The street of the Sienese dyers
Via della Galluzza is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and picturesque alleys in Siena thanks to a series of arches and the steepness of the street.
However, this architecture is anything but medieval: the only arch dating back to the Middle Ages is the one at the corner of Vicolo di Costaccino alley, which in size and structure appears to be the archway of a door. Meanwhile, the other arches were added in the early 19th century to support the crumbling buildings on either side of the street, which were heavily damaged in the 1798 earthquake.
The name of Via della Galluzza comes from the presence of the poultry market held between this street and Costarella street. But the etymology of ‘Galluzza’ could also derive from ‘galla’ or ‘gallozza’ terms used by tanners and dyers. Gall refers to a swelling in trees, typically oaks, turkey oaks and beeches, caused by an insect that hides its larvae inside the truck. The gallic and tannic acid contained in the gall were widely used in the Middle Ages by dyers for tanning hides, but also to make ink.
This unusual alleyway didn’t go unnoticed when Siena was chosen as the filming location for the action film Six Underground starring the famous actor Ryan Reynolds. In fact, some scenes were filmed on Via della Galluzza with the arches lending themselves perfectly to acrobatic and spectacular jumps.