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Fortezza Medicea, or sometimes called the Fort of Saint Barbara, is a fort built in the city between 1561 and 1563 on the orders of Duke Cosimo, a few years before he became the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. Fortezza Medicea was built in the place where the Spanish had already built a “citadel”, then destroyed by the rioting Sienese. A venue for temporary exhibitions, the Fortress today hosts the cultural association Siena Jazz that organizes courses for musicians and music workshops, and the Enoteca Italiana that holds a wine show with sampling of the finest Italian wines.
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Fortezza Medicea was restored in the 20th century and finally transformed into a public park. The Fortress is all brick, placed on a sloping base surmounted by a big string course, still in brick. Four posing cuneiform bastions rise on each corner of the fort, three of which having the coat of arms of the Medici family overlying a lion's head. On the sides of the fortress there are the so-called “piazze basse” (low squares) used to pull artillery pieces indoor. The dimensions are truly remarkable: the internal quadrangle is about 180 metres long and 125 wide, while the outer edges of the bastions describe an external quadrangle about 200 metres wide and 270 long. The entire outer perimeter of the fortress measures about 1,500 metres. In the internal premises you can find the Siena Jazz Association. At the centre of the Fortress there is an amphitheater used for open-air cinema in the summer and for performances and concerts. On the outer perimeter you can find the Parco della Rimembranza, with the spectacular fountain of San Prospero, and the Lizza Gardens. There so many things to do at Fortezza Medicea to spend the day. Today, you can find people of all ages walking with friends, running, or sitting on the benches and indentations in the walls throughout the day. It's a hangout spot for teenagers, a trail for runners, and calming place to stroll with your child, dog, or friends. Not only that, but it has a breathtaking view of the city and the rolling hills of Tuscany beyond Siena's walls.
While you are at Fortezza Medicea, visit the Enoteca inside the fortress. It is an Italian wine shop, the home of the Siena Jazz Foundation, and occasionally an art exhibit, festival, or concert. Inside are several rooms with hundreds of bottles of wine, along with small tables for tastings and a bar area. Even further inside, a spiral staircase leads far down below into aisles and aisles of spacious lounge areas surrounded by shelves of wine that were separated and labeled by region. Take the wine tasting tour and you will be impressed by the local wine.
How to Get Tickets?
No tickets needed to get a tour of things to do at Fortrezz Medicea. It is the place where people come and hangout most of the time. You can visit without paying for tickets or tours.
How To Get Around?
The Fortress is accessible on foot, you can walk through all the area. It is easy to find your way everywhere by walking. Wheelchairs and strollers are accessible as well.
What Should I Wear?
Depends on what your purpose to visit this fortress. If you want to walk around and maybe do a little jogging, wear some good shoes and workout outfit. However, if you want to do the wine-tasting and nice dinner, you can dress up a little bit for this special occasion. However, you can always wear anything casual to do your tour at Fortezza Medicea.
Best Time to Visit
It is best to take a tour at Fortezza Medicea either early in the morning or in the evening for dinner.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, you can find your own way in the Fortress area and you can find everything you need on this website. However, if you want to learn more about the wine, you can take a tour with the “wine guide” at the restaurant.
How To Get There?
Fortezza Medicea is located in the city center and easy to find. You can walk here if you are already in the city center. If you take the bus, you can stop at the nearest bus station, which is only 2 minutes' walk from the Fortress.