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Siena Cathedral

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazza del Duomo, 8, 53100 Siena SI, Italy

Opening Hours

1:30 PM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"For an uncrowded experience at the Siena Cathedral, plan your visit in the early morning right when doors open, as the tour groups usually arrive later in the morning. Also, don't miss the hidden gem—the Piccolomini Library inside the cathedral, with its vibrant frescoes and unique manuscripts, which is often overlooked by visitors who are pressed for time."

What is Siena Cathedral?

Siena Cathedral, known locally as Duomo di Siena, is a breathtaking medieval church in Siena, Tuscany, Italy. This cathedral is an exemplar of Italian Gothic architecture and is renowned for its intricately carved façade, ornate mosaics, and the stunning marble floors that tell biblical stories. The visual impact of its black and white striped pillars, magnificent sculptures, and the combination of artistic treasures held within its walls make it a must-visit for anyone exploring the region.

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History of Siena Cathedral

The site where Siena Cathedral stands has been a space of spiritual significance since long before the current structure was conceived; it's believed to have been the location of a Roman temple. The cathedral's initial construction commenced in the 12th century, with the main phase of the work taking place between 1215 and 1263. The striking façade was completed later, in the 14th century.

Over the centuries, there have been multiple plans and attempts to expand the cathedral, most notably the ambitious but ultimately ill-fated plan to make it the largest church in Christendom in the 14th century. The Black Death and economic difficulties led to the abandonment of this grand expansion, leaving behind the unfinished 'New Cathedral' walls that are a poignant reminder of the cathedral's evolving history.

Why is Siena Cathedral Important?

Siena Cathedral isn't just an architectural marvel; it's a repository of Siena's cultural, artistic, and spiritual history. It's important for its embodiment of the city's wealth and artistic patronage during the Middle Ages. The cathedral's impressive library, Piccolomini Library, houses priceless illuminated choirs and frescoes by Pinturicchio that depict the life of Pope Pius II.

Moreover, Siena Cathedral is significant not just for its historical value but for its role in the local and religious community. It's deeply intertwined with the Sienese identity and the Palio, a historic horse race that embodies Siena's community spirit and is closely associated with the city's Contrade, or districts.

Things to Do & See at Siena Cathedral

Upon entering Siena Cathedral, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant marble mosaic floor—a masterpiece depicting biblical narratives and classical mythology, uncovered only at certain times of the year to protect it. Ascend the Gate of Heaven (Porta del Cielo) for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk above the cathedral's nave and enjoy a panoramic view of Siena and its surroundings.

Don't miss the chance to marvel at the works of Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini that adorn the interiors. The intricately designed pulpit by Nicola Pisano is another highlight, providing an incredible insight into Gothic artistry. Not to be overlooked, the adjacent OPA Museum (Museo dell'Opera) displays original statues from the façade and houses exceptional artworks, including Duccio di Buoninsegna's famed 'Maestà'.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Siena Cathedral?

The Siena Cathedral, known locally as Duomo di Siena, is a medieval church in Siena, Tuscany, known for its distinctive Gothic architecture and beautiful artworks. It is a major landmark and a testament to the religious, cultural, and artistic history of the city.

What are the opening hours of the Siena Cathedral?

The opening hours of the Siena Cathedral vary by season. Usually, it's open from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm during the tourist season and has shorter hours in the off-season. It is recommended to check the official website or contact the Cathedral for the most current information.

What features should visitors not miss when visiting the Siena Cathedral?

Visitors should not miss the cathedral's intricate facade, the unique black and white striped marble interior, the Piccolomini Library with its exquisite frescoes, the inlaid marble mosaic floor, and the artworks by prominent artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini.

Is there an admission fee for the Siena Cathedral?

Yes, there is an admission fee to enter the Siena Cathedral, which may include access to additional areas such as the Piccolomini Library, the Baptistry, and the Crypt. There are various ticket options, and it's advisable to check the latest prices and offers on the cathedral's official website.

Can visitors climb the tower at the Siena Cathedral for a view of the city?

Yes, visitors can climb up to the Facciatone, part of the unfinished nave of the 'New Cathedral' project, which offers panoramic views of Siena. This may require a separate ticket, and opening times might be different from the cathedral itself. It's important to verify current visiting conditions before planning your climb.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazza del Duomo, 8, 53100 Siena SI, Italy

Opening Hours

1:30 PM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps