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Definition of SIENA
commune cen Italy in Tuscany pop 54,366
— Si·en·ese or Si·en·nese\ˌsē-ə-ˈnēz, -ˈnēs\adjective or noun
Variants of SIENA
Si·ena or Si·en·na\sē-ˈe-nä\
geographical name(Concise Encyclopedia)
City (pop., 2001: 54,366), western Italy. It is located south of Florence. Founded by the Etruscans, Siena later passed to the Romans and the Lombards; in the 12th century it became a self-governing commune. Rivalry with Florence made Siena the center of pro-imperial Ghibellinism in Tuscany. It was conquered by Charles I (Charles of Anjou), king of Naples and Sicily, in 1270 and joined the Guelph confederation (seeGuelphs and Ghibellines). It was an important banking and commercial centre until surpassed by Florence in the 13th–14th centuries. Conquered by the Holy Roman emperor Charles V in 1555, it was ceded to Florence in 1557. Modern Siena is a market town and tourist centre; historic sites there include the Gothic-Romanesque cathedral, the University of Siena (founded 1240), and the Piazza del Campo, where the Corsa del Palio, a horse race originating in medieval times, is still held.