ve experienced the race myself just to be part of the crowd. Thousands of spectators pack into the center of the piazza to watch the horses are they make their way around the curves. While the race only lasts about 90 seconds, they are an intense 90 seconds, with the crowd cheering for their favorites riders and towns. Sometimes riders even fall off their horses when turning the sharp corners of the piazza. If you’re in Tuscany around the time of the Palio, I seriously suggest you try and check it out… and let me know how it goes!