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Siena


Siena
This page is my newest, and still needs some work, but it is very nearly there.
In March 2018 I went on a very full guided trip to Siena and the Ambrogio Lorenzetti exhibition but,
even without much spare time, this was fruitful of fresh content - words and photos.
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Duomo & Baptistry Santa Maria Assunta
The Madonna del Rosario

Osservanza bus ride

San Bernardino Oratory
San Cristoforo
San Domenico
San Donato
Monte de Paschi di Siena (bank)
San Francesco

San Gaetano
San Giacinto
San Giacomo
San Giorgio
San Giovannino della Staffa
San Girolamo
San Girolamo in Campansi
San Giuseppe

San Leonardo
San Martino
San Niccolò al Carmine
San Niccolò in Sasso
San Pellegrino alla Sapienza
Sant'Anastasia
San Pietro Chiesa Anglicana
San Pietro a Ovile
San Pietro alla Magione
San Pietro in Castelvecchio San Pietro alle Scale

San Raimondo al Refugio
San Rocco Oratorio
San Sebastiano
San Vigilio

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Sant'Agostino
Sant’Andrea Apostolo

Sant'Ansano Carceri
Sant'Antonio da Padova Oratory
Sant'Elisabetta della Visitazione

Santa Caterina
Santa Caterina
casa e santuario
Santa Caterina della Notte Oratory see Santa Maria della Scala
Santa Lucia Santi Niccolò e Lucia

Santa Maria dei Servi
Santa Maria della Scala Ospedale
Santa Maria delle Nevi
Santa Maria in Portico a Fontegiusta
Santa Maria in Provenzano
Santa Maria Maddalena
(Castiglione d'Orcia)

Santa Marta
Santa Teresa

Santi Pietro e Paolo

Santi Quirico e Giulitta
Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio


Santissima Annunziata see Santa Maria della Scala

Santo Spirito
Santo Stefano alla Lizza
Santuccio

Duomo & Baptistry
Santa Maria Assunta

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History
As the highest point in the city this has always been an important spot, likely since the Roman temple to Minerva stood here. There's been a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary here at least since the 9th century, and a bishop's palace. In December 1058 a synod was held here resulting in the election of pope Nicholas II and the deposition of the antipope Benedict X. The first documented evidence of plans to build a cathedral here date to 1136, The Siena-born Pope Alexander III is said to have consecrated the work in 1179, but it wasn't until 1258 that the overseeing of the work was entrusted to the monks of San Galgano, an abbey south west of Siena, a famously capable bunch who remained in charge until 1314.

By 1265 the basic work was complete and one of the monks, Fra Melano, went to Pisa to commission a pulpit from Nicola Pisano and then in 1280 Nicola's son Giovanni was employed to work on the façade. By 1297 Giovanni had stormed off in a huff at the comune's accusations of mismanagement of funds and materials. Then in 1317 it was decided that the Duomo was going to be too small an on 23rd August 1339 a new and massive structure was planned

The plan was that the existing church should become merely the transept of a much bigger building. This work was begun but cracks and errors halted the work, which resumed but was finally halted by the plague of 1348, as the population was halved and funding dried up. The remains of this extension still speak of Sienese ambition and hubris and are now used as a car park and the Museo dell' Opera. The space was filled with the Bishop's Place, removed in the 19th century, with the four large windows added in 1898.


The exterior

The gothic façade was sort-of finished in 1377, but it was not until 1877 that the poor-quality mosaics were added in the topmost triangular pediments, with the bronze door following in 1958. The façade is a mixture of sculpture, stained glass, mosaic and pinnacles, mostly depicting scenes and figures from the life of the Virgin, including the life of her parents, Joachim and Anna. The 14 statues of the the pagan sibyls, philosophers and prophets who foretold Christ's coming, on the second tier were carved by Giovanni Pisano. Those on the façade are copies, the originals being now in the Museo dell'Opera, except for one, the bust of the figure of the prophet Haggai, discovered in 1963, which is in the V&A in London. The bas reliefs over the door, of 1297-1300, are by Tino di Camaino, the Sienese sculptor who would carve the Petroni monument inside the Duomo 15 years later. The 36 busts of the prophets and patriarchs around the rose window are copies by Tito Sarocchi of the 14th century originals.

 

The interior

Gothic, essentially in its vaulting and looming quality, and somewhat overwhelming when you first enter, due to the stripes and there being decorated surfaces all over. Also the crowds and the roped-off areas guiding your route. Further disappointment on my visit at the scaffolding all around the Pisano pulpit. Somewhat generic stucco busts of Popes stare down from a frieze bellow the clerestory all round the church.  A set of Twelve Apostles by Giovanni Pisano adorned columns inside. In the 18th century replacements by Giuseppe Mazzuoli replaced the originals (now in the Opera Museum). The postcard see below right shows these 18th century Apostles in situ. These replacements were themselves replaced by reproductions of the originals and acquired in 1895 by the Brompton Oratory in London, where they remain. The reproduction of the Pisano studio's originals are now to be found outside on the roof of the nave and right-hand aisle.
The first three paintings over the altars on the left are safely skipped, as is much of the late 16th/early 17th century painting in here.
 The fourth is the standout pale sculpted Altare Piccolomini (see below right) commissioned in 1491 by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini from Lombard sculptor Andrea Bregno. The statues of Saints Gregory and Paul in the two main niches to the right and Saints Pius and Peter in the niches to left are by Michelangelo, who also started the Saint Francis in the upper left niche, finished by Pietro Torrigiani. (Torrigiani it was, according to Vasari, who busted Michelangelo's nose during a fight in the Brancacci chapel, was banished from Florence, and ended up in England, working for Henrys VII and VIII, among others.) Michelangelo's work dates to 1501/3 and was halted prematurely by his returning to Florence to carve the David. The sculpted Madonna in the central upper niche is by Jacopo della Quercia. The sweet gold-framed Madonna and Child (1390) painting in the centre is by Paolo di Giovanni Fei and is presumably a copy of the one in the Opera museum.
Further on Pintoricchio's fresco of the Coronation of Pius IiI as Pope is over the carving-embellished entrance to the Libreria Piccolomini, with cases contains open graduals and breviaries. The  vivid and and restored-looking ceiling and wall frescos, of c.1503, above the cases are considered Pintoricchio masterpiece, executed with the help of Giacomo Pacchiarotti. The library was made out of the old cathedral canonry by Francesco Piccolomini, who was Pope Pius III for 10 days, to house the Greek Latin and Hebrew codices of his uncle Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, who was pope Pius II and was a true, and quite rare, Renaissance man amongst the Renaissance popes. Pintoricchio had been a pupil of Perugino and brought a number of fellow pupils with him, including Raphael. The latter's involvement in this cycle has been contested since Vasari. There are lots of cartoons of the scenes by the young Raphael, though. The cycle begins at the rear to the right of the window. On display are the Duomo's choir books, illustrated by Sano di Pietro, Girolamo di Cremona and Liberale di Verona amongst others. Liberale's work is the most famous, including the striking miniature from Gradual 12 showing the Allegory of the Wind with his big blue hair. He came to Siena in 1466 from the fruitful scriptorium of Santa Maria in Organo in Verona.
Around the corner past the Libreria is the domed Capella di San Giovanni Battista, the work of Giovanni di Stefano, the son of the painter Sassetta, finished in 1482. The font (1484) (and the decorated column on the right)? are the work of Antonio Federighi, also responsible for part of the pavement and the water stoups by the entrance. The bronze stature of John the Baptist in the gilt-decorated central niche is by Donatello, made in Florence in 1457 and damaged in transit here. Dingy damaged and restored frescoes by Pinturicchio and paintings by Giovanni di Stefano.
Next is the crossing, two altars wide, and the famous pulpit by Nicola Pisano, finished in 1268, after his Pisa Baptistery pulpit, with the help of his son Giovanni and Arnolfo di Cambio. The panels, showing scenes from the Life of Christ, duplicate those on the Pisa pulpit, but are deeper and more detailed.
Carrying on, to the left of the presbytery is the corner Capella di Sant'Ansano which has both the dark pavement tomb of Bishop Pecci of Grossetto (1426-7) by Donatello (shifted to the left and tilted so as to not be walked on) and the unrestrained wall tomb of Cardinal Riccardo Petroni by Tino da Camaino of 1314/18. The latter is said to have been influential on Italian tomb architecture for the next century and to have had its scenes very influenced by those on Duccio's Maesta of just a year previous.
To the right above it is a tall thin stained glass window depicting full-length Saints Francis, Blaise and Anthony by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop. The altarpiece in here is Saint Ansanus Baptises the People of Siena by the Sienese mannerist Francesco Vanni.
The (usually closed) sacristy entrance is in the left wall of the apse. It contains a very damaged fresco cycle of the Life of the Virgin of 1411/12 by Benedetto di Bindo, one of the more major of the minor painters that followed the Lorenzetti and Simone Martini. In the vaults of the chapels here he also painted the four evangelists and the four doctors of the church. Also in here some fragments remain of frescoed scenes from the lives of the four patron saints of Siena by Domenico di Bartolo, painted c.1438.
 
