Siena Cathedral uncovered floor tour

tour pavimento duomo siena
  • Hermes Trismegisto

  • Sibyls tiles

  • Wisdom Mount scene

  • Helija stories

  • Slaughter of the Inocentes

  • David Psalmist

Tour duration: 1/2/3 hours
Difficulty: low/medium
Suitable for children: yes
Different abled accessibility: yes
Difference in level: 0/50 metres

 

Further information at the bottom of the page(or click here)

The uncovered floor of Siena Cathedral

Siena Cathedral uncovered floor tour is an unmissable opportunity not only to admire a jewel of Sienese art but also to enjoy the vision of a rare work of its kind.

Also this year the long-awaited days of uncovering the floor of the Siena Cathedral return from June 27th to July 31st and then again from August 18th to October 18th 2022.

For those who are aware of this event for the first time, this ‘marble carpet’ is an extraordinary set of fifty-six squares that cover the entire ground of the Duomo and were almost entirely made using the marble commesso technique (marquetry). The whole work, however, is not only a delight for the eyes but also represents an extraordinary iconographic cycle of particular thematic complexity. Through the tour we retrace almost all the fifty-six panels, meeting figures such as Hermes Trismegistus, the ten Sibyls of the ancient canon, Moses and the Stories of the Exodus, the Stories of Elijah and Acab, David the Psalmist and the Stories of Abraham.

tour pavimento duomo siena

La figura di Ermete Trismegisto

The most “beautiful … that had ever been done”

The floor of the Siena Cathedral, the most “beautiful …, large and magnificent … that had ever been done” according to the historian and architect Giorgio Vasari, was built starting from the second half of the fourteenth century and was completed in the first half of the sixteenth century . Its execution involved the major artists working in Siena during the Renaissance, such as Giovanni di Stefano known as Sassetta, Antonio Federighi, Matteo di Giovanni, Pintoricchio and Domenico Beccafumi.

These personalities have left important artistic testimonies in the city, both in painting and in sculpture.

Not a simple decorated floor

What is extraordinary in this work is that the representations visible are not merely decorative, but rather historiated, that is, in almost every inlay there is the representation of figures which, in some cases, go to compose real scenes which refer to episodes from the Old and New Testament; other of these splendid images are pagan figures that reflect the ancient Canon of the Sibyls, as described in some authoritative texts by Christian authors such as Lactantius, a rhetorician who lived between the third and fourth centuries AD.

Pagan figures in a Christian place

What are the Sibyls, figures linked to the pagan world, doing in a Christian place?

Well, to many people the presence of the Sibyls in a church will certainly not surprise, since it is a lore already widely attested in the Middle Ages and which in the Cathedral of Siena already had an illustrious precedent: the Pulpit by Nicola Pisano, where the statues of the Sibyls surmount the straight frames. from the granite columns.

visite guidate pavimento duomo

Alcune delle tarsie del pavimento

tour duomo siena

Facciata del Duomo di Siena

Sibyls, female priests of the pagane antiquity

On the other hand, what is undoubtedly very fascinating in the Floor of the Duomo of Siena is to see that each of the ten Sibyls, represented in the side aisles of the church, is accompanied by a table – to be precise two for each – with inscriptions in Latin. Eminent scholars, such as Marilena Caciorgna and Roberto Guerrini – authors of an important essay entirely dedicated to the floor – have deeply studied the meaning of these inscriptions; the result is the messages that we find here are semantically and literally concatenating: therefore what for example is announced by the Cumaean Sibyl ideally continues in the message engraved in the table of Cumaean, the next Sibyl. The Siena Cathedral uncovered floor tour has as its focal moment the reading of the figures of the Sibyls.

This setting suggests the Siena Cathedral uncovered floor is a real path that must be followed. Starting from the central portal of the Cathedral – where an inscription invites us to have a particular ‘physical’ and ‘spiritual’ condition before entering the “most chaste temple” – the path winds thematically along the side aisles, to then return to the centre and then continues in the area of ​​the dome and finally of the altar.

Deciphering the secrets of this masterpiece

The beautiful subjects represented in the fifty-six inlays are not, however, easy to understand: the inscriptions are almost all in Latin, some figures are difficult to read because they are worn by time and faithful wear and tear, some scenes have very crowded compositions. This is why the most appropriate way to contemplate this masterpiece is through the Siena Cathedral floor tour.

Do not miss the opportunity to appreciate all the beauty and iconographic complexity of this extraordinary work; you will thus be able to fully understand the messages that are hidden behind the inscriptions that accompany the Sibyls, or decipher the meaning of some objects or gestures that we find inside the inlays, such as the books stacked in the image of one of the Ten Sibyls, or the unusual representation of a man hanging from a tree and being pierced by the spears of some soldiers.

