Friday, September 6, 2013

An Incantato Favorite: Siena

322 meters above sea level, Siena (in English sometimes spelled Sienna) is right in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. It is also the capital of the province of Siena. But the true origin of this magnificent city is still uncertain. A number of historians refer to an ancient Etruscan settlement known as Sena, which stood on the borders between the lands governed by Volterra, Arezzo and Chiusi. When this settlement was conquered by the Romans under Augustus, it took on the name of Sena Iulia.

The origin of the name Siena is probably Etruscan and could derive from the name of a family, the Saina. It was quite common for patrician families to take on the name of their place of origin. A number of references to the name Saena appear in Latin texts, ass

Some legends trace the founding of the city back to a young Roman named Senius, one of the children of Rhemus who was forced to flee the rage of his uncle Romulus along with another of his siblings, Ascanius. These two brothers are believed to have left Rome with a statue of the she-wolf and, after finding refuge on a hill above the river Tressa, built a fortress known as Castel Senio, or Castelvecchio – reputed to be the first nucleus around which the city developed over the millennia. This is the reason why the emblem of Siena remains to this day the she-wolf of Rome.
The diocese of Siena probably dates back to the reigns of Gratian and Theodosius, following the conversion of the area by Ansanus, a young martyr who is the city’s main patron saint.

The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008.

The city is also famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. 

1 comment:

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