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The famous Siena square from above - Italy
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.
The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year.
Siena was a proud, wealthy, and warlike independent city-state during the Middle Ages, until its final defeat by Florence. Medieval Sienese art is unique and of great historical importance. Some of the famous artists who lived and worked in Siena are Duccio, Simone Martini, and Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti. Sienese people are fiercely proud of their city and their neighborhood. The Palio is all about neighbourhood pride and rivalry, and also constitutes the unbroken continuation of a Medieval tradition associated with religion, pageantry, trash-talking, bragging, and occasional violence. It is taken very seriously and is in no way a put-on for tourists. However, this is a city which depends and flourishes on tourism. Siena was a very poor little city for a few hundred years after its defeat, which is the main reason that its lovely Medieval buildings were never torn down and replaced with modern structures. In the 19th century, tourists started coming. Nowadays, it is a requirement that new buildings within the city walls be built to maintain the city's character and beauty - many are strikingly modern, yet fit in well.
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June 13th, 2009
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