Siena Cathedral floor tour will be the experience that will allow you to take with you the memory of a jewel of art and literature that is almost never visible.

Vista del pavimento dalla “Porta del Cielo”

Video with explanation of David the psalmist inlay (eng sub available)

David Psalmist Inlay

Important information about the tour (click here)

This tour can also be booked in combination with the other tours and hiking trails available on Siena and Florence, which can be consulted in the Menu.

The activity here proposed, in english language, is a private and not a joinable tour; this means that it is a tour only carried out on request and can be customised for starting time, meeting place and duration, depending on the customer’s needs.

 

 

Duration of Siena Cathedral floor private guided tour

The duration of the private tour to the floor of the Cathedral of Siena is 1 hour and can be extended to 1 hour and a half if client wants to see the other works in the Cathedral together with the guide, such as the Piccolomini Library, the Chapel of San Giovanni, the Chapel of the Vow, the Pulpit by Nicola Pisano. The visit can be extended to 2 and a half hours if, together with the guide, client also wants to visit with the guide the Crypt, the Opera del Duomo Museum and the Baptistery. Tour can be extended up to 3 hours if client wants to visit the Gate of Heaven with a guide as well.

 

 

Radio rental compulsory from 6 people onwards

From 6 people onwards, to facilitate listening to the guide explanations and ensuring social distancing outdoors and indoors, it is strictly recommended to rent radio devices with transmitters that ensure perfect listening to the explanations of the guide even from a distance; since in this tour we visit the inside of the monuments, the rental of radios is compulsory for 4 or more people. The service is booked by the guide when the guided tour is requested, but the rental cost, which is € 1.00 per person for 2 or 3 hours, is charged to the customer and can be paid directly to the guide who will then take care to pay the supplier.

Carers or teachers of school groups do not pay for the rental of the radio.

 

 

How to visit the Porta del Cielo

The visit to the Gate of Heaven lasts half an hour and must be booked in advance (at the ticket office at least half an hour before the desired time, or online by purchasing the cumulative ticket that includes all the sites of the Duomo complex + the Gate of Heaven).

Take notice: The visit to the Gate of Heaven is strongly not recommended for people suffering from heart disease or dizziness.

 

 

Opening time of the Siena Cathedral:

From April 1st to October 31st10:00 – 19:00
From November 1st to March 31st10:30 – 17:30
Opening time of the Cathedral every Sunday and religious festivities13:30 -17:30

 

Opening time of the Cathedral during the uncovering of Siena Cathedral

June 27 – July 31/ August 18 – October 18 2022

Every day except holidays: 10:00 – 19:00

Sundays and Holidays: 09:30 – 18:00

 

Opening time of the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo:

From April 1st to October 31st10:00 – 19:00
From November 1st to March 31st10:30 – 17:30

 

Opening time of the Porta del Cielo:

From April 1st to October 31stIt follows The Cathedral’s opening hours
From November 1st to March 31st

Open on Saturday : 10:30 – 17:30

and on Sunday: 13:30 – 17:30

 

 

Siena Cathedral ticket price

Full ticket

From January 1st to June 26th:

From  August 1st to August 17th:

From October 19th to December 31st:

€ 5,00

 

 

Free admission

Children up to 6 years

Accredited journalists

Handicapped people and their carers

Religious

Students of the University of Siena

Parish groups with the parish priest’s letter

 

 

 

OPA Si Pass ticket

Cumulative ticket that allows entry to the sites of the Duomo Complex: Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

 

€ 13,00

Porta del Cielo ticket

One cumulative ticket that allows entry to the sites of the Duomo Complex: Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo plus to the roof of the Cathedral

 

€ 20,00

Porta del Cielo reduced ticket

Children aged 7 to 11

 

€ 5,00

 

 

Ticket prices during the Cathedral uncovered floor time

Full Ticket

From June 27th to July 31st

From August 18th to October 18th

€ 8,00

 

Reduced Ticket

For groups and schools of more than 14 people

From June 27th to July 31st

From August 18th to October 18th

€ 6,00

 

 

OPA Si Pass ticket during uncovered floor time

Cumulative ticket that allows entry to the sites of the Duomo Complex: Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

 

€ 15,00

Porta del Cielo during uncovered floor time

One cumulative ticket that allows entry to the sites of the Duomo Complex: Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo plus to the roof of the Cathedral

 

 

€ 22,00

Porta del Cielo reduced ticket during uncovered floor time

Children from 7 to 11

 

 

€ 7,00

Free Access

Children up to 6 years

Accredited journalists

Handicapped people and their carers

Religious

Students of the University of Siena

Parish groups with the parish priest’s letter

 

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office, on the online store or directly from the guide who can buy them on behalf of the customer by skipping the line.

