Mosaics in Siena

Visitors to the Cathedral in Siena are rarely able to see the magnificent mosaic floor

The Cathedral in Siena normally hides one of its truly magnificent treasures, the mosaic floor with its many sweeping scenes; 56 panels designed by some 40 artists during more than 200 years.

The earliest scene is the Wolf of Siena from 1373. This panel shows a wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, the myth is that Remus founded Siena, while Romulus founded Rome. Other panels portray the battle between David and Goliath, and the ten Sibyls, who became oracles throughout the world as well as the most magnificent of them all – the slaughter of the innocents.

The earliest scenes were made by drilling tiny holes and scratching lines in the marble and filling these with bitumen or mineral pitch; a kind of graffiti technique. At a later stage the mosaics were made as marble intarsia using black, white, green, red and blue marble.

The inlaid panels are usually covered to protect them from the thousands of visitors who flock to the Tuscan city each year. For a short period – usually just after Pallio – the floors are uncovered. This year until the 24.10.2012

Official homepage of the Cathedral in Siena

Official presentation of the “Pavimento”

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