Siena (Tuscany) is a town of 53.772 inhabitants, located 322 meters above sea level in the homonymous province, its territory covers an area of 118,70 sq km.
Siena is a common Italian capital of the province in Tuscany.
The city is universally known for its enormous historic, artistic, landscape and for its substantial unity of style medieval urban furnishing, as well as for the famous Palio of Siena.
For these merits, in 1995 its historic center has been honored by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
In the city the seat of the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472 and therefore the oldest bank in assets, and the longest in the world.
Siena is located in central Tuscany in the middle of a vast landscape of hills between the valleys of the rivers Arbia south, south-west Merse and Elsa north, between the Chianti hills to the north-east, to the west and the Hillock Crete Senesi to the south-east.
Siena was founded as a Roman colony at the time of the Emperor Augustus and took the name of Saena Iulia.
Within the historical center of Siena were found sites of Etruscan, which may suggest the founding of the city by the Etruscans.
The first known document in which it is cited Siena community dates back to 70 and bears the signature of Tacitus, in the fourth book of the Historiae, reports the following incident: Sen. Manlio Patruito reported to Rome that he had been beaten and ridiculed with a mock funeral during his official visit to Saena Iulia, a small military colony of Tuscia.
The Roman Senate decided to punish the main culprits and to strictly recall the Sienese to a greater respect for authority.
The High Middle Ages did not have documents that can illuminate around the cases of civilian life in Siena.
Is there any news about the establishment of the bishop and the diocese, especially the dispute between the Bishop of Siena and Arezzo, because the boundaries of the judicial area of each: matters in which the Lombard king Liutprand intervened, pronouncing judgment in favor of Arezzo's diocese.
But the Sienese were not satisfied and so in 853 when Italy passed from the Lombard domination in the frank, succeeded in obtaining the annulment of the judgment issued by King Liutprand.
It seems, therefore, that at the time of the Lombards, Siena was governed by a steward, the king's representative: Gastaldo who was later replaced by an imperial count after the coronation of Charlemagne.
The first count of which we have concrete news Winigi was the son of Rainier in 867.
After 900 reigned in Siena Emperor Louis III, whose reign did not last so long, since in 903 the chronicles tell of a return to power of the accounts under the new government of King Berengario.
Siena is in the tenth century at the center of important trade routes that led to Rome and, thanks to what became an important medieval city.
In the twelfth century, the city was equipped communal and consular begins to expand its territory and its first alliances.
This situation of both political and economic, leading Siena to fight for the northern Tuscany, with Florence.
From the first half of the twelfth century Siena prospered and became an important commercial center, keeping good relations with the state of the Church, the Sienese bankers were a reference to the authority of Rome, which turned to them for loans or financing .
At the end of the twelfth century Siena, supporting the Ghibelline cause (even if there were, the Sienese families of the Guelph party, in tune with Florence), he found himself again against the Guelphs of Florence: it is famous victory over the Tuscan Guelphs in the Battle of Montaperti of 1260, celebrated by Dante Alighieri.
But after a few years the Sienese were defeated in the battle of Colle Val d'Elsa, the 1269, which later led, in 1287, the rise of the Government of the Nine, part of Guelph.
Under this new government, Siena reached its maximum splendor, both economically and culturally.
After the plague of 1348, he began the slow decline of the Republic of Siena, who, however, did not preclude the road territorial expansion of Siena, that until the day of the fall of the Republic comprised a third of Tuscany.
The end of the Sienese Republic, perhaps the only Western state to implement a pure democracy for the people, took place on April 25 1555, when the city, after a siege of more than a year, had to surrender exhausted by hunger, to the empire of Charles V, backed by the Florentines, who gave it in fief the territory of the Republic of the Medici family, lords of Florence, to repay the expenses incurred during the war.
Once again the citizens of Siena were able to stand up to an emperor, that only thanks to their enormous resources could bend the fierce resistance of this small republic and its citizens.
After the fall of the Republic of Siena few led by the exiled Florentine Strozzi, however, unwilling to accept the fall of the Republic, took refuge in Montalcino, creating the Republic of Siena in Montalcino repaired, maintaining the alliance with France, which continued to exercise its power over the southern part of the territory of the Republic, creating significant problems for the troops of the Florentines.
It lived up to 31 May 1559 when he was betrayed by the French allies, that Siena had always claimed that concluding the peace of Cateau-Cambrésis with the Emperor Charles V ceded de facto Republic to the Florentines.
Traditions and folklore
The 2 16 July and August in Siena, Piazza del Campo, is held the traditional Palio, a bareback horse racing (bareback) between the different districts of Siena that monopolizes the attention of the city for several days; this is the fact that the stake is not only a historical event or the revival of an ancient medieval joust, but it is the expression of the ancient and rooted Sienese tradition.
The prize is far from a demonstration that we can pass off in "a few days", but is the result of careful and meticulous organization by the city districts, leading an active social and community life throughout the ' round.
There are in all districts 17 (Aquila, Caterpillar, Snail, Owl, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, Unicorn, Lupa, the Shell, Goose, Wave, Pantera, Selva, Tortoise, Tower and Ram), ten of which participate in the Palio, for each will run the race must 7 districts that have not taken part in the race last year and will be randomly selected three of the ten districts that already had a career year during the first quarters so that they can take part in the event are always ten o'clock .
The draws take place about a month before the prize (the prize draw for the Palio of August usually takes place the Sunday following the Palio of July).
The Palio attracts many tourists and is followed live by many television.
Palio is connected to a lively controversy by animal rights groups who believe the race extremely dangerous to the lives of horses.
Also due to this pressure of public opinion, in recent years the City has increased its efforts to ensure a high level of safety and veterinary support.
In Siena, however, the horse is held in high care and training throughout the year and especially during 96 hours of the Palio, since these are the only one capable of bringing the "rag" (recognition of victory) in the district: is the horse that represents the district through spennacchiera (the rosette with the colors of the district placed on the forehead) and not the jockey.
It is the horse that wins the Palio also "shaken" (ie without his jockey).
A Radicondoli there is also a pensioner for all the Palio horses that can no longer run due to accidents or seniority.
A final note to understand the veneration of the Sienese for this animal: will not forget the name of only one horse that has participated in the race and the most victorious dedicate graves where Contrada may render honors to these runners disappeared (eg Brandano the tomb, a mythical horse of the recent past of Siena).
The Italian text is taken from: Wikipedia