This is the view from our balcony in Siena, which was my favorite city ... just because. It doesn't have the most famous attractions, but it is a lovely place that still lives in medieval times. It is an incredibly relaxing place to visit and the people are lovely.
Also, they have a couple great restaurants.
All the striped columns and arches look like Middle Eastern architecture to me.
The city is divided into 17 wards, each with it's own colors and mascots. And they dress in Medieval style clothing, bang on drums and wave lots of flags ... so cool!
We didn't see the actual Palio, but did see a group of boys practicing the drum and flag routines.
Read the Wikipedia page if you want to know more!
But LOOK at this photo. Part of me would love to attend one year, but the other part tells me I would be crazy to do so. I'm not good in crowds like that.
Siena was governed by a group of nine men, the Nove or Council of the Nine. These were common business men and were replace every two months, one of the first places to be governed by the people, not a monarch. Siena flourished at this time.
What will they think of next!