Siena is without a doubt one of Italy's
most enchanting cities. Its medieval center is bristling with majestic
Gothic buildings, such as the Palazzo pubblico in the campo, Siena's
main square, and a wealth of artworks is contained in its numerous churches
and small museums.
In the 12th century, Siena's wealth, size, and power grew with its involvement in commerce, banking and trade to European markets. Consequently, its rivalry with neighboring Firenze also grew and led to numerous wars during the first half of the 13th century between Guelph Firenze and Ghibelline Siena. The conflict culminated in the victory of Siena over Firenze at the Battle of Montaperti in 1260. But it was a short-lived victory--only 10 years later the Tuscan Ghibellines were defeated by Charles of Anjou and for almost a century Siena was allied to Firenze, the chief town of the Tuscan Guelph League (supporters of the Pope). During this period, Siena reached its peak under the rule of the Council of Nine, a group dominated by the middle class. Italy-Lonely Planet
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