was erected when the Council of Nine controlled the town. During the Roman time the market was held here. Since the 1300s it has been
civic and social meting point. The nine sectors int which its paving is divided remind inhabitants of the nine founders.
Part of the Fonte
(fountain) here is just a copy of Jacopo della Quercia’s creation,
which had to be removed because of weather damage. To see the originals head to the Complesso Museale di Santa
Maria della Scala.
In the summertime the square can be a difficult
place to walk around and practically impossible on the days when the famous Palio is held.
, Palazzo Pubblico or town hall stands proud over the square. The
Council of Nine had it constructed in 1297, as a symbolic and centre of republican power with the aim of reducing the control of feudal knights.
The ground floor is constructed in stone while brick was used for the
following storeys. The concave façade of the palazzo follows the shape
of the convex piazza thus creating a perfect balance between both.
can admire the courtyard of the palazzo free of charge, but there is an
admission ticket for the Museo Civico
sitting by the entrance of the
palazzo (tel. 0577 29 22 63). The museum showcases frescoes which,
unlike the widespread style of pieces of art from the era, are themed around
secular subjects. They were created by the Sienese school
here as in many other buildings of Sienese style are generally profuse.
There is a room with pictures of artists, mainly of Sienese origin, ranging from the 16th to the 18th century.
In the Sala del Risorgimento
there is a display of frescoes depicting the most important moments of the Unification of Italy
The Sala di Balia
is devoted to the struggle between the Sienese pope Alexander III and Frederick Barbarossa
following is the Anticamera del Concistoro
Lorenzetti’s Saints Catherine of Alexandria, John and Augustine
the Anticamera del Concistoro you can enter the Vestibolo
showcases, among other pieces, the wolf in bronze representing Siena.
By the Vestibolo is the Anticappella
. Frescoes depicting Greco-Roman
mythological and historical events or characters hang on its walls. The
chapel´s main attraction is Il Sodoma’s Holy Family and Saint Leonard
and the finely carved choir stalls
From the chapel enter the Sala
housing the most admired pieces of the palazzo: Simone
Martini’s Virgin Mary in Majest
y. In this hall there are also other
frescoes representing important events in Siena’s history with victorious outcomes.
Look up in the Sala del Concistoro
to admire Domenico Beccafumi’s Mannerist ceiling frecoes.
following room is the Sala dei Nove
which keeps the Allegories of Good
and Bad Government
by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, considered by Francesco da
Mosta to be one of the most captivating works in the country. The three
panels of the fresco are said to have been painted for those in
power to encourage them to keep the values of a republic in mind: Justice, Wisdom, Virtue
and Peace. The other frescoes Effects of Good Government
and Effects of
are depictions of Siena filled with happiness and taken
over by crime and death respectively.
For a good view from the
palazzo go up to the loggia from where you can see for miles, beyond the city into the countryside.Torre
, located by the Palazzo Comunale, the bell tower affording
great views of Siena only allows 30 people up at a time. It is certainly worth the high climb. The 102m tower was designed in the Sienese style in 1344 and was a real triumph of engineering at the time.
Other great monuments to visit around the Piazza del Duomo
, besides the cathedral are:
The Libreria Piccolomini
which houses the collection
of books that Enea Silvio Piccolomini
(Pious II) left and that his nephew
Pius III decided to keep in this library constructed especially to do so.
hall was frescoed by Pinturicchio
whose work show different events during those times. The hall is crowned by the
s, a reproduction of a 3rd century Greek piece.
Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana
also known as the Museo dell’Opera Duomo
sitting by the cathedral displays the original façade statues by
Giovanni Pisano. As they were made to be seen from below as the
faithful entered the cathedral they stretch forward and look rather unnatural.
by Duccio di Buoninsegna was created in the 1300s. It
was made to be placed on the high altar. Some parts of the panels
depict Jesus preaching, praying or being kissed by Judas and being
abandoned. Two nearby rooms house Jacopo della Quercia
’s statues of the
Fonte Gaia and another displays illustrations of the marble floor built in the 19th century.
Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and
Taddeo di Bartolo’s works, tapestries and manuscripts are showcased on the upper levels.
Underneath the cathedral to the north is a crypt
remained filled with rubble for 7 centuries. Fortunately it was opened at the beginning of
the 21st century, it is decorated with 13th century mural painting
which covers 180 sq-m of biblical scenes.
of Saint John
is located on Piazza San Giovanni. Its still not
completed façade is an example of true Gothic magnificence and its interior full of frescoes. The apse has been decorated with frescoes
representing the main events of Jesus´ life. The one portraying Jesus holding
his cross has a particularly interesting background which shows buildings such as Brunelleschi’s
Florentine dome and the campanile created by Giotto. In the rivalry
between the Sienese and Florentines the Sienese were apparently trying to pin the blame on the Florentines for Jesus´suffering.
It could be said that the font is the
most important element in this building. It was created by Jacopo della Quercia
who has represented the main events in Saint John the Baptist’s life. They were
made in bronze relief panels. It is impossible not to admire the
Baptism of Christ
and Saint John in Prison
by Lorenzo Ghiberti and