One of the most visited areas in the cathedral is the Piccolomini Library, which was commissioned by Pope Pius II in 1492. It now contains several medieval illuminated manuscripts, but the reason most people visit the Library is to see the frescoes and painted ceiling. Look up, and you'll see an elaborately coloured fresco, depicting key events from the life of Pius II, glittering with enamelled colours and golden highlights.
Attending a service
Although one of Siena's most visited historic sites, Siena Cathedral is still an actively used place of worship. Mass is held daily at 9am in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and at 10am in the Madonna del Voto chapel. On Sunday, Mass is held in the main cathedral at 8am, 11am, 12.15pm and 6pm. Visitors are free to attend these services, which are conducted in Italian.
Gate of Heaven
The cathedral has recently opened up roof areas to the general public, allowing visitors to see both the interiors and exterior of the building from a different perspective. Look down on the nave from ceiling level, then ascend the spiral staircase further up into the tower for panoramic views across Siena and beyond. This is one of the cathedral's most popular experiences and places are limited, so reserve your places online before visiting.
The Cathedral's most important sculpture and other works of art are on display in the museum, spread over two floors. On the ground floor, see a display of 14th-century sculpture which was originally displayed on the outside of the building, Upstairs, there is a display of 14th-century altarpieces and other religious painting. The Treasury has a collection of over 200 precious objects, finished in gold and precious stones.
The beautifully decorated baptistry is dominated by the hexagonal font, embellished by art showing the life of John the Baptist. The walls and ceilings of the Baptistry show other religious scenes painted by Vecchietta.