Siena

In Middle Age, Siena was the most developed town in Southern Europe (being the developed areas in those times from Flanders to Northern Italy), thet's the reason why Siena is one of the greatest and best preserved historical town in Europe.

Its exceptional complexity, integrity and compactness, combines with a charming and rich artistical and architectural heritage and make it one of the most beautiful and peculiar sample result of Italian culture.
Asd a reaction to the traumatic lost of itsindipendence due to the Florentine domination in 1555, the town strongly increased its own traditions and the most famous is the "Palio delle Contrade", a true Medieval celebration involving all the people from Siena and not just for tourists.

Siena was builted in a strategical position between the hills that on Western side lead to the "Montagnola" and the "Colline Metallifere" and on Northeastern side lead to the Chianti hills and split the river Elsa basin from the river Arbia, so different they are even in their landsacapes.

At the begin Siena was an Etruscan town, since it's located on the way to the most important Etruscan towns Volterra and Populonia on one side and Arezzo and Chiusi on the other side.
In the Roman era it was a minor town.
In the 5 century A.C. it was a Diocese.
The Longobards change the region and the whole Italy very much.
The main town of the Granducato di Toscana was Lucca, and Siena was on the way the Longobards used to go to Rome for pilgrimage and to their dominions in the Southern Italy.

The Roman Via Cassia, passing through Arezzo, was too close to the Byzantines' dominions, as they also controlled the Via Traiana.
So then the way from Lucca to Viterbo was passing through Siena, the only big town on the Francigena Route.
Medieval Siena was really "on the road", Longobards gave to Siena a dominion larger than Diocese And that's why there were fights with Arezzo and others for centuries.

The wealthy of Siena mainly came from trading (fabrics, saffron, wine, wax, spices) and from banking and financial business.
Siena took advantage from being the city bank close to Rome.

The Senese State developed more than the others cities and States in the Southern Tuscany, but nothing could do angainst the powerful Florence.