Posts tagged ‘Urban’

Piazza del Campo

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)

Rainy Rooftops of Siena

The final stop on our mini tour of Tuscany was the beautiful medieval city of Siena…..this was the place on the itinerary that I most wanted to visit. Although the city itself lived up to my expectations, the weather sadly did not….as you can no doubt gather from the following shot:

Umbrellas, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

By way of introduction to Siena, below are three shots looking out across the rooftops. Shots one and three are very similar views (I couldn’t decide between the two so I’ve posted both) taken from the top of the cathedral dome looking out towards the famous Torre del Mangia towering above the equally famous Piazza del Campo. The second shot is taken from the Panorama del Facciatone looking back towards the magnificent Duomo. As you would expect from me by now, I will of course be exploring these sites in more detail in future posts:

Rooftops, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Rooftops, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Rooftops, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Piazza dei Miracoli

Although Pisa (apologies if you’re still “guessing” the location from my last post but one…;0)…) is most famous for its “Leaning Tower”, that somewhat ignores the other, and arguably more impressive, medieval monuments that clamour for attention in the Piazza dei Miracoli where the tower stands. Also known as the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) or Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) this gigantic open space in the northwest of Pisa is home to four quite magnificent architectural treasures in the Romanesque style. 

The shot below just about shows all four monuments in question – most prominent is the Baptistry, behind that is the Duomo (Cathedral) and behind that the Campanile (or leaning bell tower) itself. The short section of wall that you can just see in the lower left corner (and runs behind the Baptistry and Duomo) is the Camposanto (or Holy Field): a monumental walled cemetery where many prominent Pisans have been laid to rest.

A fact I didn’t appreciate until I visited, is that the Campanile is not the only monument in Pisa that leans, because apparently both the Baptistry and the Duomo do as well. I hope that partly explains the slightly exaggerated distorted angle of the Baptistry in the shot below, although I suspect that some of that is due to the wide-angle lens I was using as well:

Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Volterra

Fan’s of Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” books (I’ve not read them, but I’ve seen the movies) will know Volterra as the home of the sinister, ruling vampire coven. Well I can’t say that we came across any members of the Volturi (as they are known in the books) but this beautiful medieval hilltop town certainly captured my heart. Of all the places we visited in Tuscany this was my favourite, not too touristy and yet full of old-world charm……I could live in Volterra:

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

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