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Visiting Siena
Siena is a city that is located in Tuscany, Italy. The historic center of Siena has been declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The main influences for this decision are the Duoma, Siena's Cathedral and the Piazza del Campo. The Piazza del Campo is regarded as one of the most beautiful and breathtaking civic spaces in Europe.

The Piazza del Campo is the center square of Siena. It is a formation of the conjunction of the three hills on which the city was formed. The site was built in the 13th century and is considered to be one the greatest medieval squares in Europe. It is in this square that the famous Palio is held bi-annually.

After undergoing Feudal rule and Episcopal rule, the area broke up into a number of small autonomous regions in 1115. In 1167 the commune of Siena was declared independent and by 1179 there was a written constitution available for its governance.

Much like Venice, Siena is a place of mystery and romance. The mystery associated with Siena stems from medieval times: during the battle of Montaperti, it is believed that a white cloud descended and provided cover to the Seines, aiding them to crush the enemy.

The Duomo di Milano or more commonly known as the Duomo is a famous gothic cathedral. The striking white marble is a sight to see. The main feature of the cathedral is the Madonnina's spire which is placed at a height of 108.5 meters and was designed by Francesco. The construction of the cathedral began well back in 1386 and was completed in1965 by which time renovation work was also taking place along with the construction work.

There is an international event that is held annually which is called the Palio. This is an event held on the second of July and the Sixteenth of August every year and is facing more controversies in recent years with the ill treatment meted out to the horses and injuries that the riders suffer from. The horse race is conducted throughout the city over a set track and has become a major tourist attraction for tourists from all over the world.

The race is conducted between the different contradas of Siena; these are made up of the neighborhoods of the city of Siena. In the ancient times there were seventeen contradas, each depicted by a design of the contrada. This is the color and the arms of the contrada. Although there are seventeen contradas, only ten horses are allowed to participate in the race. In this year ten contradas participate, the following race sees the other seven contradas taking part by default. Three other horses are selected randomly.

The first horse race in the region began with the Grand Duke Tuscany setting bull fighting as an out lawful activity. The first Palio took place in the year 1650 and was held only on the 2nd of July. This day was chosen as it was the day of the feast of the Visitation. This day was also marked as the day of a local festival in the honor of Madonna of Provenzano.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing listings for bed and breakfasts, villas, hotels and apartments in Rome.
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