The Mysteries of Siena: Myths and Legends

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A two hours walk discovering Siena most beloved legends, from Pia Tolomei to the first bellringer of the Torre del Mangia. Enjoy charming views while following the never found river that flows under the city, discover Siena’s mysterious side of history. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll hear the werewolf of Fontebranda screaming to wind…

Description

This tour is divided in two main thematic sections:

Between Saints, Pagans and doomed lover

The starting point will be at the Basilica of San Domenico, where the holy relics of St. Catherine wait to tell you the story of the girl that changed not only Siena but all Europe and church history. A mystic woman, married to the Lord, was able to transform our world forever.
Second stop will be at the Malavolti Arch, just before Piazza Salimbeni, to gaze at the only roman architectural element left in the city, the last testimony of our roman legendary ancestors. Learn how and why Siena is closely tied with Rome, with its black and white flag and discover the mythological origin of the horse race, still nowadays going on, the Palio.
Our third discovery will be the fatally cruel story of Pia dei Tolomei. We will see the palace where she lived in Siena, Palazzo Tolomei. Dante Alighieri dedicated to her in his Divine Comedy some rhymes, which are written on the side of the palace.
Going on, you will learn the fate of two unlucky lovers Mariotto and Ganozza. Shakespeare was inspired by this story in writing his Romeo and Juliet. We will turn around their romantic palace, Palazzo Mignanelli, listening to their voices still hauling in the wind during moonless nights, looking at the towers their story was set in… (or so they say!)

Hidden Waters, Spirits, Ghost and how to fight them!

Next stop: Piazza del Campo. Walking around this UNESCO site you will listen to the story (half a story, half a legend…) of the first bellringer of the Torre del Mangia, who gave his nickname to the tower (this tower is the second still standing tallest medieval tower in Europe!).
We will stop at Fonte Gaia (Joyfull Fountain) and listen to its waters telling us the story of the never found, secretly hidden and mysterious Siena’s river. You will learn about the pixies that live in its underground galleries. Traditionally, a magic herb was springing from the square and provided help in fighting these magical creatures, but since people ceased to believe in magic, this plant cannot be found in the square anymore…
The estragon, or tarragon, was used against evil creatures and used to be trade in the nearby Piazza del Mercato: here we may see the place where witches were tortured and burnt and where still nowadays Siena’s most famous vampire, Niccolò di Tuldo, strolls by at night.
Before reaching our destination, we will walk by the crossroad, called “Quattro Cantoni” where witches used to meet up to leave the city for their nocturnal assemblies. We will see the Holy Virgin with the black raven, that keeps the city safe from pestilence, and hear the story of the mysterious head of father Giomo, gazing at us from Via delle Cerchia and waiting for us hidden in the Botanic Garden.

Highlights

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Meeting Point

In front of the office in Piazza Madre Teresa di Calcutta 5, on the opposite site of the Basilica of San Domenico

Important information

Price

*the price is considered NOT per person, but per group

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Giulia Vannini

My name is Giulia. I am a hiking and diving guide. My passion for nature and animals has accompanied me since I was a child in all my studies. I graduated in Biology and then specialized in Marine Biology, I studied around Italy in important universities and research laboratories. After the Master in Environmental Legislation I returned to my beloved Siena, where my family and my dear friends were waiting for me.
I am from the Shell neighborhood (Contrada del Nicchio), you will discover in our company that the “Contrada life” in Siena is very important since childhood, and it is one of the things that makes this city unique!
Since I was a child I had a passion for teaching, over the years I worked in schools as an educator and so I developed interesting projects in the field of environmental education. My passion for playing with children will never end and in fact I am also a swimming instructor, specialized for people with psychophysical problems.

Thanks to Siena Tourism I create tours and events combining all my studies and my passions. We thought of many walks to do, alone or with the whole family, and many beautiful activities dedicated to children! I expect you soon to discover our enchanting territory together!

Ludovica Noviello

My name is Ludovica and I was born in Rome, where I attended the German school. After the diploma I studied at the Humboldt University in Berlin at the faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature. For many years I lived around Europe, where I worked and continued to study languages. My passions are art and foreign languages, so I decided to move back to my beautiful country to combine them in my job as a tour guide. I moved to Siena, where I studied to become a licensed Tour Guide in Italian, English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
Siena is an enchanting city, a treasure chest that holds many artistic and cultural beauties and my job is to transmit my love for Siena and the many villages in the Province to those who come to visit it.
As a member of Siena Tourism I am also one of the organizers of this great project.
Our aim is to make you know the best of some of the cities and villages in Tuscany, offering you many beautiful moments to remember forever.
I am sure that this part of Italy will find a special place in your heart!