Your itinerary begins at the Duomo. Here the most innovative artists of the 1400s conceived of their pictorial and sculpture cycles, including Bernardino di Betto, called Pinturicchio, who was commissioned to fresco the interior of the Piccolomini Library located inside the Cathedral. The library was created to house Pope Pius II’s collection and celebrate the splendor in an elegant yet exuberant format. The space under the frescos house a collection of antiphons decorated with some of the most amazing miniatures of the 15th century. The sculptures found inside are equally as illustrious and include works by Donatello, Vecchietta, Francesco di Giorgio and Michelangelo. The marble inlays in the floors represent another example of true Renaissance mastery, created by some of the 15th and 16th centuries greatest artists including Matteo di Giovanni, Guidoccio Cozzarelli, Benvenuto di Giovanni Antonio Federighi and, above all, Domenico Beccafumi, who designed 13 of them.
The Duomo, with its white marble and its spires, reminds us of one of Siena’s famous sweets—the Cavallucci biscuits covered with candied sugar and filled with almond paste. Their delicious smell permeates the historic center as bakers add the candied fruits or amaretto. Their origins are interesting: they were offered to visitors arriving on horseback as they were nutritious and easy to eat during a long journey in the saddle. Today, they are one of the town’s most treasured traditions.