This city is universally recognized for its artistic heritage and for the urban medieval style of its decor, as well as the famous Palio.

The historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

The city was originally founded as a Roman colony during the time of Emperor Augustus, with the name of Saena Lulia. Several Etruscan sites have been found inside the historical centre, which suggests that the city may have been founded by the Etruscans.