When crossing Siena's piazza del Campo, I often wonder about the life of the people who walked this very same pavement more than 500 years ago. 

Christmas market on Piazza del Campo, Siena
Market stalls on Piazza del Campo

The twice yearly Palio in July and August is the prime time of the year to jump in and pretend you live in the Middle Ages. But if you're travelling Tuscany in the winter make sure you spend some time shopping the market stalls on piazza del Campo during the December Christmas market.

Feel like the busy maid of a Renaissance lady, whilst stocking up on all the Tuscan delicacies: Pecorino cheese from the Val d'Orcia, Cinta Senese salami and prosciutto, Tuscan wine and truffles, and Ricciarelli and Panforte (Siena's typical sweets) are the essential ingredients for a perfect Christmas lunch. 

Once the foodie in you is satisfied, move on and browse the local artisan work on show. No better place to find some beautifully crafted last minute Christmas gifts.

And after the shopping frenzy, enjoy the street artists and musicians or have a quiet minute inside Palazzo Pubblico's civic museum. It's in front of 'The Effects of the Good and Bad Government on the City and the Countryside' (Lorenzo Ambrogetti's famous fresco), that you'll truly figure out what life in the Middle Ages must have felt like. 

Siena Christmas Market on Piazza del Campo
Saturday and Sunday December 15/16 2012, from 8 am to 8 pm. 
Guided tours in Italian with the topic "Food and Markets in Siena from the Middle Ages to Today", are organised twice a day at 11 am and 4 pm. Check in the tourist office on Piazza del Campo for detailed info. 

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