The Terzo di Città District - Via Stalloreggi, Via San Quirico
The Terzo di Città district of Siena is the city’s original settlers arrived when they founded the city. During the Middle Ages this area was still the centre of life in Siena, as proven by the remains of a number of gates and sections of fortifications that have been included in later developments, the most extensive of which took place in the 15th century.
In the 14th century this area of town was the most densely populated and wealthy, with a number of patrician residences largely lining Via di Città, the street that runs from Piazza del Campo, the city’s political centre, to the Duomo – Siena’s religious fulcrum.
Visitors to Siena wishing to explore the Terzo di Città district should begin their tour at Piazza del Campo, precisely at the Croce del Travaglio, the meeting point of the three main streets around which the city is developed: Banchi di Sotto, Banchi di Sopra and Via di Città.
Along Via di Città there is a small square, known as the Quattro Cantoni (Piazza Postierla), with four streets leading into it. This is the heart of the section of the city under the control of the Contrada dell’Aquila. In the 15th and 16th century this was where the Senese aristocracy would meet. Later the nobles decided to gather under the Loggia della Mercanzia, known also as the Casin dé Nobili.
To the left of Piazza Postierla runs Via San Pietro, one of the city’s most elegant streets, flanked by Palazzo Buonsignori and Palazzo Brigidi. To the right of the square runs Via Stalloreggi, where there are still a number of well-preserved tower-houses. This is also the street where Duccio di Buoninsegna lived. In it is also the Tabernacolo del Sodoma, which contains the Pietà by Sodoma. Via Stalloreggi ends at the Arco delle due Porte, an archway built into the 11th century fortifications that opens into the half-moon square known as Pian dei Mantellini, containing the Church of San Niccolò al Carmine, Palazzo Celsi-Pollini and the neo-classical Palazzo Incontri.
Turning back down Via Stalloreggi, half way down the street there is Piazza del Conte, which leads into Via San Quirico, named after the Church of San Quirico – one of the oldest in the whole of Siena. The church is in fact dedicated to St Quirico and St Giulitta and, although sections of it date from the 12th and 13th century, the existing building dates from the late 16th century. The entrance is Romanesque in style and the interior contains frescoes by Ventura Salimbeni and Alessandro Casolari, as well as a canvas by Pietro Sorri of The Crown of Thorns and one by Francesco Vanni of The Return from Egypt.
Via San Quirico is the heart of the area of town controlled by the Contrada della Pantera, which has its headquarters and museum at number 26.