In Siena this second half of October

You have until November 2 to go see the exhibition dedicated to the commissions of Cardinal Antonio Casini, bishop of Siena between 1408 and 1426 inside the monumental complex of the Cathedral of Siena. The exhibition “Masaccio: Madonna del solletico : The inheritance of Cardinal Antonio Casini, Sienese prince of the Church” in fact delves into how Casini was at the center of the religious politics of his time, so much so that he was defined as “the other pope” by a Sienese diplomat.

Among the works that belonged to the distinguished humanist and theologian, Masaccio‘s Madonna and Child, known as ‘del solletico’ since it seems that the Virgin is tickling baby Jesus, is a tangible sign of Casini’s intense bond with the Virgin Mary. The painting is on loan by the Uffizi Galleries to the Sienese complex.

The Monumental Complex offers two guided tours of the exhibition in the next few weeks before the exhibition closes: on Thursday October 21 and Thursday October 28 at 6.00 pm, exhibit set up in the Crypt of the Cathedral, which houses the precious tempera on wood painting currenyl on loan from Florence.

Following the guided visit, visitors will enjoy an aperitivo at the Baptistery Bistrot in Piazza San Giovanni.

To participate, you need to book ahead and show your Covid-19 green certification (Green Pass). Info and booking: 0577 286300 or

Casini left a significant artistic legacy inside the Siena Cathedral Complex, which includes the relief by Jacopo della Quercia in the Gallery of Statues of the Museo dell’Opera, the copy of his will in the Archivio dell’Opera della Metropolitana and the elegant pastoral with the Baptism in the Sala del Tesoro. If you do not have the opportunity to visit the exhibition with one of the guided tours, you still have time up until November 2nd.

What else is there to see in Siena?

This weekend, the “full uncovering” of the floor of the Siena Cathedral will end its annual viewing period on Sunday, October 17th. The floor is the result of a complex iconographic program carried out over the centuries, from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries, inlay after inlay, over fifty in all. The preparatory cartoons were drawn by almost all Sienese artists, including Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni, Domenico Beccafumi, as well as by the Umbrian painter Pinturicchio. Pinturicchio was the author of the famous panel with the Monte della Sapienza, a symbolic representation of the way to Virtue as the achievement of inner serenity, “a safe path even among the waves” (Sap. 14,3).

A “safe path” has also been set up for visitors who will be able to admire the floor in compliance with safety protocols, thanks to the free app “The right distance” and the installation of the CULTURE membrane, a protective film with antiviral and antibacterial properties with certified efficacy of 3 years.

The complete OpaSiPass itinerary allows, in addition to the visit of the pavement in the Cathedral, a visit to the Opera Museum where you can admire the mosaics with the symbols of the allied cities of Siena and the original inlays by Antonio Federighi with the Seven Ages of Man in the Hall of Statues. In the Sala dei Cartoni, whose entrance flanks the magnificent Majesty of Duccio, you can see the famous plan of the floor of the Duomo outlined by Giovanni Paciarelli in 1884, which gives you an overall picture of the inlays and the path that, from the entrance, leads up to the high altar.
The combination ticket also provides access to the “Crypt” under the floor of the Cathedral where the temporary exhibition of Masaccio is located, and to the Baptistery.

So are you heading to Siena this weekend?

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!