The high altar of 1352 is by Baldassare Peruzzi, the Sienese architect best known for collaborating with Raphael on the Palazzo Farnesina in Rome for the Sienese banker Agostino Chigi. The stained glass in the large round window is from a design by Duccio from 1288, making it very early for such work in Italy. It's a copy, the original now being in the Museo dell'Opera, and features a very early depiction of the Assumption. The back of the presbytery has carved stalls with intarsia panels by Fra Giovanni da Verona, famed also for his work in the church of Santa Maria in Organo in his home city. The panels were originally in the choir of the Abbey of Monteoliveto Maggiore but were brought here in 1813 and inserted into the backrests of the 14th-century stalls. The frescoes above are mostly by Domenico Beccafumi and Ventura Salimbeni.

All of the following was fenced off on my visit...
The right side has thinner pickings, but there's the Capella del Sacramento nine chapels down opposite the Capella di Sant'Ansano. It has five bas reliefs probably removed from a dismantled pulpit carved by Domenico dei Cori in 1425.
Nearer the main door, mirroring the position of the Capella di San Giovanni Battista opposite, is the Roman Baroque style Capella Chigi, built in 1659/62 to a design by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Alexander VII, Fabio Chigi, a Sienese pope, it was the last major addition the Duomo's fabric. It was intended to house the Madonna del Voto, an anonymous 13th century painting. Two of the four niche statues - the ones nearest the door - are by Bernini - the Mary Magdalen and Penitent Saint Jerome, as is the gilded bronze frame for the Madonna, with its angels and putti, and the design of the railings.

The fifth altar, after four more skippable altars mirroring those opposite, from the door on the right is the Tomb of Tommaso Piccolomini, above the door to the campanile, by Neroccio di Bartolomeo Lando. Below are bas reliefs depicting episodes from the life of the Virgin by Urbano da Cortono, a collaborator with Donatello known for his Tomb of Cristoforo Felice in San Francesco in Siena.

 

The pavement

Begins with geometric patterns and some scenes outside and progresses to 56 figurative panels inside. Made between 1349 and 1547 and involving almost every artist who worked in the city between these dates, preparing the cartoons that the stonemasons would then make into coloured marble. The panels initially echoed the black and white stripes of the walls, but by the time the biblical scenes in the transept were being made the colouring had got richer.
 

Campanile
Built in 1313, it has six bells, the oldest one being cast in 1149. It has a relief of the Madonna and Child of 1458 by Donatello over the door. He had returned to Siena in 1457 hoping to be asked to make the bronze doors, but was disappointed.
 

Lost art
The Museo dell'Opera has rooms of stuff, mostly from the Duomo, and was created in the 19th century by walling up the first three arches of the right-hand aisle of what was planned as the new huge cathedral in the 14th century.
Concentrating on altarpieces...
The Maesta by Duccio (see right) painted between 1308 and 1311, was huge and double-sided. Its display spread around one room in the Museo I found functional and dull. It is said to have originally had a complicated carpentry mechanism involving curtains and three painted wooden angels who descended to hand the priest the Host, chalice and corporal (linen cloth); with four more angels holding candles. The front depicted the Madonna as the Queen of Heaven enthroned and surrounded by angles and saints. Episodes from her life were depicted in the predella, with events from her last days on the upper levels. The back depicted scenes from the life of Christ - his early life in the predella, his passion on the main level and his post-resurrection appearances above. It has been much moved and chopped about over the centuries. It was originally on the high altar but was replaced by Vecchietta's bronze tabernacle (taken from the high altar of the church of Santissima Annunziata in Santa Maria della Scala) in 1505, being documented as above the Saint Sebastian altar in the left transept in 1536. In 1771 it was sawn in half - the front was placed in the Saint Ansanus chapel in the left transept and the back put in the Saint Victor chapel, with the predella and top panels put in the sacristy. In 1878 it was put back together and put in the Museo dell'Opera. The missing predella panels, which were put on the market in the 19th century, are now (one each from the front) in the National Galleries in London and Washington; with rear predella panels now in the Frick, the National Galleries in London and Washington, the Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid and the Kimbell.
Pietro Lorenzetti's late and lovely Birth of the Virgin of 1342 (now in the same room as Duccio's Maesta in the Museo dell'Opera) was the central panel of the Saint Savinus Altarpiece over the altar dedicated to the saint (one of Siena's four patron saints) in the corner chapel of the left transept. The side panels, Saints Savinus and Bartholomew, are lost but a predella panel showing Saint Savinus before the Governor Venustianusis in the National Gallery in London.
The four panels depicting Saints Catherine of Alexandria, Benedict, Francis of Assisi and Mary Magdalene by Ambrogio Lorenzetti of 1320/30, which used to flank a, now lost, central panel, were originally on the altar of the Magi in the Duomo. These panels underwent restoration in 1997. Also by Ambrogio is the special Presentation in the Temple which used to be in the San Crescenzio chapel here, now in the Uffizi. It was painted in 1342, the same year as his brother's Birth of the Virgin mentioned above.
A favourite polyptych of mine, The Madonna of Humility and Saints Augustine, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul by Gregorio di Cecco, a pupil and adopted son of Taddeo di Bartolo, signed and dated 1432 (see detail right) taken from the Altar of the Visitation here. A pinnacle panel of The Annunciate Angel is in a private collection in Turin.
The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints John the Evangelist, Nicholas Gregory and Jerome, a late altarpiece (1480) by Matteo di Giovanni for the chapel of Niccolò Cristoforo Celsi in the Duomo. And by the same artist, a altarpiece of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Anthony of Padua and Bernardino and Angels, from the altar of Saint Anthony of Padua chapel in the Baptistery.

A series of panels which made up a reliquary cupboard by Benedetto di Bindo, who also decorated the sacristy here, and trained Sassetta.
 

Lost art not in the Museo dell'Opera
The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple altarpiece by Paolo di Giovanni Fei of 1398-1399, was commissioned for the chapel of San Pietro here, is now in the National Gallery in Washington.
The exceptional Annunciation with Saints Ansanus and Massima (see above right) was painted in 1333 by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi, his brother-in-law, for the altar of Saint Ansanus here, located to the left of the chancel, where Saint Ansanus Baptising the Sienese by Francesco Vanni is to be seen now. The Annunciation, one of a set of four altarpieces dedicated to Siena's patron saints, was moved to the church of Sant’Ansano towards the end of the 16th century when the altar was remodelled. It is now in the Uffizi, where it went in 1799 in a poor exchange for two paintings by Luca Giordano, Christ Before Pilate and The Deposition, both from 1682. The figure of Saint Massima, Ansanus's god-mother, was previously thought to be Saint Margaret.
The first documented commission awarded to Vecchietta is dated 1439 and is for two statues, The Virgin and the Annunciate Angel which he sculpted and painted, along with Sano di Pietro, for the high altar here. They are now lost.
The Madonna della Neve (Virgin of the Snow) altarpiece of 1432, painted for the Saint Boniface chapel here by Sassetta is now in the Uffizi. It was commissioned by Lodovicha Bertini, the wife of the sculptor Turino di Matteo
Nineteen illusionistic intarsia panels for the choir stalls in the Saint John Chapel here were made by by Antonio Barli in the late 15th century. Those that were moved to the Collegiata of San Quirico d'Orcia in 1749 have survived, the rest have been lost.

 



 





The Baptistery

Most Italian baptisteries are freestanding structures opposite their church's façade, so Siena's is unusual, to say the least, in being under the apse of the Duomo. The Gothic façade by Domenico di Agostino of 1355 was never finished.

