The Cathedral paving
The local culture makes the opening of the Cathedral paving an unmissable tradition, starting -every year- the 18th August and ending on 31th October.
The Jubilee, announced by Pope Francis I on late 2015, has led the owners of the Duomo to start an extraordinary opening from June 29 to July 31, in order to celebrate this unique Catholic event.
Borgo Grondaie recommends discovering the Cathedral paving: it’s an incredible and unique experience, since the flooring is normally covered for its safety, in order to protect it from the scratches caused by the visitor’s walks. This is one of the rare occasions to plunge into the beauty of the marble engravings, even more capturing than the outstanding Cathedral’s architecture.
Built between 1369 and 1547 AD, the marble paving is made of 56 decorative panels, coming from the genie of the best Siena’s artists of the middle age. Here the art of Siena reaches its peak: allegories, geometrical figures and biblical scenes merge together, ranging from the tiny details of the sgraffiti to the many-coloured marbles of the best refined engravings.
The parvis, on the top of the Duomo‘s steps, depict the etchings honouring the Pharisee and the “Pubblicano”. The etching are intended to symbolise both the Christians and the heathens, which are unable to reach the Paradise.
In front of the gates, we encounter the “Ceremony of Initiation”, dating back to 1450.
On the aisles, the Sibyls pop out: they were considered the symbol of Christ and of the universality of the Christian revelation. Many artists gave birth to these etchings, taking inspiration from the apologetic masterpiece “Divinae istitutionis” of Lattanzio.
On the central nave, restored many times due to the consumption, lies the allegoric scene of the “Siena’s she-wolf around the symbols of the allied-cities”, which also maintain the original mosaic decoration of the nave, later replaced by marble.
The Jewish engravings are placed on the left transept: as it was common on the scenes of the Cruise, these scenes are big and hugely crowded. They were used to transfigure the Sienese events: at that epoch, it was of common use to mix together the art, the politics and the religion. The “Massacre of the Innocents” engraving could be intended as a representation of the glorious and traumatic end of the Sienese state.
The “Assalonne and Iefte” scenes- the “Death of Assalonne” and “Sacrifice of Iefte”- compose the right transept: the two pictures-full scenes are placed respectively on the top and on the middle of the transept.
Many others etchings compose this stunning masterpiece of Tuscan art: we truly suggest you visiting and discovering the Cathedral paving, immersing yourself in the striking beauties that only the “Duomo” can provide you with.