With its 54,391 inhabitants, Siena is located in the center of Tuscany and is the capital of the province of Siena.
The city is universally renowned for its artistic heritage, for its uniform medieval cityscape and of course for its historical palio. Its center was indeed declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
Siena is set on three hills and is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. It is located between the valley of the rivers Arbia to the South, Merse to the South-West and Elsa to the North, the hills of Chianti to the North and the Crete Senesi to the South-East.
From 1150 to 1269, a harsh internal conflict between the Ghibellinis and the Guelphs families took place. The battle of Monteaperti was fought in 1260 when the Ghibellinis from Siena (supported by the forces of King Manfred of Sicily) crushly defeated the Florentine Guelphs. The latter escaped in Colle Val d’Elsa.
Nine years later, in 1269, in Colle Val d’Elsa (stronghold of the Guelphs), the Ghibellinis were defeated and the city of Siena fell inevitably under control of the Florentine Guelphs, who allied with the city of Florence.