Siena is a showcase of the Italian Gothic, characterized by Gothic palaces, narrow streets, and medieval gates, walls, and towers.
Torre del Mangia: Dates from the 14th century and soars to a height of 335 feet. Climb the tower daily...10-12, 2-5.
Palazzo Comunale (Pubblico): Built in 1288-1309... filled with important art by the leaders of the Sienese School of Art. Upstairs in the Sala della Pace are frescoes from 1337-39 by Lorenzetti, which show allegorically the idealized effects of good and bad government. In the Sala del Mappamondo is Simone Martini's Majesty, a Madonna enthroned with child, surrounded by angels and saints. Hours are 9:30-12:30, 2-5.
Duomo: An architectural fantasy with colored bands of marble erected in the Romanesque and Italian Gothic styles, dating from the 12th c. The dramatic facade dates from the 14th Century, as does the Romanesque Bell Tower. The zebra-like interior, with black and white stripes, is stunning. The floor consists of various embedded works of art depicting Biblical and mythological subjects. The octagonal-shaped pulpit is by Niccolo Pisano who was one of the most significant sculptors before the Renaissance. In the chapel is the glass-enclosed box with an arm that tradition maintains is that of John the Baptist. A Donatello bronze Bishop's Gravemarker is on the floor of the chapel.
Piccolomini Library: Founded by Cardinal Piccolomini (later Pius III), this church is renowned for its cycle of frescoes by Pinturicchip. His panels are well preserved from the 16th century. Hours 9-4.
Opera Metropolitana: Houses paintings/sculptures originally created for the Cathedral. The major work here is Buoninsegna's La Maesta. Hrs. 9-1, 2:30-6:30.
The Baptistery: The facade dates from 14th c. In the center, the font is by dell Quercia. Also some bas-reliefs by Donatello and Ghiberti.
The Pinacoteca: The national collection of Sienese Art, housed in the 14th c. Palazzo Buonsignori. Main items are works by Duccio, Lorenzetti, and Martini's Madonna And Bambino. Hours are 8:35-1:45.
St. Catherin's Sanctuary: St. Catherine was acknowledged by Plus XII in 1939 as the Patron Saint of Italy. She was instrumental in persuading the Papacy to return to Rome from Avignon. This house, where she was born in 1347 has been turned into a church and oratory. Hours are 8-1, 2-7.