Sunday, 1 December 2013

An Unusual Cathedral - the Duomo in Siena

The Duomo, the Cathedral in Siena is so unusual that it deserves a separate post of its own.  I walked in and didn't know where to start - every inch of the cathedral was covered with something special that would make you want to stop and look, admire it, wonder at it, or gape in awe.  It almost overwhelmed the senses - but it made for a memorable visit.

What you see when you walked in - stunning!

When you looked down - every inch of the floor was decorated with marble mosaics (this is the She-wolf of Siena with the emblems of the confederate cities from the 14th century)

When you looked up - the hexagonal dome with Bernini's gilded lantern

When you look back towards the entrance, you see the stained glass of the Last Supper in the intricate facade

One of the inlaid marble floors almost looked modern

The ornate Carrara marble pulpit sculpted by Nicola Pisana in the 13th century

St. John the Baptist Chapel with the bronze statue of St. John sculpted by Donatello

Detail in the baptismal font - Adam & Eve and the apple

Inside the magnificent Piccolomini library (part of the Cathedral) with its stunning frescoes in the ceiling and the three graces in the centre of the chamber

One of the many gorgeous illuminated manuscripts around the room

Looking back towards the entrance

The facade of the cathedral - apparently the bottom half was romanesque and the top half which was added later was gothic - notice how the pinnacles in the top half are not continuations of the columns at the bottom - unusual architecturally and structurally questionable, yet it has remained standing since the 13th century.

Mosaics in the facade

The mix of pink and white marble in the facade together with the intricate Sienese workmanship made this one of the most impressive structures in Siena - the bronze door was a modern addition just after the Second World War, but it blended right in.

The steep hike from the Baptistry to the Cathedral

The elaborate baptistry with its beautiful  bronzes

Donatello bronze at a corner
Bell-tower of black and white marble
Also worth a visit is the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo attached to the Cathedral.   What I found most interesting was the original drafts for the mosaic floor in the Cathedral.  They were so massive and overwhelming in the Cathedral it was good to see them in perspective as part of a floor plan.

A truly unique cathedral!

No comments:

Post a Comment