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Discover Siena Cathedral "Santa Maria Assunta" and its art treasures

Cathedral of Siena city view Siena Cathedral choir with carved inlays Siena Cathedral interior with pulpit Siena Cathedral facade with stripes in light and dark marble Siena Cathedral library wall painting

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the cathedral of Siena, is one of the most sublime and important Romanesque-Gothic churches in Italy. Some of Italy's greatest art treasures await you inside. These make Siena Cathedral truly one of the top sights in Tuscany.

Experience Siena's richly decorated cathedral and its art treasures

About the cathedral of Siena

According to tradition, the current cathedral replaces an earlier church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which was built around the 9th century on the site of a temple for the cult of Minerva. Equally unconfirmed rumours say that the building was consecrated in 1179 in the presence of the Sienese Pope Alexander III Bandinelli, after the papacy had made peace with Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.

Work continued for another two centuries or so: the bell tower was completed in 1313 and the extension of the entire building began in 1317. During the Middle Ages, Siena reached the height of its power and an even larger cathedral was to be built. However, an outbreak of plague in 1348, which led to a drastic decline in the population, put an end to these plans. Today, traces of the ambitious project can be seen in the remains of the columns and the large unfinished façade.

The façade

The white marble façade with decorations in red Sienese marble and green serpentine from Prato is divided into two parts: The lower half was designed by Giovanni Pisano in the Romanesque-Gothic style, while the upper half is modelled on Florentine Gothic, such as the beautiful rose window, around which are Gothic niches with busts of the apostles and prophets praising the Madonna and Child.

The floor mosaics

The cathedral is home to numerous masterpieces from all eras, but its marble mosaic and graffito floor is in many ways its most valuable possession. Work on the floor we see today began in the 14th century but was not completed until the 19th century. The inlays are divided into 56 panels and show depictions relating to the Book of Revelation.

The sculptures in Santa Maria Assunta

The greatest sculptors of all time have worked for Siena Cathedral. They include Nicola Pisano, who sculpted the pulpit between 1265 and 1268, his son Giovanni, who created the sculptures for the façade, Donatello, who created the statue of St John the Baptist in the chapel of the same name, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who sculpted the statues of St Mary Magdalene and St Jerome in the "Cappella del Voto" or Chapel of the Vow. The Piccolomini altar also features four sculptures from Michelangelo's youth: the four saints St Peter and St Paul, St Pius and St Augustine.

The works of other sculptors can also be seen in the cathedral, such as the funerary monument to Cardinal Riccardo Petroni, some magnificent holy water columns on the first two pillars of the nave, the Holy Saturday fountain in the Chapel of the Baptist and eight forged angels mounted on the columns near the high altar.



  • The paintings in Siena Cathedral: Although many paintings are now kept in Italian and foreign collections, numerous works have also been preserved in Siena Cathedral: fantastic panels, canvases and fresco cycles.The altarpieces in the cathedral's altars are particularly worth seeing as representative works of the 17th century.
  • The stained glass windows of the church: The cathedral of Siena also has artistic stained glass windows. The most important one, which once stood above the apse, was recently replaced by a copy. In the eye of the façade is a stained glass window depicting the Last Supper, which was created by Pastorino de' Pastorini in 1549. Below it, in the centre, you can see the coat of arms of the rector Azzolino de' Cerretani, supported by two putti, as well as the name of the artist and the date. Also noteworthy are the twelve open stained glass windows along the tambour of the dome, which depict the apostles and were created by Ulisse de Matteis in 1886.
  • The choir of the cathedral: The thirty-eight inlays originally belonged to the choir of the Abbey of Monteoliveto Maggiore (1503-1505), but were transported to the cathedral in 1813 at the behest of the Archbishop of Siena and installed in the two side wings of the 14th century choir. Thanks to his remarkable skills as a faber lignarius, the artist created magnificent objects and symbols of science and theology.


Opening hours

The opening hours of Siena Cathedral change very frequently depending on the season and church holidays.

Please check the opening times for your visit on the website https://operaduomo.siena.it/en/visiting/

Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time 



Please show your Florence City Pass (QR code) at the ticket counter to receive an admission ticket. It is not necessary to book in advance.

The entrance ticket for the cathedral in Siena is already included in your Florence City Pass.


Important information and restrictions

  • Special tours of Siena Cathedral: In order to enjoy a very special view of the ornate interior of Siena Cathedral, the "Gate of Heaven" was created, a fascinating tour under the ceilings and over the galleries of the cathedral, which is open to the public for a limited period of the year.The floor, which is usually covered for two-thirds of the year with special cloths to protect it from the wear and tear caused by age and the footsteps of visitors, is uncovered in August, after the Palio dell'Assunta, until the end of October
  • Wheelchair accessible (cathedral, unfortunately no access to the crypt possible) 
  • No animals allowed 
  • Pushchairs must be left at the entrance / ticket counter 



How to get there

There are regular train and bus connections from Florence to Siena. 

From the bus station in Florence, you can reach Siena in just 75 minutes. Alternatively, you can also take the train. It takes around 1.5 hours from the main railway station in Florence to Siena. On weekdays, there are about two connections per hour for both modes of transport. Please note that there are fewer connections at weekends than on weekdays. 

If you are travelling by car: From Florence you can reach Siena in about an hour's drive, the distance is just over 70 kilometres.



Duomo di Siena
Piazza del Duomo 2
53100 Siena SI, Italia 

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