Siena is a striking, well-preserved Gothic city. Many of the original buildings remain, and few new structures have been built, mostly due to limited resources after its 13th-century boom and subsequent bust.
Myth has it that Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, but it was likely founded by the Etruscans and established as a Roman colony by Augustus in the 1st century B.C. In the 6th century, the Lombards turned it into a key point along the route from northern Italy to Rome. By the 13th century, Siena was a wealthy trading city, almost as large as Paris, specializing in textiles, wine, saffron and spices, controlling most of southern Tuscany and dominating the trade routes from France to Rome.
Siena continued to flourish until a plague outbreak in the 14th century wiped out two-thirds of the city’s population. From then, Siena fell into decline.
Today the city is filled with cobblestone streets, impressive art and plenty of delicious restaurants.