The Siena Cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and a significant sacred destination for Catholics, is an exceptional example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture in Italy. The Opera Duomo Museum, one of the first privately run museums in Italy, is also located in Siena Cathedral.
Siena Cathedral impresses with its Latin cross like structure, with a bell tower, dome, and projecting transept. While Venetian mosaics and rose stained-glass windows on the exterior facade add to the attractiveness. The rich interiors of the cathedral give it an outstanding aspect, and the marble mosaic inlay and graffito flooring equally steal the show.
The cathedral's extensive collection of works by Italy's prolific artists and sculptors such as Nicola Pisano, his son, Bernini, Donatello, and Michelangelo add to its majesty. The Baptismal Font, the Crypt, the Piccolomini Library, and the magnificent views of the Tuscan countryside from the Cathedral's terrace are all worth seeing.
The Opera del Duomo Museum Florence is the ideal location to uncover all the mysteries of the magnificent Florence Cathedral for housing a rich collection of paintings, sculptures, and art pieces of different eras. It is a remarkable illustration of the Renaissance treasures and a never-ending source of inspiration.
The significant collection of Sienese statues from the façade of the Cathedral is on display on the ground floor of the Opera Duomo Museum. Some of the attractions of this part include Pisano's magnificent marble statues of ancient Sibyls, Prophets, and Philosophers, Jacopo della Quercia's Madonna Enthroned with Child and Cardinal Casini, and Donatello's Madonna and Child. The huge stained glass window, which depicts three stories of the Virgin, the Evangelists, and the four patron saints of Siena—Bartolomeo, Crescenzio, Savino, and Sant'Ansano —is another noteworthy attraction.
The major attraction on the first level of the museum is an outstanding altarpiece by Duccio di Buoninsegna that showcases Italian pictorial art from the early fourteenth century. Given that the picture features more than forty figures in the front face and almost eighty in the rear, predelle, and crowning storylines, it is one of the largest artistic achievements in history. Saints and angels are shown in the front section, together with the seated Madonna, while the Passion of Christ is shown at the back, divided into twenty-six scenes. A remarkable collection of wooden sculptures and illuminated codices and a panel by Pietro Lorenzetti showing the Nativity of the Virgin are other highlights of this floor.
The Sala del Tesoro, or Treasure Room, of the Opera del Duomo Museum Florence houses over 200 precious liturgical artefacts. It also includes chalices and reliquaries, including enamels made by Goro di ser Neroccio and St. John's Reliquary of the Arm commissioned by Pius II to Francis of Anthony in 1466. The liturgical service of the Madonna del Voto chapel made of rock crystal set on a silver basis and embellished with translucent enamels is another attraction of this section. The furniture and gold rose, both from the mid-seventeenth century, are goldsmith art masterpieces exhibiting remarkable excellent carving and decorative techniques.
The Cathedral's exceptional collection of religious-themed paintings on canvas and wood, dating from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries, is mostly displayed in three rooms on the top floor of Opera del Duomo Museum Florence. The Madonna degli Occhi Grossi, one of the earliest artworks from the Sienese school, is on display in the first room, as well as a picture representing the Sienese people praying on the eve of the Battle of Montaperti to hand over the city to the Virgin. The two huge tables of the mid 15th century by Sano di Pietro depicting the Sermons of San Bernardino and the painting Madonna dell'Umiltà e santi by Gregorio di Cecco are other remarkable pieces.
The second room on the top floor of the Opera Duomo Museum, called Alfieri, exhibits the stunning altarpieces by Matteo di Giovanni. These include the Madonna enthroned with St. Bernardino and St. Anthony from the Baptistery and the Madonna enthroned with angels and four saints from the Celsi altar. The table made by Domenico Beccafumi in 1516 featuring St. Paul Enthroned is one of the most original art pieces in the section. While his beautiful polychrome terracotta pair of the Announced Virgin and the Announcing Angel made around 1545 are other attractions that add to the beauty of the room.
The Sala degli Arazzi is the last room on the top floor of the Opera Duomo Museum that displays the large intact designs created by the painters Alessandro Franchi and Luigi Mussini for the Duomo facade's mosaics of the cusps in 1878. It depicts the magnificent techniques of nineteenth-century artworks as well as a 17th-century wall. Other highlights of this area include the Cathedral's textile collection displayed along the walls and the exquisite Casula in Lucca jasper displayed in the centre of the space.
How many floors are there in the Opera Duomo Museum?
Opera del Duomo Museum Florence has three floors exhibiting artworks of Duccio di Buoninsegna, sculptures of Donatello, Jacopo della Quercia, and Giovanni Pisano, precious silk textiles, fine goldsmiths, illuminated codices, and much more.
What is on the ground floor of the Opera Duomo Museum?
The ground floor of the Opera Duomo Museum houses a notable collection of Sienese sculptures from the Cathedral's façade, including marble statues of Prophets, Sibyls, and Philosophers, Madonna Enthroned with Child and Cardinal Casini, and Donatello's Madonna and Child.
What is on the first floor of the Opera Duomo Museum?
The first floor of the Museum houses masterpieces of early fourteenth-century Italian pictorial art, including a beautiful altarpiece by Duccio di Buoninsegna and a panel by Pietro Lorenzetti.
Why visit the Opera Duomo Museum?
The Opera del Duomo Museum is a must-see for anybody who wants to see some of Italy's finest architectural masterpieces as well as a broad collection of paintings, sculptures, and furnishings from various centuries. It houses statues made for the church's exterior, the original Baptistry doors, and reliefs from the Bell Tower, among many other artistic marvels.
How old is the Siena Cathedral?
You need at least two hours to explore Siena Cathedral's impressive architecture, and interiors and admire its rich collection. However, if you are an ardent art fan you might want to spend more time perusing the museum's collection in depth.
How long does it take to visit Siena Cathedral?
The cathedral was designed and built between 1215 and 1263, with the dome added in 1264, making it around 750 years old. However, it has undergone numerous modifications and expansions over the years.
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