Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy

The Cathedral of Siena is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular buildings that you can visit in Tuscany, but its real treasure is actually the one that’s normally kept out of sight, and you’re walking all over it! The magnificent complex of the Cathedral of Siena includes the complex where the crypt is, the Baptistry and the Museum of the same commercial large amount consisting of the "Old Cathedral" and the "New Cathedral".

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Gothic Facade 1284-1317, Romanesque Bell Tower 131
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The entire floor of Siena’s Cathedral is in fact one of the most incredible works of art of all time

The entire floor of Siena’s Cathedral is in fact one of the most incredible works of art of all time: a spectacular inlaid marble mosaic floor, something described by Giorgio Vasari as “the most beautiful, largest and most magnificent floor that ever was made”.

Crafted by about forty artists and artisans between the 14th and 16th centuries, the 56 panels that constitute the floor vary in size and shape – most of them have a rectangular shape, some a hexagon or a rhombus one – and are made mainly by two different techniques: one known as graffito (tiny holes and cutting lines created in the marble and then filled with black stucco and mineral pitch) and the one called “marble intarsia” (black, white, green, red and blue marble employed in much the same manner as wood inlaying).

The panels create an interlocking marble carpet throughout the apse and nave of the cathedral – a masterpiece! – drawing the figure of the Sibyls, scenes from the Old Testament, allegories and virtues.

Being as beautiful as it is fragile, the floor is normally covered by sheets in order to protect it from the wear caused by visitors’ shoes. Usually, but not always!

From August 18 to October 27, 2015, to the delight of our eyes, the floor will be uncovered.
You don’t want to miss this!

Media Contact:
Tuscany Arts
Curator: Leila Firusbakht