HotelSienaBorgo Grondaie is glad to share with you a little history of our beautifulSiena. Through a series of posts we will discover the origins of the most important places of the city. Let’s start with the heart ofSiena, Piazza del Campo (Campo Square).
Conceived as a center of civic and collective life of the medieval city, Piazza del Campo still has a configuration like that one of the fourteenth century. It ‘a closed urban structure that communicates with the outside through a series of cleverly masked gates and arches and ends with the magnificent background of the Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia.
The skyline and the structure of the Piazza del Campo are not born by chance, but during the years of its construction, the government of Siena has gradually enacted laws in order to standardize the architectural style and align the profile of the perimeter and space, an example is the demolition of the church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul (located between the existing St. Peter and St. Paul alleys) because too protruding from the perimeter that the surrounding buildings were defining. The area that would become the square of today, was originally a reclaimed land to allow rain water running off and while the central part of the city was higher in the Castelvecchio area, the future”Campo” was an area for the markets close to the main roads.
The first document which mentions the placement of the Campo Square dates back to 1169; the Square is cited as “Campus Sancti Pauli” and refers to the entire valley, which also includes the current Piazza del Mercato. The news of the subdivision there was in 1193, when the Square is called “Campus Fori” (acting as livestock, poultry and wheat market) and there was the construction of a dividing wall perhaps placed as a barrier because of the soil erosion. In this way the “Campo” acquires the appearance of a half shell while around the wall and on it the government starts the construction of a nucleus of buildings containing the Customs offices ( for oil and salt) and the so-called Bolgano i.e. the place for the minting of coins.
The floor was much later, in fact, the construction started in 1327 and ended in 1349. Even today the centre of the square is paved with handmade bricks laid edge on.The floor is divided into nine strips of travertine in memory of the “Government of the Nine” (1285-1355). The current travertine balusters date back to 1800.
The development of Piazza del Campo is closely linked to the construction of the City Hall (Palazzo Pubblico) ……. but we’ll talk about next time!
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