Siena’s central Piazza del Campo is one of the most beautiful and famous squares in Tuscany. This sweeping, shell-shaped space is anchored by the magnificent Palazzo Pubblico (home to the Museo Civico) and soaring Torre del Mangia tower, and hosts the historic Palio di Siena festival each July and August.
The 14th-century Piazza del Campo is the heart of Siena’s historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the medieval town hall and bell tower, the square is home to the Fonte Gaia, a 15th-century white-marble fountain that is both a focal point and meeting place at the top end of the piazza. The square is ringed by late Gothic buildings and palaces, once residences of the most powerful families in Siena and now filled with bustling restaurants and cafés.
Appreciate the beauty and history of Piazza del Campo by joining a walking or Segway tour of Siena’s historic center. Many small-group and private tours also include skip-the-line access to Siena’s cathedral (Duomo), a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and one of the city’s most impressive sights. Siena is a popular day trip from Florence and Rome, and many tours also include stops in Pisa or San Gimignano.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Piazza del Campo is one of the most striking squares in Tuscany and makes for memorable photos, so be sure to bring your camera.
- The square is accessible to wheelchair users, but has a slight slope down towards the Palazzo del Pubblico.
- Kids love to play in the traffic-free square, though the fountain is closed off with protective fencing.
- There are a number of cafés and restaurants along the perimeter of the square, perfect for a snack or meal with a view.
How to Get There
Piazza del Campo is in the very center of Siena’s old town, and you can walk or take a city bus to the square from the train station. The most convenient way to visit, however, is with a small-group or private tour that includes transportation so you can also explore nearby Tuscan villages.
When to Get There
Home to one of the most famous and popular medieval festivals in Italy, Piazza del Campo is off limits to anyone who hasn’t come specifically to see the biannual Palio, held in July and August. The square offers little shade so is best explored in early morning or late afternoon in summer, or in spring or fall when the temperatures are milder.
Siena’s Palio Festivities
Piazza del Campo is one of the most recognized public squares in Italy thanks to the popular Palio di Siena, the historical festival held there each year on one day in July and one day in August. Festivities focus around a bareback horse race among 10 horses and riders representing 10 of the 17 contrade, or historical town districts. The horses race along a track encircling the square surrounded by screaming crowds, and the celebrations also include religious services, pageants, and banquets.