Tour Locations | From the Golden Age to the Glory of Siena’s Present Traditions
Antica Farmacia del Campo
Stop here, please, and turn to face the square.
With its amphitheatre curve, the Campo appears an almost organic piece of city planning: this was the government's intention in 1297 when prescribing for instance that only two or three columned windows were allowed but through the centuries, multiple facades were redesigned in a more fashionable style.
Since it was included inside the walls, it became the focus of city life, a marketplace for livestock as well as produce but it was also the scene for bullfights, communal boxing matches and of course the Palio. The horse race has been held here since the 1200s, except at times of war or pandemic! The 17 local districts are in charge of the preparation but only 10 can attend each July 2nd and August 17th with bareback ridden horses.
Try to imagine this square filled with thousands of spectators, either standing in the center and watching from windows or balconies, all excited for an event unfolding on a dirt track prepared for the occasion. For days around the festivals, the air of rivalry is palpable, sometimes breaking into violence amid the bragging celebration of victory by one or other of the neighbourhood ... all this for a race lasting less than 2 minutes.
Before we move on, please feel free to roam around taking pics. If you do roam to the other end of the square, you might trigger VoiceMap's lost warning and if you're going to spend a considerable amount of time here before going to our next location, you might want to consider closing off the app and restarting it when you reach our next stop. Before you do any of this, let me tell you where to go next.
With your back to the pharmacy, look to your left. Do you see the ramp? When you're ready, I'll meet you at the top of the ramp.