Interior
Completed c.1325, probably by Camaino di Crescenzio, it carries on the stripy and decorated look of the Duomo. Two bays long with two aisles and a half-domed apse.
There's an hexagonal font of 1417-30 with eight bronze panel of scenes from the life of the Baptist by Lorenzo Ghiberti (The Baptism of Christ and The Baptist before Herod), Donatello (The Head of the Baptist Presented to Herod) and Jacopo della Quercia (The Angel Announcing the Baptist's Birth to Zaccaria ). Jacopo was also responsible for the marble tabernacle above, the summit statue of John the Baptist and five niche statues of the Prophets. Donatello also did two of the corner angels (Faith and Hope) and (with Giovanni di Turino) the small putti on the tabernacle above. There's a cast of this font in the Victoria and Albert museum in London which has all five of these putti, one having been lost from the original since the cast was made in 1875-7.
Three unmajor altarpieces to the left. In the right aisle are two gold-ground ones, a Madonna and Child with Saints (including Saint Stephen looking even more like Mickey Mouse than usual) (see below) by Andrea Vanni (taken from the church of Santo Stefano alla Lizza) with a slightly later predella by Giovanni di Paolo with scenes from the life of Saint Stephen and a Crucifixion with Saints Jerome and Bernardino. Also an 1896 one of The Immaculate Conception with Saints, Joseph, Anne, Paul and Elizabeth by Giuseppe Catani Chitti. Imagine a Pre-Raphaelite gold-ground altarpiece. Chitti later settled in Florence, where he met the English Pre-Raph artist John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, and was also a talented forger, of works in the style of Fra Angelico and Filippo Lippi, amongst others, and in collaboration with famed forger Federico Joni.
The fresco decoration of the ceiling and apse is mostly by Vecchietta and was painted between 1450 and 1454,  in the wake of the the 1450 canonisation of local saint Bernardino. He and his concerns feature heavily, like the Articles of the Creed, an unusual subject also painted by Vecchietta in the sacristy of the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala. The three impressive Passion scenes in the apse vault (Agony, Crucifixion and Lamentation) are earlier work by the Bolognese artist Michele di Matteo, finished in 1447?!)




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crypt
 

Calling this space The Crypt is descriptive, maybe, but deceptive - it is thought to have been a narthex, maybe part of a reception area for pilgrims. When the baptistery was built this under-church was filled with rubble to support the Duomo's apse above. It was only found and excavated in 1999-2003, but as the rubble was holding up the church above a supporting steel structure had to be built before the debris could be cleared.
It's a delightfully ramshackle and random trio of spaces. There's the main middle fresco-fragment filled area itself (see below and right), the smaller space that you enter first, also decorated with frescoes, and the first space beyond, the so-called 'old foundry', which is without decoration but with some appealing stone and brickwork and random arches from the old cathedral structure. This area was used for workshops but chemical analysis of the much-blackened walls has revealed that it wasn't used for the smelting and working of metal.
The frescoes (which have been dated to the last quarter of the 13th century) depict scenes from the Old Testament (on the upper wall and largely lost) and the New Testament below, beginning with The Annunciation. They are uniformly vivid, but vary much in size, and state, having been covered in rubble for so long, and chopped about by various bits of building work. There looks to be several different hands and more than one layer. The scenes are similar, it is said, to ones depicted on panels by artists in the circle of Guido da Siena, such as Rinaldo da Siena, Guido di Graziano and Dietisalvi di Speme. It has also been suggested, of course, that Duccio may have worked with them, specifically on the Entombment and the Bishop in Benediction.

 




The Madonna del Rosario
 via San Marco

 

History
Built with locally-provided funds from around 1657, to designs by Giacomo Franchini, with  stucco decoration by Pietro d'Austo Montini. Deconsecrated in 1813 the oratory  became an armoury but is now used by the chiociolla (snail) contrada as their horse house, where the horse chosen for the palio is kept for the three days before the race. This had been the contrada's oratory, until it moved to the oratory of Santi Pietro e Paulo, along with the art and fittings from here, which included an icon of the Virgin painted by Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio.

Façade
On the façade, a stucco God the Father with Angels is set above a repainted fresco of the Virgin and Child painted in 1742 by Francesco Feliciati. Below this is a  fresco of a snail.

The well in front of the church Pozzo di S. Marco (well of St. Mark) dates from 1522
 



 

 

The Osservanza
San Bernardino all'Osservanza


History

Founded in 1423 by Saint Bernardino in an attempt to return to the original Franciscan rule which he thought had become corrupt in the cities. The land was given in 1404 by the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. Buildings enlarged 1476-90, probably by Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Giacomo Cozzarell. These buildings much rebuilt after bombing in January 1944, to look how it would in the late 15th century, the mostly renaissance church has/had? three works by Andrea della Robbiaan Annunciation pair and a Coronation of the Virgin (see right). Also a triptych once ascribed to the Master of the Osservanza, but this anonymous master is now identified as the young Sano di Pietro. It depicts the Virgin and Child with Saints Ambrose and Jerome, is dated 1436 and was commissioned by merchant Manno di Orlando for his chapel in San Maurizio. There's a small museum here dedicated to Saint Bernardino too.

Art
A processional Crucifix made by Lando di Pietro and belonging to the Sienese Compagna di San Domenico came here when that order was suppressed in 1785. Only fragments remain following allied bombardment in 1944. The destruction revealed a parchment strip signed by the artist in 1338 asking us to worship the son of God, not the wood.

Lost art
The Dittica dell'Osservanza (see below) by Paolo di Giovanni Fei is in the Pinacoteca. As is a cut-down Annunciation panel by Martino di Bartolommeo. Also panels by the Master of the Osservanza/Sano di Pietro, including San Bernardino and two angels.
A high altarpiece depicting the Assumption, probably commissioned by Bernardino himself, from Sassetta, which was lost in the Berlin Flakturm fire in 1945. (See b&w photo right).
Christ Stripped of His Garments by Francesco di Giorgio Martini is now in the Pinacoteca (no.428).







 







A photo from around 1890 (Alinari)

 

San Bernardino


History
An oratory of the 15th century, built on the site where Saint Bernardino preached, next to San Francesco. The seat of the Compagnia di Santa Maria degli Angele della Veste Nera. Following Saint Bernardino's canonisation in 1450 the confraternity added his name to their list of saints they specially venerated, and decided to decorate their oratory in his honour. But it took them a while, before they commissioned the three artists mentioned below, as mentioned in a document of 1518

Interior
The wood-paneled oratory, decorated by Ventura Tupilli (after 1496) has fourteen large frescoes of the Life of the Virgin by Sodoma (Presentation, Visitation, Assumption and Coronation, Saints Francis, Louis and Anthony), Sodoma's pupil Beccafumi (Marriage of the Virgin and Death of the Virgin) and Girolamo del Pacchia (Annunciation, Birth of the Virgin and Saint Bernardino), painted between 1496 and 1518, with Beccafumi's Visitation and Assumption dating 1525-9. There's a 14th century antiphonal here illuminated by Lippo Vanni
The lower chapel has scenes from the Life of San Bernardino painted in the 17th century by Francesco Vanni, Ventura Salimbeni and Rutilio Manetti. The ceiling painting with a view of Siena, of 1580, is by Francesco Vanni.

The attached Museo Diocesano consist of five small rooms containing religious art from the 13th to 17th centuries, reportedly well displayed. The collection includes works by Vecchietta, Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Matteo di Giovanni.
 



 

San Cristoforo

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History

A church with Romanesque (11th/12th-century) (or even Roman) origins but rebuilt after the earthquake of 1798, when the façade collapsed. The building was shortened at theis time, with a neoclassical brick façade added in 1800.
The church's cloister was used for comune meetings before the building of the Palazzo Pubblico, so it was here, in 1260, after a meeting with Florentine ambassadors, that the Gran Consiglio made the decision to go to battle with the Florentines at Montaperti. which proved to be such a historic victory for the Sienese.  Following the subsequent decision to hire German mercenaries Salimbene Salimbeni, who was a banker and founder of the early version of the future Monte dei Paschi, walked home to his nearby palazzo and returned here with the wheelbarrow full of 118,000 florins, an event illustrated in the illumination below (ms. A.IV.5, Siena, 1444).

 

It is also said that in 1376 Saint Catherine of Siena forced a reconciliation between the feuding Maconi and Tolomei families. This she achieved by going into an ecstatic trance whilst praying at the altar.
From 1796 to 1945 the church was also the headquarters of the Contrada della Civetta, who still have the patronage on the first altar on the right, dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of the Contrada.

