Palazzo Pubblico and Museo Civico

Palazzo Pubblico and Museo Civico

Palazzo Pubblico and Museo Civico
4.5
Castles • Art Museums • Government Buildings
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10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
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About
Siena's City Hall, whose construction began in the 13th century, houses the city's Civic Museum, whose collection includes the profound fresco entitled "Allegory of Good and Bad Government."
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  • Mairwen1
    United Kingdom9,129 contributions
    Impressive Palazzo & Fascinating Background Story
    This imposing palazzo in the centre of Siena’s main piazza is the town hall which doesn't make it sound very exciting but this one looks more like a castle, with crenellated walls, an external chapel and an enormous tower. It’s an impressive building, built over 700 years ago at the start of the 1300s. It was specifically built for the Council of Nine who ruled Siena for about 70 years (between 1285 and 1355). What I found most interesting was that this group of 9 actually lived here, enclosed in the Palazzo during their time in office. Luckily a term of office only lasted two months. Every two months a new group of 9 were chosen and the old group packed their bags and were rotated out, and the new group moved in to replace them. It might sound like a strange system of revolving door governance but it was really successful and created a period of stability, peace and prosperity. Lots of building works, art and innovation took place during this period. The 9 men were a representative body, drawn from the merchant and working classes. They were not elected and instead, names were written on pieces of parchment, closed with wax and put into a box which could only be opened with multiple keys. Names were drawn in lots from the box and strict rules prevented any individual or family from gaining too much power or influence. Features to Look Out For: • A • curious feature which we might not have noticed unless it was pointed out, was that the facade is slightly curved. It was built this way to match the curve of the Piazza. • There is a simple but striking division between the white ground floor loggia and the red top half. The white is quarried stone and the red is local Siena bricks. • The large, prominent white plate on the façade with the blazing sun and the letters ‘IHS’ represents Jesus. The letters are the first 3 letters of Jesus’ name in Greek (Iota, Eta, Sigma). • The whole building is crowned by a row of battlements or merlons with pointed swallowtail shape. They look very decorative but their real purpose was to allow you to shoot while still standing fully upright. • We wondered about the small holes over the façade. Called putlog holes, it is thought that wooden poles were stuck in them to hold the scaffolding in place. • If you stand at the front of the palazzo, the fishbone-patterned paving fans out from the front of the building like a clam shell. What is special about it, is that lines of travertine divide each of the red brick sections into 9 segments in order to represent the Council of Nine. If you have time, there is a museum in the palazzo and you can climb the tower. We didn't do either which was a little disappointing but we only had a day in Siena - way too short in hindsight and I'd recommend spending more time here if you can. There are lots of places lining the piazza to sit for a coffee or a meal and because the of the shape of the piazza you can pretty much sit at any of them as most share a similar view of the palazzo and tower.
    Visited June 2019
    Written March 16, 2020
  • AlbertSalichs
    Manresa, Spain11,287 contributions
    The main building in Piazza del Campo! Wonderful!
    Palazzo Pubblico is the main building located in Piazza del Campo (the main square in Siena), located in this charming medieval town, in the Region of Tuscany, in the center of Italy. In fact, this building is the town hall and you can enter in the inner courtyard, which is wonderful. From here you can see the Mangia Tower from below, which is one of the most important turistic places in the city. The best views of the building are from the other side of Piazza del Campo, a place I am sure you will visit firstly, if you go to Siena. Top place! Wonderful complex: main square, town hall and tower. (See also Centro Storico di Siena and Torre de Mangia)
    Visited August 2019
    Traveled with family
    Written May 17, 2020
  • fourviolets
    Hertford, United Kingdom426 contributions
    A wonderful, impressive visit
    We visited while in Siena for a day so it was a real whistle-stop tour through the city, but I was really keen to see the famous frescoes, the Allegory of Good and Bad Judgement. The best thing about our visit was that we were approached and informed that our visit would be free that day, and encouraged into the museum, and I was really impressed with the exhibits and the friendly staff, which made such a difference while the Covid-19 limitations were in force. It shows how welcoming a city can still be. I would love to go back one day and see this truly fascinating museum at a slower pace, but I appreciate how fortunate we were to often have the huge rooms entirely to ourselves.
    Visited September 2020
    Written October 4, 2020
  • ArtsyGalBaltimore
    727 contributions
    Allegory of Good and Bad Government under Restoration
    Motivated by Hisham Matir's book, A month in Siena, to see Lorenzetti's three frescoe panels on the Allegory of the Good and Bad Government. After up and down the museo, learned in the gift shop that the frescos are being restored. Would have appreciate some heads up on the multiple reference websites. Disappointed.
    Visited December 2022
    Written January 3, 2023
  • D_Novatel
    9 contributions
    Don't get scammed by traffic tickets
    I was in Tuscany and drove to Sienna about a year ago. Recently I received a traffic citation. I was following the signs to the parking garage and somehow drove into an unauthorized area. Clearly this was a tourist set up. Since I was "late" in paying the fines doubled. I had to pay $110. This ticket was not sent by traceable mail. It was in a nondescript plain envelope. I'm fortunate to have noticed the small Italian writing. You really can't get here without driving. Just be advised that you will probably get a ticket and bang your head against the wall trying to no avail to get the ticket reduced to first notice. As lovely as this place is, the scam ticket experience has spoiled this for me. I return anywhere that has scammed me.