 

 

The cost of the entrance ticket to the Cathedral or to the other museums (in the event you want to visit them) is not included in the tour rate. The access to the Basilica of San Domenico is for free.

The guide does not provide transportation service.

To get further information, to book the tour or to get the contact of a licensed driver providing private transfer service, please write to:

info@guidaturistica-michelebusillo.com, also by Whatsapp o Telegram

 

Go back to the Itinerary description

Cost and reservation of the tour (click here)

 

Cost of the Siena Cathedral floor private guided tour

The cost for a 1 hour private guided tour is € 60.00 (price in total and not per person), for 1 hour and a half € 90.00 (always price in total and not per person). The cost for 2 and a half hours (up to 3 hours) is € 150.00.

For further information about the rates, also to check the deals available, please visit the dedicated section by clicking here.

 

 

How to book the tour?

The tour can be booked by writing an email, calling at +393332591526 or texting the guide (also via Whatsapp or Telegram) to check availability for the requested day. 

Once the day and time of the tour have been agreed with the guide, to book it is necessary to advance 50% of the tour value with a deposit to be paid by credit card.

Attention: pay the deposit only after agreed the date and the details of the tour with the guide. The remaining payment of the guided tour takes place after the tour by card, in cash or by bank transfer.

 

 

Cancellation Policy

It is the responsibility of the guide to guarantee the guide service in any case. If, even for personal reasons, the guide is unable to perform the service in the date set with the client, it will be his concern to contact a trusted colleague who can replace him and therefore guarantee the customer service.

The cancellation of the tour from the client can be done free of charge by giving timely notice to the guide before 48 hours from the date and time agreed for the service. In this case the deposit paid in advance by the customer will be returned by the guide. If instead cancellation is made by the customer when there are less than 48 hours before the date agreed for the service, the customer will lose the deposit paid.

Cancellation can be made by promptly communicating it to the guide with via email, calling the number +393332591526 or by texting (also via Whatsapp or Telegram).

 

Back to the description of the itinerary

How to reach Siena? (click here)

By Car

Reachable via the A1 motorway (Siena-Bettolle exit if coming from Rome; Florence-Impruneta exit if coming from Milan; then continue towards Siena with the Bettolle-Siena or Florence-Siena junction. Free and paying car parks are close to the Fortezza. The free car park spaces with white stripes are located along Viale Vittorio Veneto. Paying car parks, blue stripes, are located in Via Fruschelli (€ 1.50 hourly rate), or in the Stadio area (hourly rate € 2.00), the latter available in the days when no football matches are held.

Other car parks available close to the Cathedral are “Il Campo“, near Porta Tufi (hourly rate 2.00 €) and “Il Duomo“, near Porta San Marco (always 2.00 hourly rate).

 

By public Bus

To get to Siena by public bus there are connections from Florence with rapid extra-urban lines (line 131). See the timetables of the FLORENCE-SIENA LINE. Check the timetables of the SIENA-FLORENCE RETURN LINE. Bus tickets can be purchased on the Autolinee toscane website, at retailers such as tobacco shops and newsstands or at the automatic columns near the bus stops.

 

By train

Siena can be reached by train with the Trenitalia service, thanks to the regional lines. Once you arrive at the Siena railway station, you can reach the historic centre:

By urban bus

(Lines 520, 530, 706). For a real-time consultation, visit the Autolinee toscane website.

 

On foot

Taking the Camollia automatic electric escalator and then from there enter the historic centre from Porta Camollia.

 

By Taxi service

Available with positions in front of the train station or contactable at the number +39057749222, sending a message at the number +393483892305 indicating:

  • Address (Street o Square, Civic Number and Municipality);
  • Particular requests(dog or cat, payment by card, driver’s language, number of passengers if over 4, luggage if large).
    Wait for the confirmation message with the code of the arriving taxi and the estimated time

 

Organised groups/squadrons by tourist coach

For organised groups/squadrons by tourist coach, there are drop-off/drop-on points for passengers in the urban centre of Siena (click here to view the points). Tourist coaches are subject to the payment of a checkpoint (further information by clicking here).

 

By camper van

Camper owners find rest areas around the historic centre. The closest one is in the area called Fagiolone. This is an equipped area with video surveillance (daily rate € 20.00; for more info click here. Other parking areas are in Fontebecci and the Palasport Mensana area. Another equipped area is the Camping Siena Colleverde.

Go back to the Itinerary description