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Legend has it that Siena was established by Senius, son of Remus and nephew of Romulus; therefore, the symbol of Siena is a she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus (pictures 1 and 2). This symbol has been repeated in different parts of town and pieces of art. It is also said that Siena traces the origin of its name back to the Etruscan Saina tribe, the Roman family Saenii, or the Latin word senex, meaning old. The first records known of inhabitants of the region refer to the Saina tribe, approximately between 900 BC and 400 BC.


At some point after this, the Romans gained controlled of Siena, but the city did not flourish because of its lack of access to major roads. After this, the Lombards┬┤ control of the region was successful because they caused Siena to become part of the main trade route. Eventually, Siena was granted independence in the mid 12th century. In the following centuries, most of the Gothic architecture of Siena was built. Also, more streets, markets, and piazzas were built, including Piazza del Campo.


In the 10th and 11th centuries, the town had stretched to the east and north. In this period the city had walls constructed to defend it and further walls were erected before the 13th century finished. At present these walls are still visible. In 1240 its university was established. The law and medicine colleges were and still are some of the most highly reputed throughout Italy. Monte dei Paschi (Picture 3) was established in 1472 and is still operating, making it the oldest bank in the world. 


In the 1500┬┤s, Siena battled with Spain for control of the city and eventually surrendered. However, Spain ceded it to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, where it stayed until the unification of Italy in the 19th century.



 
Tuscany