Walking through the streets of the center of Siena you can see many palaces dating back to different historical periods; these buildings have in common a plain elegance, no glitz, yet marked by a recognizable style.
Who comes in Siena for the first time visit the Public Palace and the Mangia Tower, but doesn’t always have the chance to see the other buildings which adorn the historical center.
To arouse the curiosity travelers who like to deepen the history of a place, we planned a route that includes 5 historic buildings of Siena which is worth seeing.
Don’t forget that even Palazzo Ravizza is a historic palace, in fact it dates back to the late XIX century and has a long tradition of hospitality: for this reason it’s interesting to find out what are the most beautiful buildings located along the squares and alleys of the town.
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You can admire the facade of this building in the preview of this article: Palazzo Chigi-Saracini, in Via di Città, is one of the most prestigious evidences of the XII century and was originally known as Palazzo Marescotti.
Around the first half of the XIV century the building was enlarged and reached its current size. That was the luckiest period in the history of Siena and corresponds to the development of Senese Gothic style, visible in the facade of the palace, covered in stone.
After the purchase by the Piccolomini del Mandolo family, were made decorations in the loggia outside, in particular the frescoes by Giorgio di Giovanni.
Inside the palace is a gallery which houses numerous Senese works of art, furthermore this is the seat, since 1932, of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana.
Palazzo Piccolomini is at Via Banchi di Sotto and is one of the best examples of Renaissance style in town as it was designed by Bernardo Rossellino, the architect of the beautiful Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza. The elegant stone facade introduces us to a residence that now houses the Archives of the State and the Museum of the Biccherna covers, a rarity since there are few examples of these tablets used to bind books documenting the records of the financial administration.
Palazzo Sansedoni dates back to the late XIII century and is the union of five aristocratic houses; the palace has a concave facade and face Palazzo Pubblico.
The interiors of the palace have decorations dated back to XVIII century and the building is home to the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena (while the bank is at Palazzo Salimbeni), bank very important for the history of the town and, above all, the oldest surviving bank in the world.
In front of the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Piazza Jacopo della Quercia, there is Palazzo Reale, originally known as Palazzo Petrucci and built in the late XV century.
This building was redesigned in the late XVI century by Bernardo Buontalenti on behalf of Medici and is a symbol of the Florentine dominion of Siena, along with the Medicea Fortress.
Today it houses the Prefecture and the provincial administration of Siena, in fact, it is also called “government building”.
Palazzo dei Diavoli
The last stage of the route is an abode in north-west of the town, outside the center, as well Porta Camollia, between Viale Cavour and Via Fiorentina.
The name Palazzo dei Diavoli (Palace of the Devils) has a mysterious origin and there are two interpretations about it: might result from the Senese victory in 1526 which led to the dispersion of the army of Pope Clement VII and the Republic of Florence, due to the intervention of evil forces, or it may result from the fact that, according to legend, were held here satanic rituals and black masses.
In the past this was the residence of Turchi family, then the Buonsignori; it is clad in brick and housed various types of craft activities and a tavern.
Each of these buildings is a fragment of Siena’s history and it is exciting to be able to closely watch how these palaces are the essential elements of a precious painting that everyone can enjoy.