Siena boasts a delightful old center, the famous Piazza del Campo and many churches. On top of all that, there is a place in Siena where beauty is so concentrated that it is almost overwhelming: Piazza del Duomo.
To make the most of it, you should buy the special pass that lets you visit all the treasures of this square, saving a bit of money, too. It’s called Opa SI Pass and is a combined ticket that includes entry to the whole complex of the Cathedral of Siena.
The Cathedral of Siena s one of the most beautiful ones in the world and one of the most illustrious examples of Romanesque-Gothic cathedrals in Italy. It is a treasure trove of incredible artistic gems: statues by Michelangelo, Donatello and Bernini, the pulpit by Nicola Pisano, paintings on wood and canvas as well as fresco cycles and extraordinary stained-glass windows. Plus there is a unique treasure, which is usually kept out of sight: the floor. It is one of the most incredible works of art of all time, with a spectacular inlaid marble mosaic described by Giorgio Vasari as “the most beautiful, largest and most magnificent floor that was ever made”. As beautiful as fragile, the floor is normally covered by sheets in order to protect it, but you can see it uncovered for a few months every year.
The Cathedral leads to the splendid Libreria Piccolomini, frescoed by Pinturicchio.
The Baptistery of San Giovanni, in the back of the Cathedral, features an impressive staircase. Admire the frescoes that completely decorate the magnificent vaults, the most extensive and articulated religious cycle of the Sienese Renaissance. Notice the splendid baptismal font, a Renaissance masterpiece by Jacopo della Quercia, Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti.
The Crypt had remained hidden for more than seven centuries before it was brought to light with one of the most important archaeological discoveries: a grandiose pictorial cycle dating to the thirteenth century.
The Museo dell'Opera del Duomo is home to many works once in the cathedral and some of the must-see treasures of Italian art, including the famous Maestà by Duccio di Buoninsegna – the largest altarpiece ever painted – the Golden Rose by Bernini, the Madonna and Child by Donatello and the Crucifix by Pisano.
Last, but not least, the Facciatone - big façade of the Duomo Nuovo - the enormous "trunk" still remaining from the impressive 1339 project, aiming at enlarging the Cathedral, and abandoned in 1348 due to economic and statics problems. Climb up to its panoramic terrace that takes you to the roofs: the view over the city and the surrounding countryside will take your breath away!
Firs of all, take your time! The Pass is valid for three consecutive days.
OPA SI PASS:
OPA SI PASS with uncovered floor:
All tickets can be purchased online here.