Siena Cathedral, Italy

"Siena Cathedral, rising majestically in the eponymous city square, is one of Italy’s most illustrious Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals. According to tradition, the present Cathedral replaces an earlier church dedicated to the Virgin Mary erected in the 9th century or thereabouts on the site of a temple serving the cult of Minerva. Equally unconfirmed rumour suggests that the building was consecrated in 1179 in the presence of Sienese Pope Alexander III Bandinelli after the papacy had made peace with the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. A payment of six soldi recorded as having been made to “Magistro Nichole de Opere Sancte Marie”in April 1259 is likely to be the first mention of Nicola Pisano, one of the 13th century’s most innovative artists who carved the splendid pulpit now in the north transept of the Cathedral. His son Giovanni Pisanomagisterof the Opera from 1284 to 1297, played a key role in the construction of the lower part of the façade and carved the sculptures of prophets, sibyls and philosophers that once adorned it. They were replaced by copies in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries and the originals are now on display in the Museo dell’Opera.

There is a record of a domus being purchased in 1262 to serve as the Opera’s headquarters and as a workshop for the master carvers and stonecutters working on the marble used in the Cathedral’s construction. Lead to cover the dome and copper for the “apple” atop it were bought in in 1263, so the dome must have been completed by that date (though its lantern was rebuilt from scratch, albeit in the original style, in 1667)".


All Photos ©2024, sarah beard buckley; all images belong to the photographer.