Siena is one of the jewels of Tuscany and its Cathedral is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular buildings that you can visit in Tuscany, but its real treasure is actually the one that’s normally kept out of sight: it's the floor!
Siena's duomo, or cathedral, floor is paved with stunning marble mosaics that tell stories.
Created by 40 artists, including major Sienese artists and a few top artists from outside Siena, between 1369 and 1547, the unique pavement is made up of 56 panels depicting Biblical stories, historical events, and allegorical scenes.
In the center of the floor near the door are the pavement's oldest panels including a panel showing the wolf of Siena with allied cities depicted in a circle around the wolf.
Crafted by about forty artists and artisans between the 14th and 16th centuries, the 56 panels that constitute the floor vary in size and shape – most of them have a rectangular shape, some a hexagon or a rhombus one – and are made mainly by two different techniques: one known as graffito (tiny holes and cutting lines created in the marble and then filled with black stucco and mineral pitch) and the one called“marble intarsia” (black, white, green, red and blue marble employed in much the same manner as wood inlaying).
Being as beautiful as it is fragile, the floor is normally covered by sheets in order to protect it from the wear caused by visitors’ shoes. Usually, but not always!
This year, in occasion of the Jubilee the floor will be uncovered for people to see from June 29th to July 31st and from August 18th to the last Sunday of October.
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