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VISIT SIENA

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Duomo and Piccolomini Library

Duomo and Piccolomini Library

Some consider this Romanesque-Gothic cathedral the most beautiful in Italy. Decorated with contrasting coloured marble both inside and out, it was built during the first half of the 13th century in Romanesque and Gothic-styles. It contains many artworks, including a superb 13th-century pulpit in Pisa’s Baptistery and father of Giovanni Pisano (who carved the pulpit in Pisa’s Duomo).The Cathedral pavement is another work of art upon which many famous artists of the time worked. Unfortunately, in order to protect it, it is visible only between August 23 and October 27, in honour of the Palio. Another masterpiece inside the Duomo is the Piccolomini Library (Libreria Piccolomini), built by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini (later Pius III) toh onor his uncle, Pope Pius II. The library was beautifully frescoed by Pinturicchio with scenes from the life of the Pope and contains the Three Graces, an exquisite Roman sculpture of the third century B.C. designed after a Greek model.

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Via di città

Via di città

Lovely road slope, flanked by superb palaces. At the beginning there is the Loggia della Mercanzia, construction from the 1400th century but still Gothic ornamentation, by Sano di Matteo and Pietro Minella, with statues of saints in niches of the pillars; at nr. 89 is the palast Chigi-Saracini (XIII Century), home of the famous Music academy Chigiana; at nr. you can find the palest Piccolomini delle Papesse, designed by Rossellino; at nr. 132 there’s the Gothic palest Marisli.

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Palazzo Pubblico

Il Palazzo Pubblico con la svettante Torre dei Mangia

At the low west point of the piazza, this impressive building is also known as Palazzo Comunale (town hall). Its graceful bell tower, the Torre del Mangia, is 102m high and dates from 1297. The lower level of its façade features a characteristic Sienese-Gotic arcade. Inside is the Museo Civico, based on a series of rooms with frescoes by artists of the Sienese school. Of particular note is Simone Marmondo. Completed and signed in 1315, it features the Madonna beneath a canopy, surrounded by saints and angels. It is one of the most important works of the Sienese school. In the Sala dei Nove is Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s fresco series depicting Allegories of Good and Bad Government, which are among the most significant to survive from the Middle Ages. There is also a chapel with frescoes by Taddeo di Bartolo.

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Pinacoteca Nazionale

Pinacoteca Nazionale

This picture gallery is housed in the 15th-century Palazzo Buonsignori and contains an espansive collection of art showing the inique Senese Renaissance style, which retained Greek and Bizantine influences long after realism came into play elsewhere (notably Florence), and amphasized rich coloration. It includes works from the 12th century to the first half of the 17th century. Guido of Siena, an early developer of the Sienese school, is well represented, along with the more famous Duccio, the real founder of the style; his painting of the Virgin is a marvel of delicacy and pathos. Also represented is Giovanni di Paolo – don’t miss his beautiful little painting of the Virgin.

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