Siena – Duomo Di Siena

We are drawn to the Churches/Basilicas/Cathedrals of European Cities. When they were built the power was consolidated in the Church or at least the powerful agreed that building churches sufficed as “Opium des Volkes.” It was where the money was concentrated, the art was concentrated, and city-states exhibited their power. Nyah-Nyah-Nyah-Nyah-Nyah, my Cathedral is bigger than your Cathedral!

And that is exactly what was going on here in Siena. The Sienese wanted to out do the Florentines. It was planned to be bigger better more of everything that a Cathedral could be.

When we went inside the first reaction we had was that we had seen this kind of facade before. The columns of different colors in the Duomo di Siena immediately reminded us of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba so there was a little bit of deja-vu all over again.

It is a beautiful Cathedral from the nave and dome..

To the mosaics on the floor.

Our Ticket included admission to the Library which was richly decorated with depictions of historical events of the city and an intricately painted ceiling. I’m sure that a phd in the History of Siena could regale you with stories of these mosaics and pictures for hours.

I can’t.

The music/liturgy nerd in me however was quite fascinated by the books displayed in the library. Illustrated pages of the liturgy with the notation for chanting. OK all you singists, sing along with me.

There was one little problem with Siena’s plan for surpassing Il Duomo in Florence, this little thing known as the Black Death. It devastated Siena, killed some 80,000 people, the grander plans for the cathedral were never realized and Siena never regained the glory it once knew. Eventually it was taken over by Florence. As I’ve reflected before we have no concept of what the plague did to Europe. Even though covid cost us many lives and hardship we had the technical ability to understand and mitigate the worse of it. In the 14th century they had no idea and it decimated vast populations in the world and in it’s wake changed the societal and cultural reality of much of the world.

It was nap time so we went back to the room. I needed to stretch my legs though. Not only does Ruby like to Flane I get cramped when I do to much of it so I have to step out a bit. I wandered a bit and found, surprise, another church, this one much more modest but beautiful, Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico, and the adjacent Piazza Madre Teresa Di Calcutta.

After my exercise, knowing Ruby was still napping (or posting) I stopped at what has become my favorite coffee joint, Bonucci Boulangerie, just around the corner from our hotel. A cappuccino and a pistachio tart for under 5 Euros. sweet.

When we get back home they will have build a new Moka coffee place just down the street from us at Sherman and Northport. It will be a great addition to the neighborhood, but once you’ve done coffee in Italy (or France). fug-get-about-it.



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