It is the city of the Virgin and of the so-called Balzana and it is divided into two factions: the White and the Black. It is a city not fond of mediocrity, just like its heraldic symbol witnesses. Siena is passionate and contemplative, everlasting on the climb and sloping-down, clear and dark. The red shade characterizing Piazza del Campo appear dazzling and unexpected from the lanes more narrow and precipitous.
The Majesty by Duccio di Buoninsegna face the one by Simone Martini while the Buongoverno by Lorenzetti and the Pulpit by Nicola Pisano are hanging over your head. Domenico Beccafumi and Rutilio Manetti's works are present in many churches. Propitiatory singings bring to mind ancient rites and modern allegories down the lanes, in the museums and in quarter oratories. In the meantime the tramping provoked by soles on the empty pavement is by right counterpoint of the tranquillity characterizing the green valley prudently enclosed in the town-wall by the ancient heads who were centuries ahead of their times. The Cathedral and the wonderful landscape; the great front (left unfinished after the plague in 1338); the Hall by Pellegrina; Santa Maria della Scala, the Piccolomini library and the prestigious Chigiana Academy. Big spaces inside the "Medicea" fortress are containing the more precious wines made in Siena, Tuscany and in the Italian peninsula.
Anyway, this kind of "profanity" is only a stone's throw far from the Shrine dedicated to St. Katherine, patron Saint of Italy. Inns, cakes with a lot of spice in them, noises provoked by craftsmen's working; rinsing out fountains Fontebranda and the Mystery of Diana, a mythical river thought to flow underneath Siena. The "bottini" and their secrets. The geometric alchemies of the Square, cabala and esoterism, neo-gothic suggestions and popular belief. That's why, as a famous inscription on Porta di Camollia says, "Siena opens one's heart more than anything else."