The façade
The temple-front façade of 1800 was designed by Tommaso and Francesco Paccagnini and would originally have been covered with painted plaster. The two statues of 1802 are Bernardo and Nera Tolomei  by Giuseppe Silini. Bernardo was the founder of the Olivetan order and the impressively gothicly looming Palazzo Tolomei (now a bank) is opposite the church.

Interior
Aisleless and pale inside, due to white walls and the buff-colour columns pilasters and arches.
Two altars face each other in centre of left and right walls. On the right there's a carved Crucifix with painted bishop saint on the wall behind. On the left a dull Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Romuald (c.1508) by Girolamo del Pacchia.

The apse is part of a small crossing of sorts, with exposed brick suggestive of Romanesque origins. Over the high altar is a marble sculptural group of The Glory of Saint Christopher by Giovanni Antonio Mazzuoli from 1693. This group came from the Olivetan monastery of San Benedetto ai Tufi, after it was suppressed by Napoleon  in 1808 and demolished
Reported as here but not spotted by me: a fresco of the Pietà with the instruments of the Passion by Martino di Bartolomeo,

Lost art
The Saint George and the Dragon altarpiece painted by Sano di Pietro in the early 1440s in remembrance of Giorgio Tolomei for the family chapel here, now in the Diocesan museum and the Vatican. It has also been attributed to the Master of the Osservanza (who is now often said to be Sano di Pietro) and to both of them working together, by some scholars who think them separate artists.
A 15th-century della Robbia Virgin and Child and a tondo of the Virgin and Child by the Master of San Pietro a Ovile, are all now in the Diocesan Museum.
 

 






 

San Domenico
Basilica Cateriniana

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History
The Dominican church was begun in 1246, and probably not completed until around 1300. The transepts and and east end were added c.1380-1480. In 1467 the screen that had separated the the old nave from the newer transepts was removed. Suffered fires in 1443, 1456 and 1531, with further damage from military occupation from 1548-1552, and an earthquake in 1798.
Whilst it is uncertain whether Simone Martini died in Avignon or Siena, his funeral was held here on the 4th of August 1344.

Interior
Another big aisleless barn for unobstructed preaching to large numbers.
The church's current dedication to Saint Catherine, whose family house was nearby, is obvious as you enter as to the right, in the back wall, is the raised Capella delle Volte, which has (in the centre of the left wall) the famous contemporary fresco portrait of the saint by Francesco Vanni. The artist had been a diplomat working for the comune but on meeting Catherine gave up his job to devote himself to being her friend and disciple. This was a separate chapel in the original church, but was knocked through in the 1941-62 restorations. It was here that she is said to have received the (invisible) stigmata and performed some of her miracles, including exchanging hearts with Jesus.
Altars of various sizes and recessions down each side of an aisleless nave. The 3rd and 5th on left have damaged frescos worth a look. In between is an impressively plush Saint Anthony Abbot Frees a Demoniac Girl (1628) by Rutilio Manetti.
The deep transept has matching monumental marble altars at each end. Three chapels either side of the apse. The middle one on the left, the Venturini chapel,  is a highlight space with the impressive large panel of the Virgin and Child Enthroned, with Christ and Angels (1275-80) by Guido da Siena (see right) still visually indebted to the Byzantine Virgin hodegetria. It returned here only at the end of the 20th century, having spent more than a century in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, hence its often being known as the Palazzo Pubblico Madonna. It has long been thought to have been painted for the high altar here, but its commissioning by a confraternity, probably, has led to the theory it was originally over or on the tramezzo (rood screen). An inscription gives the painting a daftly early date of 1221, but this is thought to have been added later to make the painting seem more venerable, or to celebrate an important event in that year - Saint Dominic himself died in 1221. It was possibly added when the painting was renewed and the Madonna's face and hands 'modernised' to look more like Duccio's Madonna in the Maesta, possibly by Ugolino di Nerio, or even Duccio himself, the same fate as befell the Madonna del Bordone by Coppo di Marcovaldo in Santa Maria dei Servi. This overpainting was removed in later restorations, returning it to its pre-Duccio glory.
The side walls were frescoed by Giuseppe Nasini in the 17th century.
The chapel nearest the apse has a detached fresco of the Madonna and Child with a Knight and John the Baptist by Pietro Lorenzetti. On the wall opposite in the transept is a Crucifixion (1600) by Ventura Salimbeni, son of Arcangelo and step-brother of Francesco Vanni.
The square apse has jarring modern stained glass windows by Bruno Cassinari, behind a marble tabernacle with two sculpted candelabra angels by Benedetto da Maiano, the architect/sculptor also responsible for the Plazzo Strozzi and the pulpit in Santa Croce, both in Florence.
The first chapel to the right has damaged fresco fragments removed from the attached convent's cloister and a triptych of the Madonna and Child and Saints Jerome and John the Baptist (1476) by Matteo di Giovanni. It was originally part of a larger polyptych - the lunette is now in the Pinacoteca (see Lost art below). (The artist is the same one responsible for the three disturbing versions of the Massacre of the Innocents elsewhere in Siena.)
The next chapel is full of memorial tablets and the last has another detached fresco fragment and sinopia of the Madonna and Child and Two Saints.
In the rear of the right transept is the entrance to the sacristy which has very fragmented ceiling frescos.
Back down the right side are the stairs to the (usually closed) 14th century gothic crypt which has a crucifix by Sano di Pietro (1465) over the high altar. It was to this crypt, newly renovated, that on the evening of Saturday 26 and the morning of Sunday 27 November 1938, the remains of ten local 'fascist martyrs' were brought, with great ceremony, and placed in a specially designed sacrario. A huge statue of the Risen Christ by Vico Cosorti (see right) (the Sienese sculptor put in charge of the project) over the high altar dominated the restored space, with individual tombs in front of the altar, all in travertine marble. Stone tablets of a fascist oath and a quote from Mussolini where placed on the walls. This was an example of the fraught phenomenon of the ambiguous, but mutually supportive, co-operation between the Catholic Church and the fascist regime in the 1930s.  After the conflicts following Italian Unification fascism seemed to the Sienese archbishops of this period to offer the opportunity to improve the relationship between church and state. The crypt had sorely needed restoration as, from 1862 to 1924, it had been used by the local military as a stable for cavalry horses. No trace of the sacrario remains, but the Risen Christ was transferred to the entrance of the Cemetery of the Misericordia but no label is attached to tell of its history.
Then the very decorated Capella di Santa Caterina, erected in 1466, containing Saint Catherine's head  which has been authenticated and is to be seen behind a grill in the tabernacle (1469) which is the work of Sassetta's son Giovanni di Stefano.  The rest of her remains are in Rome, where she died, the head having been brought here in 1383. The highlight frescoes to the left and right of the tabernacle, and on the chapel's entrance arch, are by Sodoma, from 1526, but the ones in the chapel are not easy to see, so it's not easy to appreciate their supposed Raphael-influenced classicism. On the right wall the painting of Saint Catherine liberating a possessed man is by Francesco Vanni.
Beyond a small door to the right of the above chapel is a display case with a reliquary containing the Saint's right thumb and her scourges.
There's a rather luminous and mannerist Birth of the Virgin by Sienese artist Alessandro Casolani over the second altar from the back, said to be his masterpiece. It's a bit Barocci was commissioned by Sister Onesta Longhi, a Dominican tertiary in 1584.
(Matteo di Giovanni's Santa Barbara altarpiece commissioned in 1478, shows Saint Barbara Enthroned between Saints Mary Mag and Catherine of Alex. Fragments of frescoes in the Accarigi chapel, depicting Saint Thomas Aquinas and other saints, are by Paolo di Giovanni Fei and date from 1387.  A Francesco di Giorgio Nativity of c.1490.)