    Visited October 2019
    Written September 8, 2020
  • Heather
    York, United Kingdom43 contributions
    Siena's history in a special space
    Such a lovely space to explore Siena's detailed history as a city! Most people will pass over the museum when purchasing their tickets to go up the tower, however it's an interesting exploration into exactly why the building is there in the first place! Written guides are throughout to add context to the various frescoes and room designs. There is a veranda around the back of the museum that overlooks some beautiful Tuscan countryside - it's not the usual view of the city, but a special one nonetheless!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 8, 2023
  • Ruth K
    Hod Hasharon, Israel290 contributions
    Ancient paintings and chapel worth visiting.
    Beautiful paintings and rooms. Ancient artists not very known, at least to me. The chapel in amazing. Do not hesitate to approach the guards for information. We were lucky to talk to a guide who was very knowledgeable and generous in his explanations.
    Visited October 2022
    Traveled with family
    Written October 11, 2022
  • markpittscom
    Randolph, New Jersey39 contributions
    Famous Frescoes, Floors and Fountain are closed or Covered!
    The FAMOUS FRESCOES ARD CLOSED until .., who knows when? Waste of time. By the way, the famous floors of the cathedral are covered 10 months of the year, and the famous fountain in the baptistery is completely covered Your time might be better someone in some other town.
    Visited December 2022
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 17, 2022
  • Peter Ghys
    Inverloch, Australia5 contributions
    Some amazing ceilings!
    Interesting building with some amazing ceilings. Boy, did those guys work at making ceilings features! Some other great paintings on walls too. Not supposed to take pics but people were… We probably spent the best part of an hour there; worth the visit!
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 10, 2023
  • Asiyah Noemi K
    Pula, Croatia5,035 contributions
    Beautiful unique Palace
    The Palazzo Pubblico is one of the most famous Sienese monuments. Arriving on the square (Piazza del Campo) immediately catches the eye beautiful building Palazzo Publico. We are delighted by the beautiful atmosphere at Piazza del Campo with the inevitable observation of the beautiful Palace. It can be noticed immediately that the Palace was built in different periods and in different materials.The foundations up to the first floor are made of stone and the rest is of brick. The history of this Palace is extremely interesting, to me. It was built after the order of its construction was given by the Government of the Nine, a council consisting of merchants and bankers whose sole purpose was to govern Siena, in the late 13th century. On the façade, the majesty and elegance of the Palazzo Pubblico unfolds, whose front and one of the most celebrated Gothic civil architecture in Italy. The windows of the palace are typical of Siena, with three arches resting on small columns, on each window we find a white and black balzana, which is the symbol of the city itself. From the left corner of the palace, elegant tower stands out Torre del Mangia. The interior of the Palace is beautiful. Many rooms, corridors and staircases abound in beautiful decorations, frescoes, paintings that leave no one indifferent. From the atrium you pass to the vestibule (the vestibule is a room or passage between the entrance door and the interior of a building) divided into four section, whose walls are placed two stone wolves and ornamental motifs by Giovanni Pisano of the fourteenth century, flanked by a statue of Moses by Federighi. On the first floor of the Palazzo Pubblico there is the large hall where the Council of the Republic of Siena, known as Sala delle Balestre or more commonly known as Sala del Mappamondo, met. Next to the Sala del Mappamondo, there is the equally beautiful Sala della Pace (Peace Hall), which was the historic public seat of the Government of the Nine. The walls of this room are entirely covered by the most famous cycle of frescoes in the city, the Allegoria del Buono e del Mal Governo (Allegance of the Good and Bad Government), painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti between 1338 and 1340. A universal masterpiece. The Palace is extremely richly decorated so that other halls are beautiful as well, such as the Sala dei Pilastri (Pillars Hall), The room called Anticappella, Cappella di Palazzo (Palace Chapel), Sala dei Cardinali (Cardinals Hall), Sala del Concistoro (Consistory Hall), Sala di Balia (Balia Hall), Sala del Risorgimento and La Loggia (The Lodge). Today the palace is home to the municipal administration and the Civic Museum.
    Visited January 2020
    Written February 25, 2020
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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Mairwen1
United Kingdom9,129 contributions
Jun 2019
This imposing palazzo in the centre of Siena’s main piazza is the town hall which doesn't make it sound very exciting but this one looks more like a castle, with crenellated walls, an external chapel and an enormous tower.
It’s an impressive building, built over 700 years ago at the start of the 1300s. It was specifically built for the Council of Nine who ruled Siena for about 70 years (between 1285 and 1355). What I found most interesting was that this group of 9 actually lived here, enclosed in the Palazzo during their time in office. Luckily a term of office only lasted two months. Every two months a new group of 9 were chosen and the old group packed their bags and were rotated out, and the new group moved in to replace them.
It might sound like a strange system of revolving door governance but it was really successful and created a period of stability, peace and prosperity. Lots of building works, art and innovation took place during this period.
The 9 men were a representative body, drawn from the merchant and working classes. They were not elected and instead, names were written on pieces of parchment, closed with wax and put into a box which could only be opened with multiple keys. Names were drawn in lots from the box and strict rules prevented any individual or family from gaining too much power or influence.

