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Medici Fortress, Siena. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

The Medici Fortress of Siena: symbol of power

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The Medici Fortress of Siena was built starting from 1560 by order of the future Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I de’ Medici. This fortress is located in the heart of Siena, and was built where the old Spanish fortress was destroyed by the Sienese in 1552. The fortress was designed by Baldassarre Lanci and its construction was completed in 1563. Year in which the fortress took its current square shape with large bastions at the corners. The walls of the fortress are mainly made of bricks and stones.

The fortress is located in the highest part of the city. In an area that dominates most of Siena. Around the structure, in the northern part, there are the Lizza gardens. While on both longer sides of the walls there are large parking lots. Finally, other gardens with a fountain are located south of the fortress.


Also called Fortress of Santa Barbara this structure was built to prevent rebellions by the Sienese against the Florentine dominion, on three of the four bastions are still visible emblems of the Medici. The fortress has a single entrance located in the northern part, and has impressive size, excluding the ramparts it measures 180 meters long and 125 meters wide, while including in measuring the edges of the ramparts you get to 270 meters long and 200 meters width. The perimeter of the fortress reaches 1,500 meters long.

Fortezza Medicea, Siena. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

Medici Fortress, Siena. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

The Medici fortress is now a public park with a small open-air theater and a chance to walk on its ramparts from where you have beautiful views of Siena and the hills surrounding the city. Inside the Medici Fortress are two interesting exhibitions. The most important is located in the basement of the Fort and is the Enoteca Italiana, an institution dedicated to Italian wine, here you can taste and admire a collection of the most famous Italian wines (DOCG, DOC and IGT), there are over 1,500 wines, produced by more than 600 companies. The other exposure is managed by the Siena Jazz Association and is home to temporary exhibitions.

Enoteca Italiana: Open to the public: Monday to Saturday: 12.00-1.00 Sunday: Closed


  • AA. VV. “Toscana” Guide Rosse Touring Club Italiano, 2007
  • Pellegrini, E. “Le fortezze della Repubblica di Siena: vicende edilizie, significato strategico, condizioni operative dell’architettura fortificata rinascimentale nel conflitto tra Francia e Impero per il controllo del territorio senese” Il Leccio, 1992.
  • A cura di Pellegrini E. “Fortificare con arte. Mura, porte e fortezze di Siena nella storia” 2012, Betti

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