Siena Cathedral


The Cathedral of Siena (Italian: Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta ) is the main church of the city of Siena in Tuscany. Today is the built of a distinctive black and white marble building is an important example of Gothic architecture in Italy.

  • 3.1 pulpit and other sculptural works
  • 3.2 Mosaic Floor
  • 3.3 stalls and windows
  • 3.4 Piccolomini Library

Architectural History

The cathedral was built from a three-nave Romanesque basilica. Today, the building still presented as such, but with gothic increased and eingewölbtem Nave, complicated, multi-wing transept and a Gothic choir. Romance remained irregular hexagonal dome over the crossing, which is responsible for many of the irregularities of the building. Construction began in 1229. 1263 the cathedral was largely completed. The construction of approximately 77 m high tower lasted until the year 1313.

A final magnification was 1339 started but never completed due to lack of money and problems of statics; today are just north aisle and facade of the " Duomo Nuovo " to see that hint at the grandeur of the unfinished plan. The church, which would continue to be used today as a cathedral transept, should in the dimensions of Old St. Peter's, excel at that time one of the largest churches in the world. 1357, work on the cathedral were set according to the ravages of the plague in Siena.

Reasons for this are in the literature droughts, famines, and pestilences bank failures, also indicated the inadequacy of the soil. So quite enough these explanations do not seem to be, because about the same time the Florentines decided to crowning their unfinished cathedral with a dome of immense size, by the time you did not know how that would be to create. Florence was at that time a very self- conscious city that risked much, Siena splendor and power were over. Moreover, it was a great city like Florence better overcome the consequences of the plague as a small as Siena.



The triaxial western front with pointed triangular gables is decorated by a series of columns, statues and inlaid marble. It should be begun by Giovanni Pisano, but actually dated after 1370. You in 1380 completed and recalls the earlier, begun by Orvieto facade 1310.

The frequently in the literature to be read supposed " takeover of French sculpture program " is easily as unfounded. The Gothic sculptures program in France and Germany is distributed to the entire lower half of the facade, with emphasis on the entrance doors, so on the ground plane. In the Italian Gothic facades the characters just getting started upstairs and hang on by. It has been designed almost seems as if the church as a Romanesque building and has begun and we had not decided on the second floor, continue building gothic.

The Campanile dates from the first half of the 14th century and is modeled on Pisan- Romanesque Lombard bell towers.

Interior decoration

Pulpit and other sculptural works

Conspicuous among the art treasures inside the octagonal pulpit of Niccolò Pisano (or Nicola Pisano ) 1266-1268. You rests on pillars, which are supported by lions. Numerous statues and bas-reliefs by Renaissance artists, such as the Pecci - grave slab of Donatello, adorn the altars and chapels.

The Piccolomini altar is located in the north aisle.

Mosaic Floor

The floor of the cathedral is almost unique in its kind. It is artfully engraved marble slabs and inlay work in color and black and white. From the 14th to the 16th century were constructed according to the designs of 40 partly still famous artists of their time more than 50 panels that cover the entire floor of the cathedral. It will be shown to wisdom and virtues of the ancient world scenes with biblical themes, as well as allegories, as well as Prophets and Sibyls as a common harbinger of the Messiah. As one of the most beautiful works can be considered below the domes, the scenes from the story of Abraham, Moses and Elijah. They come from Domenico Beccafumi, who also designed other scenes.

Choir stalls and windows

The choir is also worth mentioning: the older games (from the original choir ) are decorated with inlay work; the other from the 16th century are carved from drawings by Riccio.

The chancel window (now the original is in the Cathedral Museum ) was designed by Duccio di Buoninsegna.

Piccolomini Library

The Piccolomini Library, adjacent to the cathedral, was by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini (later Pope Pius III. ) Founded in honor of his uncle Pius II. Here are Pinturicchio's frescoes with scenes from the famous of the later Pope life and a collection of choir books (on carved tables) with paintings by Sienese and other artists.


In the Baptistery of San Giovanni, which is set in the substructures of the Cathedral Choir ( 1325 cultivation was done), you go via an external flight of marble stairs of 1451st The beautiful but incomplete facade, designed by Giovanni di Mino del Pellicciaio 1382. Inside there is a baptismal font with bronze reliefs by Donatello, Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and other sculptors of the 15th century. The frescoes of the vault resulted from the Sienese painter Vecchietta.

Donatello, faith

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Donatello, Hope

Giovanni di Turino, Carita

Giovanni di Turino, Giustizia

Giovanni di Turino,

Giovanni di Turino,

Donatello, The Baptism of Jesus

Goro di Neroccio

The ceiling

The ceiling

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

The Opera del Duomo contains the window of the Cathedral Choir Duccio di Buoninsegna's also famous Maestà, which was 1308-1311 painted for the cathedral, as well as other works of art that come from the context of the cathedral. Through the museum, you can enter the façade of the " Duomo Nuovo ", which was never completed (see above).