Siena is a Medieval city in Tuscany, some 70 km (43 mi) south of Florence. It is probably best known for a colourful horse race, Il Palio, conducted twice each year in the summer.
Siena was an Etruscan city in ancient times, but the era that is most evident in its architecture and remains a constant presence in the city's character is the Middle Ages. Siena was a proud, wealthy, and warlike independent city-state during the Middle Ages and held off its rival Florence in several battles before finally going down to defeat. Medieval Sienese art (painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.) is unique and of great historical importance. Some of the most famous of the artists who lived and worked in Siena are the painters Duccio, Simone Martini, and Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti and the sculptor Jacopo della Quercia.
Sienese people are fiercely proud of their city and their neighborhood (contrada). Each contrada has its own flag, emblem, contrada parish church and contrada house, which functions as a kind of neighborhood social club.