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Siena: A Gothic Powerhouse and a Joy Today

Siena: A Gothic Powerhouse and a Joy Today

The historic junction of Siena’s various neighborhoods, or “contrade,” it fans out from City Hall as if to create an amphitheater. And these sights have a consistent theme: The Republic of Siena is independent and perfectly capable of ruling itself. The Mangia Tower [City Tower], built nearly 700 years ago, remains one of Italy’s tallest secular towers. For a portrayal of that “good government” in action, drop by the historic hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. The city, rather than the Church, ran this hospital, illustrating how far secular society had come in Siena by the 1400s.