The flourishing civilization of 13th- and 14th-century Siena produced a wealth of magnificent artistic and architectural creations, from intricately crafted jewellery, innumerable panel paintings adorned with gold leaf, sculptures, frescoes, and illuminated manuscripts of exemplary quality. Today we still admire these works in addition to the walls that surround the city, its cathedral and churches, the venerable hospital, public squares, and imposing towers.
But something else created during this time was perhaps of much greater significance to its inhabitants. A network of underground channels extending some 25 kilometres (15ó miles) the bottini supplied water to the city’s fountains. This Herculean undertaking was executed by innumerable anonymous workers and has been scrupulously maintained since its inception. A descent into the bowels of the city itself, this system still thrills those fortunate enough to gain access. Thanks to the dedication of the city-sponsored volunteer association ‘La Diana’, the history of this unique aspect of Siena’s rich patrimony is proudly shared and preserved.