The star is just one of thousands of holiday makers to be attracted to the gloriously preserved medieval city each year. One of the highlights of the local calender, the race takes place in the central Piazza del Campo, Siena's usually café-lined "sitting room", a good place to hang out if you want to see and be seen.
A World Heritage Site since 1995, Siena is a warren of magnificent historical palaces, courtyards and churches. Chief among them is the elegant Palazzo Pubblico, the seat of Siena's government since the 13th century, and a treasure trove of frescoed masterpieces. Also worth a visit is the Duomo, a gothic cathedral begun in the 13th century and a fine example of Italian Romanesque architecture.
When travellers are done with urban pleasures, the stunning countryside in the immediate area also has plenty to offer. To the north lies Chianti wine country, which is dominated by thickly wooded hills and manicured vineyards. Also breathtaking is the Val D'Orcia, a plain of open vistas criss-crossed by lines of cypress trees.