An authoritative, richly illustrated history, and affectionate celebration, of Siena, one of the best-loved and most-visited cities in Italy. Occupying a hilltop site in the midst of a vast, undulating landscape, Siena is as much a magnet for contemporary tourism as Florence. However, its proud republican past presents an intriguing contrast with its Medici-dominated northern Tuscan rival, with which it tussled for local supremacy for much of the High Middle Ages.
From the twelfth century, profiting from its advantageous position on a major pilgrim route, the Republic of Siena developed into a major European power and remained an important commercial, financial and artistic centre for four centuries. Jane Stevenson charts the changing fortunes of a city that rose to an astonishingly productive cultural heyday in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, suffered a catastrophic late medieval decline in the aftermath of the Black Death, but transcended the loss of its wider political power to enjoy a prosperous civic afterlife. Siena today enjoys a cherished position as a uniquely well-preserved medieval city, crammed with world-class art and architecture, furnished with appealing and intriguing traditions, and set in a heavenly landscape.