Campanile
Dates from after 1340. Was reduced in height, with battlements added, after an earthquake in 1798

Lost art
A mid-13th century panel painting of Saint Dominic now in the Fogg Art Museum is thought to have painted for this church, based on stylistic similarities. It was also overpainted twice later in the century.
Duccio's Polyptych no. 28 (The Madonna and Child with Saints Augustine, Paul, Peter and Dominic) in the Pinacoteca by 1842 is thought, mostly because of the presence of Saint Dominic, to have come from this church.
The left shutter by Guido da Siena of a shrine associated with the cult of beato Andrea Gallerani on c.1274 is now in the Pinacoteca.
Some lovely fragments of a late (1350 - his last documented work) fresco of The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and Saints Paul, Peter and Dominic by Lippo Memmi are in the Pinacoteca (see right).
The first documented activity of Giovanni di Paolo is his painting of two panels for the Castiglioni family for this church. One of them depicted Catherine of Siena before canonisation, but both are lost. In 1426 and 1427 he painted a two polyptychs for this church, one probably for the Malavolti family and the other for the the Branchini family chapel. The Malavolti altarpiece is now dispersed, the Branchini's main panel is in Pasadena. Another work, from 1445, a Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, formerly known as the Guelfi altarpiece, painted by him for this church is in the Uffizi. Two of its predella panels, The Story of Creation/The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise and Paradise are in the MET in New York.
A lunette of The Adoration of the Shepherds by Matteo di Giovanni is in the Pinacoteca. Its odd composition gives most prominence to the snoozing Joseph. It comes from an altarpiece made for the funerary chapel of the Placidi family here.  The main panel is still in the church (the first chapel to the right of the apse) and the predella panels are in Altenberg, a private collection, and three (including The Dream of Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine's Vision of Saints Jerome and John the Baptist) are in the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Pecci Polyptych by Giovanni di Paolo, signed and dated 1426, now has its courtly and decorated main panel, of the Virgin and Child with Music-making Angels, in the church of Santi Giusto e Clemente in Castelnuovo Berardenga. The sterner main-register figures of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Dominic are in the Pinacoteca. Three of the predella panels are in the Walter Art Gallery in Baltimore, with a fourth in the Lindenau Museum in Altenburg.

Opening times
Daily 9.00-6.00
 












A photo from 1856 (Alinari)

San Donato
Monte de Paschi di Siena (bank)

 


History
Built in 1119 as the Abbadia di San Michele, passing swiftly to the Vallombrosan and in 1565 to the Cavalieri di Santo Stefano. These last two orders have their coats of arms over door. By 1682 it had passed to the Carmelites who did much work on the church.
On the right wall as you enter are fresco fragments possibly from the 12th century church.

Lost art
A Crucifix signed and dated 1345 by Niccolò di Segna, now in the Pinacoteca. It is said to come from 'the Vallombrosan church of Santi Michele Arcangelo e Benedetto' which seems to fit with here.
A Donatello-inspired  Pieta carved in walnut and polychromed, and early sculpted work by Vecchietta is now in the diocesan museum in the oratory of San Bernardino next door to San Francesco.
 


 


San Francesco
Selva (wood) contrada church

v
History

Founded in 1326 on the site of an earlier church built from 1228 to 1255, this church was completed around 1475 to designs by Agostino di Giovanni and Agnolo di Ventura, and finished  under the direction of Francesco di Giorgio Martini, who also worked around this time on Santa Maria delle Nevi nearby. Much restored, in baroque style, after it was seriously damaged by a fire in 1655 which also destroyed a Perugino altarpiece, and in the choir in 1715.
After conversion of the complex to use as a barracks the work on the church between 1894 and 1913, by Giuseppe Partini, attempted to return it to its original gothic state, with mixed success. The interior would originally have been covered in frescoes and the floor paved with tombs. Some wall tombs remain, and patches of fresco. The neo-gothic façade is by Vittorio Mariani and Gaetano Ceccarelli (1894-1913). The previous, unfinished-looking, façade can be seen in the postcard (far below right). The convent buildings now house the University.

Interior
A huge stripy barn inside, with no aisles for easier preaching. As in the Franciscan church in Florence, Santa Croce, the renaissance rich were keen to buy burial space in Franciscan churches to show their humble penitence, to counter their sinfully profiting from usury.
The back wall has high and hard to see damaged detached frescos. The one of a choir of angels from the Coronation of the Virgin was begun in 1447 on the city's Porta Romana by Sassetta, possibly already outlined in sinopia by Simone Martini. Sassetta contracted pneumonia from working outdoors and died on 1st April 1450, It was finished in several attempts from 1458 to 1466 by his colleague Sano di Pietro, using Sassetta's full-size cartoons. The other is from the Porta Pispini and is by Sano di Pietro. Lower down are tombs of the Salimbeni family.
Six recesses on the left wall have large unstriking 16th & 17th century panel paintings on rusty iron frameworks, installed in 1997 to replace the Baroque side altars destroyed in the 19th century.
There's a deep transept with four deep chapels either side of a rectangular apse and two in the rear of the left arm. One of these is called the Cappella della Sacre Particole (Chapel of the Sacred Particle), and there's another of the same name in the right transept. These are used to celebrate a miraculous event that took place after the theft of a ciborium containing 351 consecrated hosts on the 14th of August 1730. They were found three days later, in the church of Santa Maria di Provenzano, miraculously intact and incorrupt, which they have remained ever since. This event is therefore celebrated on the 17th of every month, in the chapel in the left transept (also known as the Piccolomini Chapel) in the summer and the right one (Martinozzi) in the colder months.
The north transept has a Martyrdom of Saint Martina by Pietro da Cortona and the huge doorway by Francesco di Giorgio Martini taken from the facade of the church in the early 20th century.

The first chapel at the left of the east end has a fresco panel of the Madonna and Child Enthroned. The next two before the apse have the highlight Lorenzettis restored for the big Ambrogio Lorenzetti exhibition in Siena  in 2017/18. The left hand one, the Bandini-Piccolomini has The Ordination of St Louis of Toulouse and a somewhat graphic Martyrdom of Six Franciscan Friars, by Ambrogio (see right). The right-hand one, next to the apse, the Piccolomini Todeschini, has the famed red-skied Crucifixion by Pietro (1326) (see above). The three are substantially all that remains of seven frescos, once in the chapter house here, began on the Lorenzettis' return from Assisi in the late 1320s. This cycle was mentioned by both Ghiberti and Vasari but whitewashed over in 1730 and discovered when flakes of plaster fell from the wall in 1832 and uncovered and moved into the chapels in 1857. Much of the original painting had been done dry (a secco) after the fresco had been completed, hence the substantial losses of colour, especially the azurite of the skies.
The first chapel to the right of the apse has a fire-damaged (in the 1655 fire) Madonna and Child panel attributed to Andrea Vanni (1398). The second and third have modern gold-ground altarpieces.
More banking-family tombs are to be found in the right transept, and to the rear is the other Cappella della Sacre Particole, a Lippo Vanni, trompe l’oeil polyptych fresco of the 1360s in the Martinozzi Chapel, quicker to paint and cheaper on carpentary than an actual altarpice, and a hall leading to the sacristy, with its frescos by Sodoma. Back down the right side are three more 17th century panels on iron frameworks and a frescoed recess by Andrea Vanni.
(The Sant'Andrea chapel with fresco and sculptural decoration of c.1514 by Giacomo Pacchiarotti for Andrea Piccolomini as a setting for the (now lost) altarpiece by Pintoricchio. A 1510 Sodoma Deposition in the Cinuzzi Chapel)

Campanile
Completed in October 1763, by Paolo Posi, to replace the old, low and castellated one in the view below.

Lost art
The Fondi altarpiece of 1426 by Giovanni di Paolo.
Far-flung fragments from the Lorenzettis' cycle in the Chapter House include a small one by Ambrogio showing a Group of Four Poor Clares. After being found under whitewash it was cut from the wall c.1855 and sold to the National Gallery in 1878 for £45. Two more small fragments, attributed to Pietro, are also in the National Gallery- a Grieving Virgin and a Crowned Female Figure (St Elizabeth of Hungary?). A Resurrected Christ by Pietro from the same series painted for the chapter house, was originally resited after removal in the refectory, but since the late 1960s has been in the Diocesan Museum next door to San Francesco, as is a fragment of decorative frame by Ambrogio showing a Saint with a Book, a Sceptre and a Crown.  A cycle painted by Ambrogio in the lunettes of first cloister in 1336, which included The Martyrdom of the Franciscans in India, was destroyed, but with some fragments found and recently restored  for the 2017/18 Ambrogio Lorenzetti exhibition in Siena.
A detached fresco of the Lamentation is all that's left of Vecchietta's c.1448 decoration of the Martinozzi family chapel here. It's now in the diocesan museum in the oratory of San Bernardino next door. An altarpiece by him, and his studio, painted for the Saint Bernardino chapel here was largely destroyed in the 1655 fire, but predella panels are now in the Walker in Liverpool, the Alte Pinakothek in Munich and the Vatican.
An altarpiece painted by Perugino for the Vieri chapel here was also destroyed in the fire here in 1655.
A large Deposition by Sodoma from the Cinuzzi chapel here is in the Pinacoteca. As is a 1536 Christ in Limbo by Domenico Beccafumi from the Marsili chapel.

