Duomo di Siena

Stunning dome

Stunning dome

In a country overrun with churches, Siena’s 13th-century Romanesque and Gothic Duomo really stands out.

Massive, striking interior

Massive, striking interior

This striped marble building is one of the most striking cathedrals I’ve ever seen. The interior pops with bold bands of black and white (the colors of Siena’s coat of arms) and vivid blue vaults.

Plaster popes keep watch

Plaster popes keep watch

14th-century mosaic, "She-Wolf of Siena"

14th-century mosaic, “She-Wolf of Siena”

The inlaid-marble floor depicts historical and biblical subjects in 56 panels by 40 artists, created from the 14th to 16th centuries.

The west façade with three portals

The west façade with three portals

Bell tower

Bell tower

The exterior is white, green and red marble. Statues of philosophers and prophets adorn the sides (copies, though, since the originals are in the Museo dell’Opera).

Libreria Piccolomini: frescos on every wall

Libreria Piccolomini: frescos on every wall

Libreria Piccolomini ceiling

Libreria Piccolomini ceiling

As if the cathedral weren’t enough, there’s the overwhelming Libreria Piccolomini, which was constructed by Pope Pius III to house the books of his uncle, Pope Pius II. The frescos depict the career of Pius II, which also included posts as diplomat, poet laureate, bishop and cardinal.

Looking up

Looking up

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