The square is located at the nodal point where the three main city streets branch off, backbones of the Terzi, distinguishing itself as a unitary one of sublime harmony, the highest fruit of the Sienese passion for beauty, manifested early by the people even before the famous statute of 1262 dedicated to urban planning and city aesthetics. This makes it one of the highest creations of medieval town planning.The square is also famous because it hosts the Palio delle Contrade twice a year, exactly on July 2 and August 16. It is a unique horse race in the world that sees the seventeen historic districts that make up the Tuscan city compete against each other.The race consists of three laps around the track that surrounds the square, paved with slabs of pietra serena, which is sprinkled with one layer of tuff dust of appropriate thickness, such as to allow the horses to run, not without dramatic slips in correspondence of the curves. Among these, one of the most critical is the "curve of San Martino". The race, which takes place in an unrestrained way and often without reserves of low blows, sometimes bloody, leads to victory only one contrada. Key ingredients for a "perfect Palio" are the couple formed by the horse and its jockey that each contrada manages to put together, always combined with an indispensable dose of luck and a crowd that is always enthusiastic and involved.
The city of Volterra and its splendid surroundings are probably one of the most diversified and rich in attractions in Tuscany. The indisputable historical tradition is combined with the splendid nature that offers, from the morphology, to the vegetation, to the fauna, a truly impressive heritage. In Volterra, history has left its mark continuously from the Etruscan period up to the nineteenth century, with artistic and monumental testimonies of great importance, which can be admired simply by walking through the streets of the historic center, but also by visiting the city museums: the Museum Etruscan, the Civic Art Gallery, the Museum of Sacred Art, the Alabaster Ecomuseum. Next to these monuments you can find an uncontaminated landscape, a quality of life still on a human scale and a unique artistic craftsmanship in the world: alabaster.
Florence is located in a scenographic position, in the center of a large amphitheater basin at the south-eastern end of the plain of Florence-Prato-Pistoia, surrounded on three sides by the enchanting clayey hills of Cercina, just above the Rifredi district and the hospital of Careggi (to the north), from the hills of Fiesole (to the north-east), of Settignano (to the east), and of Arcetri, Poggio Imperiale and Bellosguardo (to the south). 'Arno (the city itself divides its course between the upper Valdarno and the lower Valdarno) and minor waterways such as the Mugnone, the Terzolle and the Greve river. The metropolitan area Florence - Prato - Pistoia established by the Regional Council of Tuscany on 29 March 2000 it entirely includes the provinces of Florence, Prato and Pistoia, with a population of approximately 1 520 000 inhabitants. The flat areas of the metropolitan area constitute a highly anthropized environment with the presence of large industrial and commercial areas, where natural spaces are reduced. The hilly areas have had an agricultural and residential vocation for centuries, with the original woods greatly reduced, especially in the areas to the south and east of the city. In the plain there are non-urbanized wetlands in the area west of the city along the Arno river.
San Gimignano stands on a place inhabited certainly by the Etruscans, at least from the third century BC. The hill was chosen for strategic reasons, being dominant (324 m a.s.l.) over the high Val d'Elsa. On the slopes of Poggio del Comune (624 m a.s.l.) there are the ruins of Castelvecchio, a village from the Lombard period. In the Middle Ages the city was located on one of the routes of the Via Francigena, which Sigeric, archbishop of Canterbury, traveled between 990 and 994 and which for him represented the 19th stage (Mansio) of his return itinerary from Rome to England. Sigeric named it Sce Gemiane, also indicating the village as a point of intersection with the road between Pisa and Siena.According to tradition, the name derived from the holy bishop of Modena, who would have defended the village from the occupation of Attila. to 998 and included the hill of Montestaffoli, where there was already a fortress seat of the market owned by the bishop of Volterra, and the poggio della Torre with the bishop's castle.