The church in art
San Bernardino Preaching in Piazza San Francesco (1444-50) by Sano di Pietro (now in the Duomo's Museo dell'Opera) shows the Sienese saint preaching in front of the striped marble lower facing of the façade of San Francesco which was removed in the end of the 19th century and is still to be seen in the old photo right.

Guide book
The church sells a book by Padre Paolo Promavera which says on the cover that it is in five languages. However the Italian section runs to forty pages, with photos - the other languages get photo-free four-page summaries.

 

 

 

 

 



From Francesco Vanni's map of the late 16th century.















     
San Gaetano di Thiene   San Giacinto

History
Oratory built 1683-1700 for the Contrada del Nicchio (seashell). On the façade was a venerated early 14th century image of the Madonna of the Pitchfork in a stucco niche, now replaced by a copy.

Interior
Stucco work 1686 -1705 by Giacomo Franchini, including statues of the Blessed Ambrogio Sansedoni, in the first niche on left, and St Gaetano (Saint Cajetan), in  the second niche on the left. On the right are St Vincent Ferrer and The Blessed Giovanni Colombini. Beside the altar are Saints Bernardino and Caterina of Siena.
The ceiling was frescoes are The Theological Virtues by Giuseppe Nasini and Stefano di Francesco Marzi, his pupil, the work being completed in 1734 by Apollonio Nasini to his father's designs. Giuseppe Nicola.

History
Named for Saint Hyacinth, a 13th century Polish Dominican missionary. This church was attached to a Dominican convent, called of the Vita Eterna, where the nuns ran an adjacent orphanage. In1528, it became the oratory of the Confraternity of Sant'Emidio, a lay confraternity which still exists. The church was deconsecrated and is now used by Musica Siena for concerts. The convent became a home for widows in the 19th century.

Interior
Above the door in the plain brick façade is a weathered fresco by Francesco Rustici (il Rustichino), who also painted the high altarpiece inside - the Miracle of St. Giacinto granting vision to a blind child (1615). On the right is an altarpiece depicting the Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena by Cristofano and Vincenzo Rustici, the uncle and father respectively of Francesco. On the left is a Madonna del Rosario sometimes attributed to Niccolo Nasini, but also said to be a 17th century copy of a lost original by Fra’ Paolino da Pistoia or Bartolomeo della Porta.
Above the door to the convent is a fresco of The Madonna attributed to il Brescianino.
 
San Giacomo San Giorgio

 

History
Oratory of the Contrada della Torre (tower). Built between 1532 and 1536 to celebrate the Sienese victory over the Florentines on 25th July 1526, this having been Saint James's feast day.

Interior
Two works here by Rutilio Manetti, and the adjacent museum has a Way to Calvary thought to be one of Sodoma's last works.

 



History
Consecrated in 1731 with travertine marble façade, finished in 1738.

Interior
There's a Crucifixion with Father Matteo Guerra of 1738 on the second altar on the left and a Pietà with Saint Catherine in the right transept, both by Francesco Vanni, who is buried here - his tomb is to the left of the main door on the inner façade. His bronze bust here is the work of his sons Raffaello and Michelangelo, the latter also being responsible for the marble panel.

Campanile
Hard to see. Romanesque of 1260. It has 38 windows, the same number of campaigns fought against the Florentines (or companies of knights took part in the Battle of Montaperti - where Siena defeated Florence - which was fought in the year it was built.)

San Giovannino della Staffa    


 

History
The Oratory of the Contrada del Leocorno (unicorn)
Of Roman origin, the current building dates to the mid 16th century.

Interior
There are thirteen canvases of Stories of the Life of John the Baptist by the likes of Rutilio Manetti, Bernardino Mei, Astolfo Petrazzi and Raffaello Vanni.
 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 



 

San Girolamo


History
The first Jesuit (Gesuati) convent in Siena, it passed to the Vergini Abbandonate (the Abandoned Virgins) when the Jesuits where suppressed and then to the Figlie della Carita di San Vincenzo de' Paoli, the current occupants.

Interior
Black and white striped interior. On the back wall of an antechamber left of high altar is a Coronation of the Virgin by Sano di Pietro, who became the Jesuit order's official artist. The Virgin is flanked by Saint Jerome and the Beato Giovanni Colombini, the latter being founder of the Gesuati order. He came from a wealthy Sienese family but renounced worldly pleasure at 40, embraced poverty and hardship and established the order.
A monochrome Crucifixion (1448?) by Michele di Matteo.
The cloister contains an arched panel of the Assumption of the Virgin by Fra Giuliano and Bernardino Fugai, who also painted the frescoes in the surrounding niche.
(Saint Catherine Drinking the Blood of Christ by Francesco Vanni c.1594)


Lost art
The spectacular Polyptych of the Gesuati (also known as the Polittico del Beato Colombini) (see above) by Sano di Pietro is in the Pinacoteca, but its predella is in the Louvre. He also painted a Madonna and Child with Saints, with a predella of Episodes from the lives of Saints Cosmas and Damian. The first (246) is his earliest known signed work, commissioned in 1439 and completed 1444, when he was nearly 40. It underwent restoration for the 2010 exhibition “From Jacopo della Quercia to Donatello: the Arts in Siena in the early Renaissance”. The second (233) is from 1446.
San Girolamo in Campansi

History

A Baroque-style church, part of a monastery has been converted to a nursing home (Casa di Riposo) for the elderly. Originally established by a group of Franciscan woman in the late 13th/early14th century. The republic gave them some houses here, a district notorious for prostitutes. Only in the 1420s was a monastery built and in 1473 the nuns obtained permission from Pope Sixtus IV to build an oratory. In 1575 the convent housed some 77 women. Following official recognition by Cardinal Metello Bichi in 1613 it soon became popular amongst the aristocracy for the cloistering of daughters, like Berenice, daughter of Agostino Chigi, who took the vows of the Poor Clares in 1683.
Construction of the church began in 1683. It was built perpendicular to the former oratory.
The convent was suppressed by Napoleon in 1808, but re-opened in 1816, only to be finally suppressed in 1874. In 1889, it became 'an asylum for abandoned elders' and so has had many modifications over the last two centuries.

Interior
The courtyard contains a fresco of the Annunciation attributed to the studio of Sano di Pietro (1460).
The ceiling of the church has frescoes depicting the Glory of St Peter of Alcantara with the Virgin, St Francis, and Christ attributed to a Giulio Coralli and Niccolò Ricciolini. It is stated that some of the painting or designs were by Michelangelo and Girolamo di Benvenuto and Bartolomeo Neroni.
The first floor of the ex-monastery has a fresco of The Madonna and Child with Saints Anne, Ursula and Mary Magdalene attributed to Domenico Beccafumi.



 

San Giuseppe   San Leonardo


History
The oratory of the Onda (wave, symbol: dolphin) contrada.
Has a 1653 bust of the saint over door and an octagonal cupola attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi. Central-planned interior has impressive wooden furnishing. The contrada's museum is in the crypt.








 


History
In 1173 the original small church here was occupied by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, who later became the Knights of Malta. On their suppression, the church was bought by Celso Bargagli who gave it to the parish in 1818.
Having been severely damaged by the earthquake of 1798 it was restored in 1938 to designs by the Sienese architect E. Bellini, who remade the neo - Romanesque façade.
More work was carried out by architect Giovanni Michelucci from 1978, who set out to restore the neoclassical interior with the removal of the altar and other baroque fittings as well as general  restoration and the creation of a small museum of the Valdimontone (Valley of the Ram) contrada.
 

San Martino


History

Mentioned in an 8th century document, and maybe founded even earlier. Present by the 12th century and renovated in the 14th, the current church dates to interior restoration in 1537, with a baroque façade of 1613.

Interior
The  inner façade, has a canvas depicting the Immaculate Conception Protecting Siena during the 1526 Battle of Camollia by Giovanni di Lorenzo, commissioned by the city commune in 1528.
The third altar on the left has a grand and glowing Nativity of 1522-4 by Beccafumi (commissioned by Anastasia, the widow of Ugolino Ugolini), painted whilst he was working on the Duomo's pavement.
The third altar on the right has a late (1636) Circumcision by Guido Reni.
Guercino's Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew is on an altar to the left.
The high altar has a spectacular ciborium by Giuseppi and Giovanni Antonio Mazzuoli commissioned by the de' Vecchi family
A Virgin and Child by Neroccio was recently found here under layers of repainting and restored and unveiled at the Pinacoteca in 2010.

