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THE DUOMO, THE PICCOLOMI'S BIBLIOTECA(PART IV)

The Biblioteca Piccolomini (Library) is situated beneath the Duomo. The famous Library takes its name from the Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini Todeschini (Siena, 1439-Roma, 1503) who was elected Pope in 1503, twenty five days before his unexpected death, under the name of Pius III.  The Cardinal commissioned its construction in 1492, with a direct access on the left side of the nave of the Cathedral. The wonderful entrance is disposed in two apertures with carved marble rounded arches. Pinturicchio frescoed the wonderful Library between 1502 and 1507 with a splendid cycle of paintings in the walls depicting the life of the uncle of Pope Pius III, the Cardinal Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Corsignano, now Pienza, 1405 – Ancona, 1464) who like his nephew had been elected Pope, from 1458 until his death, under the name of Pio II.
Pinturicchio frescoed also the ceiling with mythological subjects. In the centre of the Library stands the marvellous Roman sculptured group of the Three Graces.
The Library hosts treasured illuminated codex and unique choral music scores of the age.

The Biblioteca Piccolomini  opens daily. From March to October: 9am to 7:30pm. On Sundays opens only from 2pm to 7:30pm.
From November to March: 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5pm. On Sundays opens only in the afternoon.

The splendid Gothic Campanile is close to the right side of the Duomo, parallel to its magnificent Cupola. The bell tower, covered by white and black marble strips, is not as high as the Torre del Mangia (the bell tower of the Palazzo Pubblico, now the Museo Civico).The Campanile has six levels of windows, which become wider while reaching the highest point of the bell tower.
The huge archway conducting to the wonderful white and black marble striped Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of St. John) is situated nearby the Campanile. The Baptistery is a rectangular structure separated into three aisles, situated underneath of the north side of the Duomo. The work of the splendid Gotich façade started in 1317 and was interrupted around 1386. The upper levels remained unfinished. The renowned Sienese architect and sculptor Camaino di Crescentino, father of the celebrated Tino di Camaino, designed and completed the interior of the Baptistery around 1325. The amazing vaulted ceilings were frescoed with sacred and mythological motifs by the brilliant architect, painter, sculptor and goldsmith Francesco di Giorgio e di Lorenzo, nicknamed “Il Vecchietta” (Val D’Orcia, 1412 – Siena, 1480), who was considered by Giorgio Vasari as one of the greatest artists of the Scuola di Siena of his age. The renowned Emilian Renaissance painter Michele di Matteo di Bologna frescoed in 1447 the impressive paintings located in the conch of the apse, representing episodes of Jesus Christ’s Passion: “The Crucifixion”, “The Agony” and “The Lamentation”. The stunning marble baptismal font was built by the brilliant sculptor Jacopo della Quercia (Siena, 1374 ca. - Siena, 1438) and ornamented with precious bronze gilded panels in relief and sculptures depicting several episodes of the life of St. John the Baptist, which were executed by the most important Italian artists of the age like Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti.  Among  them make stand out the panel executed  by Donatello in 1425 ca. representing “The Feast of Herod” and the ones created by Lorenzo Ghiberti in 1427 ca. representing: “The Baptism of Christ “ and “St. John in Prison” .
The Battistero di San Giovanni opens daily. From March to September: 9am to 7:30pm. On October: 10:30pm to 1pm. From November to March: from 2pm to 5pm. 

CONTINUE < 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 >

What to See

The Cathedrals : Duomo di Siena

Main Monuments : Piazza del Campo , Palazzo Piccolomini

Main Museums : Museo dell' Opera di Siena , Museo dei Fisiocritici

 

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