Siena's streets are lined with mediaeval and Renaissance palazzi built by the important families of the city - Chigi, Piccolomini, Tolomei, Salimbeni etc. Some had several palaces belonging to different branches of the family. Each palazzo are named after the family who lived there and some have double names to reflect the passing of a palazzo to a new family - as the fortunes of the familues rose and fell or marital alliances were made, palazzi were bought and sold. Unfortunately, the exteriors of the palazzi are difficult to see properly, because of Siena's narrow streets. Most are not open to the public, but some are museums and some - especially those in public ownership - are occasionally open for special exhibitions which gives one a chance to see the often lavish interiors. This guide describes only a fraction of the palazzi.