Lessons from the Road #10: Siena

Lesson #10:  Pay attention. Sometimes beauty is overhead, and to the right, and to the left, and even under your feet.

Getting to go to Siena was kind of a happy accident—at least for me. Not so much so for one of our group. Four friends had planned on going to Siena, but one of them woke up with a cold and decided she’d rather stay at the villa and rest for the day. With room for another person in the car, the others invited me to go with them. I was sorry our friend didn’t feel well, but I was grateful for the invitation.

It took us over two hours to drive to Siena, so we weren’t there long, but we had time for a leisurely wander through the Cathedral, or Duomo. In a country of beautiful, ornate cathedrals, the Duomo di Siena is one of the most beautiful. The West façade, with the main entrance, is, well, stunning.

Copy of Sienna Duomo Front

Sienna Duomo1 Sienna Duomo Central AngelSienna Duomo Doors

And there are sculptures of Romulus and Remus being nursed by the she-wolf of Siena in front.

Sienna Romulus and Remus 2 Sienna Romulus and Remus

Inside the Duomo, there is so much to see, it is impossible to take it all in. There are the black-and-white striped marble columns,…

Copy of Sienna Inside

the dome (with Bernini’s sun-like gilded lantern),…

Sienna Inside Dome 2 Sienna TipTop of Dome Close up

and the floors. Yes, the floors. I’m gazing around, mouth agape, at the walls, the columns, the ceilings, and then I look down at the floors. Each section is a different marble mosaic, depicting people (there’s a whole series of oracles) or scenes.

Copy of Sienna Floor 17 Copy of Sienna Floor 18 Copy of Sienna Floor 15 Copy of Sienna Floor 16

Copy of Sienna Floor5 Copy of Sienna Floor4

Copy of Sienna Floor 14 Sienna Floor 11

And then there are the side chapels, like the Chapel of the Madonna of the Vow, …

Copy of Sienna Madonna

Sienna Dome in Madonna of the Vow Chapel Sienna Madonna Dome Close Up

and the Piccolomini Library.

Sienna Library Ceiling

Sienna Library Ceiling Close Up

Sienna Library Ceiling Detail Sienna Library Ceiling Detail 2

Sienna Library Ceiling Detail 3

What a visual feast—or smorgasbord even. Overwhelming. Stunning. It would take days to really see it all. I’m grateful to have had the unexpected opportunity to see what I did.

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