Lost art
A Crucifix signed and dated 1433 by Sassetta, from the refectory here, sawn up at the end of the 18th century to make doors, three fragments of which are in the Palazzo Chigi-Saracini. The busts of St John and the Virgin were on the arms of the cross, the famous St Martin Dividing his Cloak with the Beggar was at the base.
A sculpted wooden group of five (six?) figures, of the Virgin with Saints, by Jacopo della Quercia, moved to the Duomo's Museo dell'Opera in 1980

Campanile
Finally finished in 1738
 

San Niccolò al Carmine
v
History

Built for the Carmelites in the 14th century but given a renaissance remodelling in the next century by Baldassare Peruzzi, who was responsible for the high altar in the Duomo and made a name for himself in Rome for, amongst other buildings, the Palazzo della Farnesina for Sienese banker Agostino Chigi.

Interior
A tall single nave interior with a pair of altars in the middle either side and a pair more alcoves towards the back.
The right wall altar has a stormy Saint Michael Banishing the Rebel Angels from c.1527 by Domenico Beccafumi. (His original, even more mannerist and pain-wracked, version was rejected by the monks, was placed - Vasari says - in Santa Maria della Scala in 'a room near the high altar at the top of the stairs', and is now in the Pinacoteca.)
To its left is an ostentatiously framed fresco fragment of the Madonna from an Annunciation, by Ambrogio Lorenzetti it is sometimes claimed.
The right wall alcove is full of an impressive lately-uncovered fresco of The Ascension (see right) damaged and missing its Christ, by Benedetto di Bindo.
The left wall altar has a panel of The Ascension by Girolamo del Pacchia with a three panel predella depicting the Annunciation to Joseph, the Flight into Egypt and the Adoration of the Magi.
There are some 17th century panels about the place.

To the right of the apse is the door to the Chapel of the Sacrament with a painting by Sodoma of God the Father and the Birth of the Virgin which when I visited (September 2016) was away being restored.
The sacristy evidently has a polychrome terracotta statue of Saint Sigismund by Giacomo Cozzarelli and an Annunciation by Raffaello Vanni.
(An Adoration of the Shepherds by Bartolomeo Neroni, but finished by Arcangelo Salimbeni on the right nave wall. The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew of 1604, a late work by Alessandro Casolani (he died in 1607), his masterpiece it is said)

Lost art
A 13th century Madonna and Child panel by Gilio di Pietro is in the Pinacoteca.
Of the large Pala del Carmine high altarpiece painted by Pietro Lorenzetti, dated 1329, the central panel, the Virgin and Child with Saint Nicholas and the Prophet Elijah and the far flanking full-length standing figures of Saints Catherine and Agnes are in the Pinacoteca, with the central-panel-flanking  Saint John the Baptist and Elisha panels now in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. The predella (depicting episodes from the history of the Carmelite order) and two pinnacles are also in the Pinacoteca. Another pinnacle is in the Yale University Art Gallery and at one is missing.
A very damaged Crucifix of c. 1328/30 by him from here is also in the Pinacoteca. It was found to be in a deplorabile stato when the church was suppressed, and underwent restoration for the 2017/18 Ambrogio Lorenzetti exhibition in Siena but still looks very rough (see detail right).
Also in the Pinacoteca is Bernardino Fungai's Virgin and Child Enthroned, with Saints Sebastian, Jerome Nicholas and Anthony of Padua (1512), his only signed and dated work. So all the scholarship on Fungai flows from this work. Some predella panels in the Howard University Gallery of Art in Washington are said to parts of this altarpiece.
Christ Suffering and Christ Triumphant by Giovanni di Paolo (see right) and? a polyptych of 1453 by him for the high altar here, are also in the Pinacoteca.

Cloister
16th century with frescoes by Giuseppe Nicola Nasini of 1710. Can be entered via no.44.

Opening times
I found the church open one evening in 2016 and staffed by a very helpful and knowledgeable young woman from the university next door. But I've since learned that I was very lucky, and indeed it seemed never to be open during the week in 2018 when I was again staying in a hotel nearby.


 






 

San Niccolò in Sasso


History

Originally established as part of the convent called Spedele di Monna Agnese, a charitable foundation founded around 1280 by Monna Agnese, given property by Orlando Malavolti. The hospital was originally for young widows and pregnant girls and was managed by lay persons. The complex was named in Sasso for being built on pebbles.

In 1565 the structure passed to the Ospedale of Santa Maria della Scala and soon afterwards the church was completely renovated taking on its current form. Suppressed at the end of the 18th century, hospital functions moved to Santa Maria della Scala and the rooms here were made into a girls' school. The deconsecrated church was put to various civil uses until, in 1995, it became part of the Museo dell'Opera of the Duomo and is now the giftshop as you leave.

Interior
The church is now overwhelmingly late baroque inside, with stucco decoration by Ludovico Chiappini and painted panels by Giambattista Giustammiani from the early 17th century, mostly depicting stories from The Life of the Virgin. Also early 17th century are the altarpieces by Francesco Vanni (the high altarpiece depicting The Virgin and Child Enthroned, with Saints Lawrence, Gregory Nicholas and Agnes), Rutilio Manetti (who contributes two), Astolfo Petrazzi, Raffaello Vanni and Niccolò Tornioli (a Crucifixion of 1631/2).

Lost art

An altarpiece of the Presentation of the Virgin, a fine late work by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, is in the Uffizi. A panel of the Allegory of Redemption, also by Ambrogio, is in the Pinacoteca. They both came from the Ospedale here and are thought to have been part of the same altarpiece.
 
San Pellegrino alla Sapienza
Sant'Anastasia


History
First documented in 1050. A hospital called Santa Maria della Misericordia was founded here in 1240 (and enlarged in 1321) by Beato Andrea Gallerani, the founder of the Opera della Misericordia, a charitable foundation set up to look after orphans and the elderly. The second niche on the right contains his portrait (see right) possibly by Lippo Memmi, who may also have been responsible for the Saint Paul in the fifth niche on the right, and the matching Saint Peter in the fifth niche opposite.
The hospital was suppressed in 1408, part of it passing to the University of Siena, who built the Accademia Fisiocritica in 1691 to designs by Pirro Maria Gabbrielli. In 1758 a library founded by Sallustio Bandini opened there. Much rebuilding work on the church with a major reconstruction in 1767 by Marchetti. Interior work in the 17th century. Now called Sant'Anastasia used for Russian orthodox services.

Interior
Six statues remain of the eight of Sienese saints, including Catherine, installed in niches inside in 1772. The ceiling is frescoed with stories of the Life of the Virgin. The high altar has a Birth of the Virgin by Giuseppe Nicola Nasini.
A small marble slab depicting The Crucifixion, sometimes controversially given to Sienese goldsmith Guccio di Mannaia, is said to have inspired the depiction of the Three Marys in Pietro Lorenzetti's fresco of The Crucifixion in San Francesco.

Lost art
A very Lorenzetti-influenced Saint Michael Enthroned, with Saints Anthony Abbot and John the Baptist (1370/75) by Angelo Puccinelli, an artist from Lucca, is in the Pinacotaca.
As are panels from an altarpiece painted early in his career by Sassetta for the Arte della Lana (woolworkers' guild)  in 1423. It was commissioned originally to be placed in S Maria del Carmine but was moved here in 1463, It was divided up around 1777 when the Arte della Lana's chapel was destroyed.  The predella panels included the Vision of St Thomas Aquinas (Vatican Museum), St Thomas in Prayer (Budapest), the Miracle of the Sacrament (Barnard Castle UK), the Last Supper (Pinacoteca), the Burning of a Heretic (National Gallery, Melbourne) and St Anthony Beaten by Devils (Pinacoteca). Several pinnacles and pilasters are also in the Pinacoteca. It has also been suggested that the Angel of the Annunciation (Massa Marittima, Pinacoteca) and the Virgin Annunciate (Yale U) belonged to this altarpiece, as well as two landscapes, Castle by the Sea and City by the Sea (both in the Pinacoteca), usually attributed to Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

 

San Pietro
Chiesa Anglicana

 

San Pietro a Ovile


History
The building dates from 1909, but as early as 1841 a rich widow called Lady Olivia Bernhard Sparrow, a strong evangelical and a friend of William Wilberforce we are told, had dominated a small group of Anglican worshippers in the city. In 1907 a church building fund was started and in March 1908 land was bought in Via Garibaldi, with funds provided by Mrs Georgina Allinson Hignetti, and on April 18 1909 services were held for the first time in the medieval style church.

