Siena, Italy

Church of St. Christopher

The piazza, at the centre of which is a column with the famous Sienese Wolf (1610), is dominated by the splendid Palazzo Tolomei. The palazzo was built around the middle of the 1200s to house the Clique of the Tolomei (the powerful Sienese family hostile to the Salimberi) and later rebuilt after a ruinous fire. It has a refined façade with bifora (two-arched) windows and a large living room on the ground floor that we can see today.

On the opposite side of the square the neo-classical façade of the church of Saint Christopher stands out. The church is among the oldest in Siena, and between the twelfth and thirteenth century was the seat of the great Council of the Republic, the Council of the Bell.

The church was notably damaged by the earthquake of 1798, and today, apart from the new façade, has been shortened. The cloister annex to the church, probably from the beginning of the 1200s, was also heavily altered during the restoration of 1921.