The Lactating Madonna by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

For the holiday season this year, the Crypt under the Duomo in Siena hosts one of the most important masterpieces of European Medieval art, Ambrogio Lorenzetti‘s Lactating Madonna.

The painting is generally housed in the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art at the Oratory of San Bernardino which is closed during the winter, so the masterpiece will be on special display in the crypt below the Duomo until January 31, 2014.

The idea of the exhibit was born from the wish to share the precious painting on wood by Lorenzetti, considered one of the best examples of “humanized sacredness” to a larger public, and create the occasion to discuss the intriguing theme of the Virgin breastfeeding the baby.

A rich program of related events and initiatives enriches the cultural offering of the Opera del Duomo this holiday season.

During the season, it will be possible to participate in guided visits to discover the major works consered within the Museo dell’Opera and within the Cathedral, including the Lactating Madonna by Paolo di Giovanni Fei, the polyptych by i Gregorio di Cecco and the majestic Piccolomini Altar by  Andrea Bregno decorated with 4 sculptures by the great Michelangelo.

The conference “A Tea at the Opera” on Sunday, December 8 by Ilaria Bichi Ruspoli will also discuss the iconography around the Virgo Lactans, or lactating virgin.

Finally, on December 26, it will be possible to follow an itinerary dedicated to the Virgin. The visit starts from the Cathedral, then takes visitors to the churches in Siena dedicated to the Virgin, including the Collegiata di Santa Maria in Provenzano and the Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi.

The Lactating Madonna
Siena, Crypt under the Duomo
December 1 2013 – January 31, 2014
Every day from 10:30am to 5:30pm
Cost: OPA Si Pass € 8 – an all-inclusive tickets that includes the viewing of the Lorenzetti’s Madonna in the Crypt, the Piccolomini Library, Cathedral, Baptistery, Opera Museum. Kids up to 11 years old enter free.

For more information, reservations and guided visits, contact Opera Civita Group at 0577 286300
or by email at Visit for more information on all of the sites around the Duomo.

About Lourdes Flores

An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!