Features to Look Out For:
• A • curious feature which we might not have noticed unless it was pointed out, was that the facade is slightly curved. It was built this way to match the curve of the Piazza.
• There is a simple but striking division between the white ground floor loggia and the red top half. The white is quarried stone and the red is local Siena bricks.
• The large, prominent white plate on the façade with the blazing sun and the letters ‘IHS’ represents Jesus. The letters are the first 3 letters of Jesus’ name in Greek (Iota, Eta, Sigma).
• The whole building is crowned by a row of battlements or merlons with pointed swallowtail shape. They look very decorative but their real purpose was to allow you to shoot while still standing fully upright.
• We wondered about the small holes over the façade. Called putlog holes, it is thought that wooden poles were stuck in them to hold the scaffolding in place.
• If you stand at the front of the palazzo, the fishbone-patterned paving fans out from the front of the building like a clam shell. What is special about it, is that lines of travertine divide each of the red brick sections into 9 segments in order to represent the Council of Nine.

If you have time, there is a museum in the palazzo and you can climb the tower. We didn't do either which was a little disappointing but we only had a day in Siena - way too short in hindsight and I'd recommend spending more time here if you can.
There are lots of places lining the piazza to sit for a coffee or a meal and because the of the shape of the piazza you can pretty much sit at any of them as most share a similar view of the palazzo and tower.
Written March 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AlbertSalichs
Manresa, Spain11,287 contributions
Aug 2019 • Family
Palazzo Pubblico is the main building located in Piazza del Campo (the main square in Siena), located in this charming medieval town, in the Region of Tuscany, in the center of Italy. In fact, this building is the town hall and you can enter in the inner courtyard, which is wonderful. From here you can see the Mangia Tower from below, which is one of the most important turistic places in the city. The best views of the building are from the other side of Piazza del Campo, a place I am sure you will visit firstly, if you go to Siena. Top place! Wonderful complex: main square, town hall and tower.
(See also Centro Storico di Siena and Torre de Mangia)
Written May 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

fourviolets
Hertford, UK426 contributions
Sep 2020
We visited while in Siena for a day so it was a real whistle-stop tour through the city, but I was really keen to see the famous frescoes, the Allegory of Good and Bad Judgement. The best thing about our visit was that we were approached and informed that our visit would be free that day, and encouraged into the museum, and I was really impressed with the exhibits and the friendly staff, which made such a difference while the Covid-19 limitations were in force. It shows how welcoming a city can still be. I would love to go back one day and see this truly fascinating museum at a slower pace, but I appreciate how fortunate we were to often have the huge rooms entirely to ourselves.
Written October 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ArtsyGalBaltimore
Maryland727 contributions
Dec 2022
Motivated by Hisham Matir's book, A month in Siena, to see Lorenzetti's three frescoe panels on the Allegory of the Good and Bad Government. After up and down the museo, learned in the gift shop that the frescos are being restored. Would have appreciate some heads up on the multiple reference websites. Disappointed.
Written January 3, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

D_Novatel
Durham, United States9 contributions
Oct 2019
I was in Tuscany and drove to Sienna about a year ago. Recently I received a traffic citation. I was following the signs to the parking garage and somehow drove into an unauthorized area. Clearly this was a tourist set up. Since I was "late" in paying the fines doubled. I had to pay $110. This ticket was not sent by traceable mail. It was in a nondescript plain envelope. I'm fortunate to have noticed the small Italian writing.

