The historic center of Siena is rich in places of worship and religious buildings from different periods: Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance. Many are open to the public and are free of charge.
Here are 5 not to be missed:
CATHEDRAL OF SIENA – SANTA MARIA ASSUNTA
Place of worship and most important religious building of Siena is one of the greatest examples of Italian Romanesque-Gothic style. Built around the twelfth century and converted into the Basilica in the thirteenth, it has a Latin cross, a dome and a bell tower.
The facade is all in white marble with alternating red and green Siena, with rich sculptural decorations. Inside there are valuable works of Bernini, Donatello, Michelangelo and Pinturicchio. The crypt under the cathedral, with important frescoes of the Sienese school of the thirteenth century. Famous also the Baptistery of San Giovanni below the final spans of the choir of the Cathedral, with its valuable decorations and its baptismal font that worked Donatello, Ghiberti and Della Quercia. Inside the cathedral it is also hosted the Libreria Piccolomini and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. (Www.operaduomo.siena.it)
CHURCH OF SAN CLEMENTE IN SANTA MARIA DEI SERVI
Located on the hill overlooking Valdimontone, it was built in three centuries and ended in fifteenth. It has a simple facade, an imposing bell tower and rich interior works including the famous Madonna del Bordone by Coppo di Marcovaldo, the Nativity of Our Lady of Manetti and other works I scored, Lorenzetti, Di Bartolo, Memmi.
CHURCH OF SAN FRANCESCO
Built in the thirteenth century in Romanesque style, it was enlarged in the Gothic style in the following two centuries. It has a single nave covered by huge trusses and preserves the ciborium with the Sacred Particles, consecrated hosts that from 1730 until today remain intact and not decomposed, considered a miraculous phenomenon by the Catholic Church.
CHURCH OF SAN DOMENICO
Built in ‘300, it is one of the most important churches of Siena and also includes a convent. The front is thin, the interior houses the relics of St. Catherine of Siena. Next door is the Chapel of the Vaults where the Sienese mystic would perform some of his most important miracles.
SANTUARIO E CASA DI SANTA CATERINA
It is located in the alley of Tiratoio and is recognizable by the inscription “Sponsae Kristi Catherine Domus”. The sanctuary has incorporated the ancient birthplace of Catherine Benincasa. To see inside the Church of the Crucifix, from which Catherine received the stigmata, the glorious oratorio, and St. Catherine’s Room.
To visit other churches follow the paths of Churches project open http://www.viaesiena.it/it/chiese-aperte