Siena’s famous Piazza del Campo has been the beating heart of the city since the 12th century. In the lower part, the elegantly sloping brick-paved square is dominated by the late 13th century Palazzo Comunale (or Public Palace) with its 102m high Torre del Mangia and in the upper part by the 14th century Fonte Gaia (or Happy Fountain).
However, for all its amazing architecture, the square is perhaps most famous for staging the Palio – a horse race held twice a year contested by 10 of Siena’s 17 districts. The race involves bareback riders in medieval costume charging three times around the perimeter of the square in an attempt to win the coveted palio or silk banner.
© Mark Simms Photography (2015)