Today we visit the beautiful cathedral of Siena. It is practically on our doorstep. First we stop for a quick breakfast at Bar 4 Cantoni where there is an array of pastries and sandwiches. Everyone picks what they like best and we all choose cappuccino, of course.
Then it is off to the Siena Cathedral. While John is buying tickets Sarah and I wandering around the outside taking pictures.
Once inside you are struck by the immense space and the amazing marble inlaid floors. Giorgio Vasari described the floor as “the most beautiful…largest, and most magnificent…that ever was made.” Early floors had figures scratched in while later ones were made of intricate pieces.
There is one large floor inlay which shows the emblems of nearby cities. We have been to nearly every one!
Hanging off the main church on the left is the Piccolomini Library which was begun in 1495 for Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini who later became Pope Pius III. Inside is a priceless collection of illunimated 15th century musical manuscripts. On the walls are frescoes depicting the life of the cardinal’s uncle who became Pope Pius II.
Another highlight of the cathedral is the Pisano Pulpit. It was carved by Nicola Pisano and his students from 1256 to 1268. The octagonal pulpit is held aloft by nine columns some of which stand on stone lions. It is full of Christian stories and symbols.
A few more pictures of the beautiful Siena Cathedral.
We have all been keeping touch with each other while we look around at the things that interest us most. Now we all head to the Opera del Duomo which holds other artwork of the cathedral.
The most significant work housed here is Duccio’s Maesta, a very large altarpiece painted in 1308-1311. There are over 40 figures on the front and over 80 on the back where the Passion of Christ is depicted.
On the upper floor are other 13th century artworks by Sienese painters.
After a long morning’s work of looking at all sorts of wonderful art, we head to Il Ghibellino where we had eaten an iffy lunch on a previous trip. This lunch also had some iffy components, especially Ryan’s.
After lunch we head back to the cathedral complex. We visit the Baptistry and everyone but I visit the Crypt. At this point I could not walk up the millions of steps with no railings on uneven stone. I head back to the hotel and give my poor knee a little rest.
I have many pictures from prior trips of the baptismal font and the great frescoes. This time I zeroed in on Sienese Andrea Vanni’s 14th century altarpiece.
I quite like the fact that St. Stephen with the rocks on his head to the left of the Virgin has the exact same head position and look as the Virgin. the elongated head and thin, slanted eyes are real hallmarks of Sienese Renaissance art.
Later we go out to the campo for some drinks and free food. Tonight we get white pizza and crostini with our drinks. It is hard to take much in the way of pictures because it is really foggy.