essential architecture
essential site map


top ten world architecture
image use
  Essential Architecture-  siena

Piazza del Campo




Siena, Italy


1280 to 1350


Mediaeval Italian Vernacular




Outdoor space
  Aerial view of Campo showing proximity to cathedral 
  Print showing the annual horse race (the Palio)
Piazza del Campo is in the center of Siena and Siena's premier square. The piazza is shell shaped, symbolically uniting the different levels formed by the conjunction of the three hills on which the city was founded.

Paved in red brick and marble, the site was built in the XIII century and is one of Europe's greatest medieval squares. It contains the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia.

Fontane Gaia

The XV century Gaia fountain (Fountain of Joy) is a center of attraction for the many tourists. It replaced the original fountain with a statue of the goddess Venus. This pagan statue was blamed for an outbreak of the Black Plague. The statue was destroyed and buried outside the city walls to avert its "evil influence". The present fountain in the shape of a rectangular basin was designed and built in white marble by Jacopo della Quercia. It is adorned on three sides with many statues, with the Madonna in the middle, surrounded by the Virtues. The old statues were replaced by copies in the 1860's.

The bi-annual famous Palio is held in the square.