What Are The Doors To Enter Siena
The history of the city walls of Siena is obviously intrinsically linked to its own doors, which totally seems to be 39.
The exact number is difficult to quantify, due to the simple fact that some of the doors have disappeared over the centuries or have been incorporated into the walls that gradually led to the enlargement of the city.
We must also consider that many doors have changed their name over time, while others have been completely rebuilt and moved outwards.
To do a little ‘order will be necessary to briefly review the history of the city walls of the city of Siena.
A first circle of walls dates back to the High Middle Ages and united the “old” city, or Castelvecchio, to the Duomo area.
The first circle then wound behind the current complex of Santa Maria della Scala, through the streets of Franciosa and Pellegrini and then look out along the open space of the Campo.
In this exact position, since the eleventh century, the Porta Salaria, which today corresponds to the current Costarella dei Barbieri, opened.
The walls continued along Via del Casato di Sotto up to Porta Oria, at Via del Capitano, continuing along Via Tommaso Pendola and Via del Fosso di Sant’Ansano.
Then there were the Two Doors, then called Vallepiatta or Canonici.
Finally, following a depression still present today, the walls along the back of the buildings along Via del Capitano, until you get to a last door, called the Verchione.
A first expansion of these walls took place in the first half of the twelfth century, which went to incorporate practically the whole area of the Mercatale (today Piazza del Campo and Piazza del Mercato) and a large part of Camollia, near the via Francigena.
Enlargement of the first half of the twelfth century
Unlike other Italian cities, perhaps due to the impervious nature of the territory, in Siena there were no new wall circles that incorporated the previous ones, but rather it was always extensions, now on a high, now on the other, which incorporated new areas linking back to the existing route.
Sometimes an existing path was overcome, dismantling it.
In the first half of the twelfth century there was a significant expansion, which went to incorporate the whole area of the Mercatale (current Piazza del Campo and Piazza del Mercato) and most of the third of Camollia, where the Via Francigena passed.
The expansion ended at the current Porta Camollia, which is the northernmost point of the track.
In addition to Porta Camollia and those already existing, the Porta Salaria was added at Fontebranda; the Porta di San Prospero on the current Viale Rinaldo Franci; the Porta di Pescaia in Via di Fontegiusta; the Porta di San Vigilio, now located behind Palazzo Salimbeni; the Porta dei Provenzani, near Santa Maria di Provenzano; and the old Porta Romana, in the immediate vicinity of Santo Spirito.
Starting from 1180 a subsequent enlargement involved the eastern part of the Third of Camollia and the southern part of the Third of Town.
In fact, from the Porta Camollia a new line of walls was built up to the Porta San Lorenzo, and then subsequently to the Porta a Ovile and the Porta dei Frati Minori, at the height of Piazza San Francesco.
Later they created the Porta dei Salvani, the Porta di Follonica, the ancient Porta di San Maurizio al Ponte (which today would be the Arco in Via di Pantaneto), the Porta di Val di Montone or otherwise called the Borgo Nuovo di Santa Maria.
Finally, we remember that along the Castelvecchio the Porta di San Giuseppe, the Porta all’Arco and the Porta Oria (Aurea) stood out.
Other changes occurred in the mid-thirteenth century, with the establishment of new doors: Porta di Busseto, Porta di San Come, Porta di Fontebranda and the second Porta Romana, moved south to the square that houses the Museum of the Society of Executors of Pie Dispositions.
From 1290 onwards, a new restructuring involved the entire southern part of Siena up to the border of the existing walls.
The belt which was equipped with towers, started at Porta di Busseto at Porta Pispini, then ran along the current Porta Romana and continued to Porta Tufi, Porta San Marco and Porta Laterina.
It is good to remember however that, according to the famous “Chronicles of Siena” by Tizio, in 1301 Siena boasted the beauty of as many as 39 entry gates and to each Military Company or “Societatis” had been assigned the guard of at least one of them.
For completeness of information we quote in list all the doors remembered by Tizio:
• Camollia or Camullia
• dei Canonici or Di Vallepiatta or Le Due Porte
• dei Frati Minori or di S. Francesco
• dei Peruzzini
• dei Provenzani
• dei Salvani
• di Busseto
• di Follonica
• di Fontebranda
• di San Viene
• Giustizia or Nuova di Valmontone
• Montis Guathiani
• Oria or Aurea
• Pescaia o Pescaria
• Porta a Ovile
• Romana Attuale (Antiporto)
• Romana or Nuova or di San Martino
• Romana Vecchia
• S. Ansano
• S. Eugenia
• S. Salvatore
• Salaja or Salaria
• San Giorgio
• San Giovanni Battista
• San Giuseppe
• San Lorenzo
• San Marco
• San Maurizio
• San Prospero
• San Vigilio
• Stalloreggi (Stalloregii)
• Val Di Montone or Borgo Santa Maria