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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 RomulusRomulus
, in Roman legend, founder of Rome. When Amulius usurped the throne of his brother Numitor, king of Alba Longa, he forced Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, to become a vestal virgin so that she would bear no children.
..... Click the link for more information. ). 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 FlorenceFlorence
, Ital. Firenze, city (1991 pop. 403,294), capital of Tuscany and of Firenze prov., central Italy, on the Arno River, at the foot of the Apennines. Florence, the jewel of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the world's great historic cities.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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 SienaGuido of Siena
, fl. 13th cent., Italian painter. All that is known of him is an inscription on a large and almost completely repainted Virgin and Child Enthroned,
..... Click the link for more information. , Duccio di BuoninsegnaDuccio di Buoninsegna
, fl. 1278–1319, early Italian artist, first great painter of Siena. Infusing new life into the stylized Byzantine tradition, he initiated a style intrinsic to the development of the Sienese school—the expressive use of outline.
..... Click the link for more information. , Simone MartiniMartini, Simone
, or Simone di Martino
, c.1283–1344, major Sienese painter. His art is admired for its Gothic spirituality combined with a vibrancy and a great elegance of line.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the two LorenzettiLorenzetti
, two brothers who were major Sienese painters. Pietro Lorenzetti, c.1280–c.1348, was first influenced by Duccio di Buoninsegna and Giovanni Pisano.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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.
a city in Tuscany, central Italy; capital of Siena Province. Population, 65,600 (1971). Siena has food, garment, woodworking, electrical-engineering, and chemical industries. Building stone is worked in the city, and there are marble quarries nearby. Siena is a popular tourist site and a museum city.
Siena was founded by the Romans in the first century B.C.. In the eighth century A.D. it became the see of a bishop. In the 12th century it became a commune, a Ghibelline stronghold in central Italy constantly at war with Florence. In the 13th and 14th centuries Siena was one of Europe’s largest banking and handicraft centers; it was particularly well known for its cloth production. A university was founded in the city in the 13th century. A factory was built in Siena in the following century. In 1371 a large uprising took place in Siena, representing one of the earliest protests of the preproletariat in Italy. From 1339 to 1404, Siena was ruled by the Milanese Visconti dukes, and from 1531 to 1552 and from 1555 to 1557 it was under Spanish domination. In 1557, Siena became part of the Duchy of Florence, and in 1860 the city was made part of the Kingdom of Sardinia (Kingdom of Italy since 1861).
Old Siena has preserved its medieval appearance. Architectural monuments, most of which are in the Gothic style, include the cathedral (1284–1376, architect Giovanni Pisano and others; pulpit, 1265–68, marble, sculptor Nicola Pisano and others), the church of San Domenico (1293–1391), the church of San Francesco (1326–1475), the Palazzo Tolomei (1205), the Palazzo Pubblico (1297–1310, completed 17th century; frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini, and others), and the Loggia del Papa (1460, architects Antonio Federighi and Francesco di Giorgio).
Siena is the site of an archaeological museum, the Pinacoteca Nazionale (Sienese paintings from the 12th to 16th centuries), and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (the cathedral museum). The city is a tourist site.