You really can't get here without driving. Just be advised that you will probably get a ticket and bang your head against the wall trying to no avail to get the ticket reduced to first notice. As lovely as this place is, the scam ticket experience has spoiled this for me. I return anywhere that has scammed me.
Written September 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Heather
York, UK43 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
Such a lovely space to explore Siena's detailed history as a city! Most people will pass over the museum when purchasing their tickets to go up the tower, however it's an interesting exploration into exactly why the building is there in the first place! Written guides are throughout to add context to the various frescoes and room designs.

There is a veranda around the back of the museum that overlooks some beautiful Tuscan countryside - it's not the usual view of the city, but a special one nonetheless!
Written July 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ruth K
Hod Hasharon, Israel290 contributions
Oct 2022 • Family
Beautiful paintings and rooms. Ancient artists not very known, at least to me. The chapel in amazing. Do not hesitate to approach the guards for information. We were lucky to talk to a guide who was very knowledgeable and generous in his explanations.
Written October 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

markpittscom
Randolph, NJ39 contributions
Dec 2022 • Couples
The FAMOUS FRESCOES ARD CLOSED until .., who knows when? Waste of time.

By the way, the famous floors of the cathedral are covered 10 months of the year, and the famous fountain in the baptistery is completely covered

Your time might be better someone in some other town.
Written December 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter Ghys
Inverloch, Australia5 contributions
Apr 2023 • Couples
Interesting building with some amazing ceilings. Boy, did those guys work at making ceilings features! Some other great paintings on walls too. Not supposed to take pics but people were… We probably spent the best part of an hour there; worth the visit!
Written May 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Asiyah Noemi K
Pula, Croatia5,035 contributions
Jan 2020
The Palazzo Pubblico is one of the most famous Sienese monuments. Arriving on the square (Piazza del Campo) immediately catches the eye beautiful building Palazzo Publico. We are delighted by the beautiful atmosphere at Piazza del Campo with the inevitable observation of the beautiful Palace. It can be noticed immediately that the Palace was built in different periods and in different materials.The foundations up to the first floor are made of stone and the rest is of brick. The history of this Palace is extremely interesting, to me. It was built after the order of its construction was given by the Government of the Nine, a council consisting of merchants and bankers whose sole purpose was to govern Siena, in the late 13th century. On the façade, the majesty and elegance of the Palazzo Pubblico unfolds, whose front and one of the most celebrated Gothic civil architecture in Italy. The windows of the palace are typical of Siena, with three arches resting on small columns, on each window we find a white and black balzana, which is the symbol of the city itself. From the left corner of the palace, elegant tower stands out Torre del Mangia. The interior of the Palace is beautiful. Many rooms, corridors and staircases abound in beautiful decorations, frescoes, paintings that leave no one indifferent. From the atrium you pass to the vestibule (the vestibule is a room or passage between the entrance door and the interior of a building) divided into four section, whose walls are placed two stone wolves and ornamental motifs by Giovanni Pisano of the fourteenth century, flanked by a statue of Moses by Federighi. On the first floor of the Palazzo Pubblico there is the large hall where the Council of the Republic of Siena, known as Sala delle Balestre or more commonly known as Sala del Mappamondo, met. Next to the Sala del Mappamondo, there is the equally beautiful Sala della Pace (Peace Hall), which was the historic public seat of the Government of the Nine. The walls of this room are entirely covered by the most famous cycle of frescoes in the city, the Allegoria del Buono e del Mal Governo (Allegance of the Good and Bad Government), painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti between 1338 and 1340. A universal masterpiece. The Palace is extremely richly decorated so that other halls are beautiful as well, such as the Sala dei Pilastri (Pillars Hall), The room called Anticappella, Cappella di Palazzo (Palace Chapel), Sala dei Cardinali (Cardinals Hall), Sala del Concistoro (Consistory Hall), Sala di Balia (Balia Hall), Sala del Risorgimento and La Loggia (The Lodge). Today the palace is home to the municipal administration and the Civic Museum.
Written February 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Palazzo Pubblico and Museo Civico, Siena

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