Siena cathedral has it's beginings around 1200 a.d.
We know that the transport of the black and white marble
blocks was being recorded by 1225.
color scheme of black and white may derive from some
ancient tradition or from the simple availability of the
stone. Black and white are also the
colors of the Dominican order of preachers that
predominated in the religious life of Siena.
1339 the cathedral underwent a massive renovation and
enlargement, extending a new nave from the old one,
which in turn would have become the transept.
The great Black Plague that spread over all of
Italy in 1348 reduced the city to a standstill, both
artistically and financially, returning several
times during the rest of the century.
the plans to make the church one of the biggest in
Europe had to be put aside and when work resumed in 1376
the original nave was kept and embellished by new
architects. Year by year new additions
were raised, and the present gothic facade was created
by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano.
One can still see the remains of the huge
unfinished nave, reaching out to the right of the present church.
interior is one of the most lavish in Italy. The
floor inlays are the most amazing marble work to be seen,
covering the entire floor of the cathedral.
The extraordinay marble pulpit was sculpted by the
Pisanos with the help of the young Arnolfo di Cambio.
to be missed is the Piccolomini Library, inside the
church itself with its collection of hand crafted and
decorated choir books lining the lower walls which were
skillfully frescoed by Pinturicchio.
and keeping their original bright colours, these amazing
series of paintings, based on the life of Pope
Pius II Piccolomini, might be called the Sistine chapel