The Allegory of the Good and Bad Government in Siena

allegoria-del-buon-governoThe Allegory of the Good and Bad Government (Allegoria del Buon Governo, in Italian) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (c. 1290 – 9 June 1348) is a huge fresco painted from 1337 to 1339 in the Sala dei Nove (Room of the Nine), in Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall). The Allegory of the Good and Bad Government is a large assembly of metaphorical figures painted with frescoes on three out of four walls. The Allegory is composed of:
  • Allegory of the Good Government
  • Effects of Good Government on Town and Country
  • Allegory of Bad Government and its Effects on Town and Country

Why it is so important:

These frescoes are so famous and relevant for art history because they are an irreplicable snapshot of everyday life in Siena’s steady Republican government during the Middle Ages, the first panoramic town and countryscape since antiquity. Elements of normal life are intertwined with religious ones, so important in the city at that time.

We found some good websites that analyze the panels: - The Allegory of the Good and Bad Government’s story and meaning - The Allegory of the Good and Bad Government’s pictures’ close examination While observing the Allegory, try to find the hourglass: this is the earliest evidence of this time related tool in a piece of art!

How to get there:

Go to Siena (by train or car) and then walk to it’s main square, Piazza del Campo. Once you arrive, you’ll face the huge city hall, the Palazzo Pubblico, with it’s tall tower, Torre del Mangia. Enter the palace, you’ll find directions for “Museo Civico or Palazzo Comunale”. Openings:
  • November 1st – March 15th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (the ticket office closes at 5:15 p.m.)
  • March 16th - October 31st from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (the ticket office closes at 6:15 p.m.)
  • Christmas: closed
  • January 1st : from noon to 6 p.m.
  • 8€
  • 7€ groups (over 15 people)
  • 4,5€ (students, over 65 years of age, soldiers)
  • free (kids until 11 years old, students guides, group guides -1 every 15 people-, disabled people and their guides)