The Campo, the most beautiful square in the world, Siena’s Piazza del Campo, lies like an open shell in the heart of the city. Built during the fourteenth century, it was able to accommodate the entire population of Siena, and was frequently the site of fairs, festivals and performances in general, as well as bull and buffalo fights. Its role as an arena is still alive today, when in July and August it becomes the theatre for the famous horse-race, the Palio. For a whole year the entire city of Siena nurses the Palio fever, looking forward to those few minutes when the seventeen contrade of the city release their horses onto the track of the Piazza del Campo, dreaming of victory. You can only admire the courage of those who chose to build a city such as Siena. A walk through its streets and alleys inspires feelings of delight and wonder. The nearby towns bask in the reflected glow of Siena’s beauty, and are taken over by it. A landscape of rain-sculpted valleys where the chalk and clay have formed strange shapes like minarets of sand; rows of cypresses, severe in winter and gentle in spring, are flooded by the sun in summer.
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