The floor of Siena’s Cathedral, or as the locals call it, Duomo di Siena, has been described as the most beautiful, great and magnificent, that had ever been made. Of course, this is not only because we say so, but these are the words that the great Giorgio Vasari used to describe the floor. The floor plan of the Cathedral of Siena is the result of a program that has been carried out over the centuries, from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century.
This year, you can explore the pavilion of Siena’s cathedral on the occasion of the uncovering. You will be able to admire the wooden inlays of Fra Giovanni da Verona, made with a technique similar to that of the marble salesman, with woods of different colors, depicting urban views, landscapes, and still lifes, cabinets showing the internal shelves with objects liturgical.
The preparatory cartoons for the fifty-six inlays were provided by important artists, all from Siena, except the Umbrian painter Bernardino di Betto known as Pinturicchio, author, in 1505, of the inlay with the Monte della Sapienza.
The inlays lead the visitor on a journey that ranges from the themes of classical and pagan antiquity to Wisdom, to the history of the Jewish people and Salvation through Christ, constantly evoked in the floor and never represented.
The cathedral of Siena preserves numerous masterpieces from every era. The work that has been made is exceptional in many ways!
The technique used to transfer the idea of the various artists to the floor is that of the marble salesman and graffiti. It began in a simple way, and then gradually reached a surprising perfection: the first inlays were sketched on white marble slabs with grooves made with a chisel and a drill, filled with black stucco. This technique is called graffiti. Then colored marbles were added juxtaposed together as in a wooden inlay: this technique is called commesso marble. The marble commesso floor is extraordinary, unique, not only for the technique used, but also for the message of the figurations, a constant invitation to wisdom.
Get a professional guide of the Cathedral of Siena on the occasion of the uncovering of the floor. Here is a photo collection of the masterpieces that were stamped on the floor of the cathedral of Siena.