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Siena is a synonym for ‘high quality lifestyles’. It was the first Municipality in Europe to close its center to traffic in 1966. Siena is a place of international culture. Its university is 750 years old and it hosts several noteworthy institutions such as the Chigiana Musical Academy, the University for Foreigners, the Accademia dei Fisiocritici and the Accademia degli Intronati. In this city, everything has remained unchanged for centuries. There, one breathes an ‘atmosphere’ that cannot be found elsewhere, because its people truly maintain the traditions of their ancestors. The tradition of the Palio, for example, is celebrated and renewed each year with the same renowned power and enthusiasm.
Siena has Etruscan origins; it was a Roman colony whose name was ‘Sena Julia’. Its importance grew considerably in the Middle Ages, first with Lombards and later, under Carolingian leadership. After a long period of Episcopal dominion (from the 9th to the 11th century), the city reached the peak of power and became a municipality in 1147. During this period, Siena adopted expansionistic policies towards bordering territories. Confrontation with Florence was inevitable and due to various vicissitudes, their struggle lasted until 1555. In that year, after a long siege, Siena was conquered by the Florentines. Thus, the city lost its autonomy and became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, sharing the Duchy’s destiny until the Unification of Italy in 1861.