Described by Giorgio Vasari as “the most beautiful, grand, and magnificent” pavement ever created, Siena’s Duomo is famous not only for its detailed inlaid work but also for the themes regarding the search for knowledge that it conveys. Siena Duomo’s marble floor can now be visited after restoration works have been completed before than expected.
The pavement’s construction began in the fourteenth century and continued until the nineteenth century.
The floor of the Duomo was created using engraving techniques and multi-hued local marble ranging from yellow to grey and green.
Initial designs for the 56 inlays were produced by important artists, almost all from Siena, including Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni, Domenico Beccafumi, as well as the ‘foreign’ painter Pinturicchio from Umbria, whose Monte della Sapienza is famous for its symbolic representation of the path to virtue through inner serenity.
Beccafumi’s famous frieze of Moses Drawing Water from the Rock, created using his innovative technique of colouring marble hue by tinting the base instead of using different pieces of stone, reflects Milan Expo’s theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,’ with water as the source of both life and additionally, in Christian iconography, a symbol of salvation.
A catalogue is available detailing the iconography of the entire floor, as well as audio guides and multimedia tablets that enable closer examination of details that are otherwise difficult to see.
Siena Duomo Floor
Open: August 18-October 27
Mon to Sat: 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sun: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.