A universal symbol of the city, the distinct formation of the Piazza del Campo is just one of the reasons why UNESCO recognizes Siena as the ideal embodiment of a medieval city. Built in the exact place where the three antique hilltop towns sloped together, before eventually combining to create the community of Siena.
The main square, commonly called “il Campo” was built on the intersection of the three main roads that lead to and from Siena, destined to be a neutral ground where political and civic holidays could be celebrated. The homogenous architectural form of the square and the buildings facing it was not an accidental happening; the government created guidelines in 1297, before the actual building of the square and civic buildings. If any structure didn’t adhere, then they were torn down – as was the antique church for St. Peter and Paul. This signifies that it was always the city leader’s intention to create a harmonious structure between the buildings and the square.
The square, with a circumference of 333 meters, is paved with a fishtail design of red brick divided by 10 lines of white travertine stone creating a shell like appearance with 9 sections pointing directly to Palazzo Pubblico, the civic headquarters. Each section representing one of the ruling 9 governors in the “governo dei nove” and long considered to be one of the most stable and peaceful governments in Italy. Artistically speaking, the sections were to resemble the folds in the Virgin Mary’s cloak, who was not only the patron saint, but considered the “ultimate ruler” of Siena. Though some have suggested that the harmonic construction of the square is an artistic representation of the valley of Montone.