Located some 50km (31 miles) south of Florence, medieval Siena is often seen as the female counterfoil to Renaissance Florence. At her heart lies the magnificent shell-like piazza, Il Campo, scene of the famous bareback horse race, Il Palio, which whips the town into a frenzy, twice a year. Must-sees include the humbug-striped cathedral, the majestic Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) topped by the soaring Torre del Mangia. Named after the medieval bell-ringer, the tower offers magnificent views. No visit is complete without a wander through Siena's cool, warren-like streets that wind around Il Campo. From Florence, Siena is best reached by bus. No cars are allowed into the city and Siena's train station is on a branch line, requiring a change at Empoli. Coaches depart from the SITA station on Via Santa Caterina, by the main railway station, at least every hour (journey time - 1 hour 15 minutes).