To kick off with the new image of the blog we have this really nice card from Siena along some great stamps!
Siena is a medieval city in the region of Tuscany, located in the north of Italy 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 a proud, wealthy, and warlike independent city-state during the Middle Ages, until its final defeat by Florence. Medieval Sienese art (painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.) is unique and of great historical importance. Sienese people are fiercely proud of their city and their neighborhood. The Palio, a horse race like nowhere else (between the 17 contrade of Siena, is run in The Campo of Siena on July 2 and August 16). All Sienese are affiliated with one of the contrade, to which a typical Sienese feels loyal with a strength perhaps surpassed only by their loyalty to their family, is all about neighborhood pride and rivalry, and also constitutes the unbroken continuation of a Medieval tradition.
That said, this is a city which depends and flourishes on tourism. Siena was a very poor little city for a few hundred years after its defeat, which is the main reason that its lovely Medieval buildings were never torn down and replaced with modern structures. In the 19th century, tourists started coming. Nowadays, it is a requirement that new buildings within the city walls be built to maintain the city's character and beauty - many are strikingly modern, yet fit in well.