Tour Locations | From the Golden Age to the Glory of Siena’s Present Traditions
Basilica di San Domenico
Except for the windows, the Basilica of San Domenico represents a perfect example of Dominican or Franciscan architecture: the poverty which both friar orders aspired to was to be reflected in the simplicity of their churches.
Single nave plan became thus very popular, still, the walls would have been beautifully frescoed with episodes from the life of saints or from the Old as well as the New Testament. None of this is to be seen here, except for some fragments. Unfortunately, through the centuries, two fires broke out here and the earthquake of 1798 brought even more damage.
On the right-hand side of the nave is a Renaissance chapel dedicated to St. Catherine of Siena, patron saint of Italy along with St Francis of Assisi. The paintings depict her as the Dominican nun that she became at the age of 15, dedicating her short life to others. She died in Rome in 1380 where she is still buried today but this space contains the relic of her head. Have a look through the grid on top of the altar!
Whether you like the style or not, the windows are quite unique, all designed by different artists in the second part of the 1900s and beginning of the 2000s.
Don't be surprised to see all these flags in a church, this is not the only church in Siena featuring this. They represent all the 17 districts of Siena with the aim of honouring St. Catherine.
When you are ready, please leave the basilica, walk out straight and then right down the steps where you see the little garden and keep following the road as it curves.