The Gothic Palazzo Pubblico, the focal point of the Piazza del Campo, has served as Siena's town hall since the 1300s. It now also contains the Museo Civico, with walls covered in early Renaissance frescoes. The nine governors of Siena once met in the Sala della Pace, famous for Ambrogio Lorenzetti's frescoes called Allegories of Good and Bad Government, painted in the late 1330s to demonstrate the dangers of tyranny. The good government side depicts utopia, showing first
the virtuous ruling council surrounded by angels and then scenes of a perfectly running city and countryside. Conversely, the bad government fresco tells a tale straight out of Dante. The evil ruler and his advisers have horns and fondle strange animals, and the town scene depicts the seven mortal sins in action. Interestingly, the bad government fresco is severely damaged, and the good government fresco is in terrific condition. The Torre del Mangia, the palazzo's famous bell tower, is named after one of its first bell ringers, Giovanni di Duccio (called Mangiaguadagni, or earnings eater). The climb up to the top is long and steep, but the view makes it worth every step.
Piazza del Campo 1, Siena, 53100, Italy
Jan 4, 2004
Climbing the Torre del Mangia in Palazzo Publico was definitely one of my most favorite moments in Europe. We stumbled upon its entrance after viewing other art & artifacts, and decided to climb it! It gives you the BEST view of Siena...don't take that panoramic tower tour...this is the real deal above the piazza. If you are tall (above 6' like my husband) or wide, this might not be the most pleasant exercise to engage in, but it is worth it in
the end. Just trust me!