Duomo di Siena (Siena Cathedral), Siena (must see)
The dome has a hexagonal base and supporting columns. Famous sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the lantern on top of the dome. The bell tower features six bells; the oldest bell was cast in 1149. The Cathedral was built with white and dark-colored marble in alternating stripes. White and black are the colors of Siena and represent the white and black horses of the city's founders, Senius and Aschius.
Giovanni Pisano, Nicola Pisano's son, created the west facade with carved sculptures of the prophets and philosophers. The original sculptures are now housed in the Cathedral Treasures Museum, while copies are displayed in the facade.
The mosaic inlay floor is the Cathedral's prized possession and has been called the most beautiful floor ever made. Fifty-six inlay panels were drawn by various Sienese artists and transposed into the marble mosaic inlay.
The most celebrated Italian artists created artwork on display in the Cathedral. Donatello created a statue of St. John the Baptist in the St. John the Baptist chape. Michelangelo carved four statues, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Pius, and St. Augustine, for the Piccolomini altar. Gian Lorenzo Bernini carved the statues of St. Mary Magdalen and St. Jerome in the Chapel of the Vow. Nicola Pisano carved the pulpit that can be seen in the north transept.
A copy of Duccio di Boninsegna's stained glass window is on display. The original is in the Cathedral Treasures Museum. Several other notable stained glass works beautify the Cathedral.
The Cathedral Choir features eight wood-carved inlays by Fra Giovanni da Verona. Underneath the choir, a narthex, long filled with rubble, was excavated between 1999 and 2003. The excavation uncovered 13th-century frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Christ.
Why You Should Visit
The Siena Cathedral is regarded as one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in Italy and shows the pinnacle of Siena's beauty and commitment to artistry. Statues by Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini are just some of the artworks on display.
Inside the main entrance, there's a sign with a map of the Cathedral's floorplan. Take a photo of this map with your phone, so you don't get lost as you explore the massive Cathedral and take in all the sights.
The Cathedral is open until 7 pm and is less crowded in the early evening. The floor is only uncovered during specific dates; check online to see if the floor is uncovered during your visit.
Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Siena. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Duomo di Siena (Siena Cathedral) on Map
Walking Tours in Siena, Italy
Siena established the Council of Nine in 1270. This Council was responsible for a flourishing economy, a focus on art, and a building boom. In 1348, Siena was... view more
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
While most Italian cities have a church on their main square, Siena's famous Piazza Del Campo gathers around the city hall, known as Palazzo Pubblico... view more
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
No tour of Siena is complete without visiting its heart, the... view more
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles