A History of Siena : From its Origins to the Present Day book cover
1st Edition

A History of Siena
From its Origins to the Present Day

ISBN 9780367253486
Published September 3, 2019 by Routledge
172 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A History of Siena provides a concise and up-to-date biography of the city, from its ancient and medieval development up to the present day, and makes Siena’s history, culture, and traditions accessible to anyone studying or visiting the city.

Well informed by archival research and recent scholarship on medieval Siena and the Italian city-states, this book places Siena’s development in its larger context, both temporally and geographically. In the process, this book offers new interpretations of Siena’s artistic, political, and economic development, highlighting in particular the role of pilgrimage, banking, and class conflict. The second half of the book provides an important analysis of the historical development of Siena’s nobility, its unique system of neighborhood associations (contrade) and the race of the Palio, as well as an overview of the rise and fall of Siena’s troubled bank, the Monte dei Paschi.

This book is accessible to undergraduates and tourists, while also offering plenty of new insights for graduate students and scholars of all periods of Sienese history.

Table of Contents



Part I: From the Origins of Siena to the Fall of the Sienese Republic

Chapter 1: The Origins of Siena

From the Etruscans to the Romans

Lombard and Carolingian Siena

Chapter 2: Urban Development and the Formation of the Sienese State (1000-1260)

The Rise of Siena

The Economic Boom of the Early Thirteenth Century

The Growth of the Sienese State

Chapter 3: Siena’s Golden Age: Montaperti and Good Government (1260-1355)

Montaperti and Its Aftermath

Santa Maria della Scala and Siena’s Principal Institutions

The Government of the Nine (1287-1355)

The Artistic Legacy of the Nine

The Fall of the Nine

Chapter 4: Renaissance Siena and the Fall of the Republic (1355-1555)

A fifty-year crisis: 1355-1404

Siena in the 1400s: Consensus and Stability

Siena’s Political System in the Fifteenth Century

The Renaissance in Siena: Culture and the Arts, Society and the Contrade

From Pandolfo Petrucci to the War for Siena (1487-1555)

Part II: From the Age of the Medici to the Present Day

Chapter 5: The Age of the Medici (1557-1737)

An Intelligent Compromise

The New, Broad Sienese Nobility

Beside a Changing Nobility: Monte dei Paschi and the Surroundings

The Contrade and the Palio in Early Modern Siena

Festivals and Culture from Prince Mattias to Violante of Bavaria

The Twilight of the Medici Age

Chapter 6: From the Enlightenment to the World Wars (1723-1945)

Hard Times? The Reforms of the Lorena Family

The Co-management of the Monte dei Paschi and the Modern Commune (1787): Among Nobles and Contrade

French Lights and Shadows: Viva Maria!

The Lorena Family in the Age of Restoration (1814-1859)

Social and Economic Concerns in Nineteenth-Century Siena

Unification Strengthens the Civic Dream

Substantial Developments in the New Century

From the "Red Biennium" to the Triumph of Fascism

Chapter 7: Siena From WWII to the Present Day

The Postwar Economic Boom

The Magnificent 1990s: Synthesis of a Civilization

The Fall of Monte dei Paschi

Siena Today


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Mario Ascheri, a former professor at the University of Rome 3, Italy, has written extensively on institutions, law, and justice in the Middle Ages and on Italian supreme courts in early modern history. He is a former member of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and is a senior fellow of the Robbins Collection Library (Law School, University of California, Berkeley, USA), and doctor h.c. of the Université de l'Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand), France. Author and editor of hundreds of books and articles on Siena, Dr. Ascheri was awarded the prestigious Sienese award, the Mangia d'oro, in 2003.

Bradley Franco is Associate Professor of Ancient and Medieval History at the University of Portland, USA, and is the author of numerous publications focusing on religion, community, family, and power in late medieval Siena. He has also published extensively on Franciscan studies and organized the first ever International Conference for Franciscan Studies in Siena in 2015. Along with Dr. Ascheri, Dr. Franco is a proud member of the contrada of Onda.