Opening times
Wednesdays 11-1pm, with a service at 12.30pm.

 


History
The original 13th century Romanesque church was probably the Franciscans' first home in the city before the building of San Francesco nearby. Interior rebuilding in 1753. A small fourteenth-century cloister was revealed by restoration work and is visible from no. 28 Via del Giglio.
Still has a brick façade, the lunette over the door has a fragmentary fresco by Rutilio Manetti

Interior
In the left aisle near the door are fresco fragments of an Annunciation and a copy of a Maesta painted in 1350 by the anonymous Maestro di San Pietro a Ovile. The right wall of the apse has fresco fragments probably by Bartolo di Fredi. Above was a 15th century painted Crucifix by Giovanni di Paolo, which is now, evidently, to be found in the Diocesan Museum along with the altarpiece of The Annunciation mentioned below. Wooden sculptures of the Madonna and John the Evangelist from 1415 by Domenico dei Cori, probably made for the Duomo but troublesome circumstances brought them here - they are now 'temporarily' in the Opera museum.







Lost art
An Annunciation with Saints triptych (see left) commissioned from Matteo di Giovanni in the early 1450s by this church's rector, Mariano di Nanni is now in the Museo Diocesano. Its central section looks very like Simone Martini's famous Annunciation in the Uffizi and is topped by pinnacles of the Crucifixion and Saints Peter and Paul. The flanking main register panels depict Saints John the Baptist and Bernardino. The predella panels, scenes from the Life of the Virgin, are in the Louvre and Philadelphia.

Opening times

Was quite recently used as a university lecture hall. Currently closed.

San Pietro alla Magione
... in Camollia, or ...della Magione

v
History
Documents tell of a church here as early as 998, built after houses and vineyards were donated by Counts Bernardo and Gualfredo Ranieri, and their cousin Guilla. The church belonged to the Knights Templar from the 12th century (as mentioned in a document from 1148. With the suppression of the Templars in 1312, the church passed to the Knights Hospitaller who later became the Knights of Malta. With the abolition of that order the church passed to the Diocese.

Façade
Romanesque, but with a too-big 14th century gothic doorway attached and a brick renaissance chapel, built 1523/6, stuck on to the right.

Interior
Romanesque interior was restored in 1957, which resulted in the raised presbytery and the plain semi - circular apse, which contains a Gothic tabernacle from the second half of the 14th century. Rough stone, single nave, with a timber roof and one niche altar either side. Detached fresco and sinopia panels.
Also a Madonna with Saints John the Baptist and Peter by Diego Pesco, fragments of frescoes (a Cruxifixion and Old Testament Stories) by Cristoforo Bindoccio and Meo di Pero.
The chapel on the right was erected in 1523-26 as an ex voto for the passing of the plague. It houses a Martyrdom of St Donnino and Saint Hugh by Antonio Nasini/questionable? and a fragment of a Madonna with Child attributed to Lorenzo Rustici/Bartolomeo Neroni called Riccio?





Martino di Bartolomeo, a predella panel showing the
Apparition of the Virgin Over the Church of the Magione
.
Now in the museum of the Banca Monte dei Paschi.

 





 

San Pietro in Castelvecchio
San Pietro alle Scale

v
History
13th century originally but transformed in the 18th

Interior
Wide and very dark, no aisles in apse but aisles either side of deep presbytery supported by huge clusters of columns and pillars with a pair of altars on opposite sides of apse. Modern stained glass in small side windows. The high altarpiece is by Rutilio Manetti (1621)

Art highlight
The five panels from a dismantled polyptych attributed to Ambrogio Lorenzetti (c.1340) (see below) to be found on the left wall were not seen by me on my visit, but where away being restored for the major Ambrogio Lorenzetti exhibition in Siena in 2017/18 where the photo below was taken. The centre panel seems to have oddly depicted the Virgin standing, and holding a very wild looking Child. The side panels show Saints Cecilia, Peter, Paul and the archangel Michael.  The centre pinnacle, Christ Blessing, is now in the Museo Diocesano. The four side pinnacles and all the framing are lost. The polyptych had been in the church since at least the early sixteenth century, but by 1785 had been removed from the high altar and broken up and remained little known until well into the 20th century. It's attribution has been doubted, having swung from a follower of Lorenzetti to 'Lorenzo Lorenzetti' – an invented painter-father of Pietro and Ambrogio. The recent restoration has swung opinion back to the attribution to Ambrogio himself.



(A standard painted for the lay Compagnia di San Rocco by Rutilio Manetti, with Saints Roch and Job Intercessing for Siena on one side and Saints Catherine of Siena and Roch on the other. A Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Rutilio Manetti in 1621 for the church of Santa Maria in Portico ai Fontegiusta.)

Lost art
A panel depicting Saint Bartholomew from a polyptych finished in 1451, begun by Sassetta and finished by his colleague Sano di Pietro upon the former's death, is in the Pinacoteca. As is Sano di Pietro’s solo Saint Francis from the same altarpiece, commissioned by Bartolomeo di Francesco Guglielmo for his chapel dedicated to the Christ’s Nativity here.

 

 







 

San Raimondo al Refugio




v
History
Built from 1660 by Sienese architect Benedetto Giovannelli Orlandi for the Chigi family, whose arms are still huge and high on the façade. The architect was asked to create the façade and the short road leading up to it. The vault was damaged in the earthquake of 1798.

Interior
Baroque, congested and aisleless, with much white and gilded plasterwork, of course. The nave is square with a painted dome ceiling. There are three large altarpieces, over the main and each of the side altars, and eight small panels. All 17th century and sweet bordering on insipid. The Nativity by Alessandro Casolani was left unfinished at his death in 1607 and completed by Francesco Vanni. The tomb of Aurelio Chigi very noticeable in the centre of the aisle. The entrance hallway under under the organ retains its screen.
The old sacristy is off the left here and has a large case of reliquaries and the like and two nice 15th century gold ground Madonnas by Sano di Pietro (con Bambino) and Domenico di Bartolo (Assunta, head and shoulders) and a Jacopo della Quercia full size carved & painted wooden Saint Catherine of Alexandra.

Nicely kept and staffed by volunteers, I found, from the Fondazione Conservatori Riuniti di Siena.

Opening times
Wednesday and Saturday 9.30-1.00

San Rocco
Oratory

 

San Sebastiano
Oratory



History
A 16th century structure, with 17th century works by Rutilio Manetti (frescoes of the life of San Rocco from 1605-10), Raffaello Vanni and others. The home of the Lupa (she-wolf) contrada since 1789. The district's museum here has an altarpiece of The Apparition of the Madonna before San Rocco signed in 1603 by Ventura Salimbeni.

 

 

 

 

 



History

Built by the Weavers' Guild from 1493 to 1550 with rebuilding in the 1650s. Over the altar is the Madonna of the Forest in stucco and polychrome terracotta from c.1474. It is attributed to Francesco di Giorgio Martini who is also said to have designed the church.  This has been the church of the Selva (Forest) contrada since 1818. The 15th century crypt houses the district's museum.

Interior
There are late-16th early-17th century frescoes inside by Pietro Sorri, Giovanni Paolo Pisani and Raffaello Vanni. The paintings by 17th century Sienese artists mostly depict the life of the saint, Rutilio Manetti being the most accomplished.
San Vigilio


History
Originally a parish church built by the Ugurgieri family, the church passed to the  the Camaldolese order in the 11th century with their convent next door. The church burned down in a fire in 115, and was rebuilt by 1231. In 1420 the monks were expelled and in 1556 passed to the Jesuits, who rebuilt the church from 1561 and continued to refurbish until 1775. When the Jesuits were suppressed in 1759, the church was acquired by the Vallombrosan order, who had the facade rebuilt in its present form by architect Antonio Matteucci. When the Vallombrosans were suppressed in 1816 the Grand Duke of Tuscany gave the church to the University of Siena, who are still here.

Interior
The ceiling is decorated with 15 canvases by Raffaello Vanni depicting The Last Judgement. The chapel of St Francis Xavier has works by Francesco Vanni, and Baldassare Franceschini. The chapel of the Madonna di Loreto is decorated with canvases by Francesco Vanni of  The Assumption of the Virgin and The Translation of the House.
The high altarpiece depicting the Glory of St Ignatius is by Mattia Preti. Flanking it are two canvases by Francesco Vanni depicting Louis Gonzaga and Stanislaus Kostka.

 

 



 



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