If you’re visiting the Duomo (Cathedral) in Siena, be sure to explore the other sites that make up the Duomo di Siena complex. Extending out from the existing cathedral, the complex includes the area that was intended to be a much larger Gothic cathedral.

Construction of the new building, known simply as Duomo Nuovo or New Cathedral, began in 1339 but was halted due to a decimated population and the economic recession caused by the Black Death in 1348. The unfinished section that remains, which was meant to be the aisles and nave of the New Cathedral, now houses the Cripta (Crypt), Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of Cathedral Works), and the Panorama dal facciatone (Panorama from the façade).

Along With these, the Duomo complex also includes the Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of Saint John) and the Oratorio di San Bernardino (Oratory of Saint Bernardino).

Battistero di San Giovanni

The Battistero di San Giovanni, also known as the Baptistery of Saint John or the Baptistery of Siena, is a crypt-like, 14th-century parish church located behind the Duomo. The walls and vaulted ceiling are covered with frescoes, and the baptismal font is decorated with bronze sculptural reliefs and statues. Most of the works in the Baptistery date to the 15th century, with a few notable pieces on the font, including:

  • The Banquet of Herod/The Feast of Herod (ca. 1427) by Donatello
  • Faith (ca. 1429) by Donatello
  • Hope (ca. 1429) by Donatello

Interior and Baptismal Font

As you step inside the Battistero, take a moment to admire the intricate frescoes adorning the walls and vaulted ceiling. These works of art create a stunning visual narrative that complements the religious significance of the space.

The centerpiece of the Battistero is the magnificent baptismal font, which features an array of bronze sculptural reliefs and statues. These masterpieces, crafted by renowned artists like Donatello, showcase the incredible skill and artistry of the Italian Renaissance.


Discovered only within the last 20 years, the Cripta is a fascinating archaeological find that reveals portions of the cathedral’s structure dating from the 12th to the 14th century. Sections of the flooring have glass panels allowing visitors to look down into areas 30 feet below the crypt floor. The walls of the crypt are covered with frescoes painted in the 13th century.

Exploring the Crypt

As you descend into the Cripta, you’ll feel as though you’re stepping back in time. The glass panels in the floor offer a unique perspective, allowing you to peer into the depths of the cathedral’s history.

Take your time examining the 13th-century frescoes that adorn the crypt walls. These ancient works of art provide a glimpse into the religious and artistic traditions of medieval Siena.

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, or Museum of Cathedral Works, houses a collection of artifacts that were removed from the Duomo for safekeeping and preservation. The museum displays a selection of original paintings, stained glass, and statues, including Donatello’s ‘Madonna del Perdono‘ (ca. 1458), a relief of marble with inlaid glass.

Exploring the Museum Collection

As you wander through the exhibits at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, you’ll encounter an impressive array of religious artworks. Each piece tells a story and contributes to the rich artistic legacy of the Duomo di Siena.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Donatello’s ‘Madonna del Perdono‘ up close. This stunning work of art showcases the master sculptor’s skill and innovation, combining marble and inlaid glass to create a truly unique and captivating composition.

Panorama dal facciatone

For breathtaking views of Siena, make the short climb to the Panorama dal facciatone, a panoramic viewpoint at the top of the New Cathedral. The passageway is narrow, but the vista overlooking the city is well worth the effort. Access to the viewpoint is from within the Museo dell’Opera, and admission is included with the Cathedral Museum entrance fee; both are covered by the Opa Si Pass combo ticket. To avoid long wait times, arrive early, as the number of visitors allowed up at one time is limited to about 30.

A Bird’s Eye View of Siena

As you make your way up the narrow passageway to the Panorama dal facciatone, anticipation builds for the incredible sight that awaits you. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of Siena and the surrounding Tuscan landscape.

Take a moment to catch your breath and soak in the beauty of the city sprawling out before you. From this vantage point, you can appreciate the intricate layout of Siena’s streets, the distinctive red-tiled roofs, and the rolling hills that cradle the city.

Ticket Information

To make the most of your visit to the Duomo di Siena complex, consider purchasing the Opa Si Pass combo ticket, which includes access to:

  • Cathedral
  • Piccolomini Library
  • New Cathedral Panorama Viewpoint
  • Crypt
  • Baptistery
  • Museum
  • Oratory of San Bernardino

The combo ticket costs €12.00 and offers a convenient and cost-effective way to explore all the sites within the complex.

If you prefer to visit individual sites, the ticket prices are as follows:

  • Cathedral Museum and Panorama: €7.00
  • Crypt: €6.00 (€8.00 in the case of extraordinary events)
  • Baptistery: €4.00
  • Oratory: €3.00

Additional Information

  • The Duomo di Siena complex is a testament to the city’s rich religious and artistic heritage, showcasing the work of renowned artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini.
  • The Duomo itself is a stunning example of Italian Gothic architecture, featuring a distinctive striped façade and an intricately decorated interior.
  • The Piccolomini Library, located within the Duomo, houses an impressive collection of illuminated manuscripts and frescoes depicting the life of Pope Pius II.
  • The Oratorio di San Bernardino, dedicated to Saint Bernardino of Siena, features a beautiful altarpiece by Sano di Pietro and frescoes by Ventura Salimbeni and Rutilio Manetti.
  • The Duomo di Siena complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its outstanding universal value and cultural significance.

Tips for Visiting

  • Plan to spend at least half a day exploring the various sites within the Duomo di Siena complex, as there is much to see and appreciate.
  • Purchase your tickets in advance to avoid long queues, especially during peak tourist seasons.
  • Be respectful of the religious nature of the sites and dress appropriately, with shoulders and knees covered.
  • Take advantage of the audio guides or guided tours available at some of the sites to gain a deeper understanding of the art, architecture, and history of the complex.
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning beauty of the Duomo and the breathtaking views from the Panorama dal facciatone.

A visit to the Duomo di Siena complex is an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural and artistic legacy of this enchanting Tuscan city. From the awe-inspiring architecture of the Duomo itself to the masterpieces housed within the various sites, there is something to captivate and inspire visitors of all ages and interests. So take your time, learn about the beauty and history of this remarkable complex, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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