The most beautiful lookout in Siena.
On 23 August 1339, the Great General Council of the Campana officially sanctioned the resolution to enlarge the Cathedral of Siena and partial construction continued until 1357.
According to chronicler Andrea Dei recounts, the laying of the foundation stone for the facade of the ‘New Cathedral’ actually dates back to 2 February 1339. The existing church was to become the transept of the New Cathedral and the naves were to be developed in what is now Piazza Jacopo della Quercia, formerly belonging to the Manetti family. The two plan drawings of the enlargement of the cathedral are still preserved in the Archives of the Opera della Metropolitana. This was the grandiose Sienese dream to transform the acropolis into an immense cathedral and showcase the mastery of Sienese Gothic art.
The work was entrusted to Lando di Pietro, who was recalled from Naples, where he was in the service of King Robert of Anjou. He was a goldsmith of exceptional versatility, who had distinguished himself in engineering; however, he only oversaw the Sienese site until 3 August 1340 when he passed away. He was succeeded by the refined Sienese sculptor Giovanni d’Agostino, who swiftly continued the construction of the new cathedral until 1348, before he died in the Black Death epidemic. While Lando di Pietro was a sort of ‘superintendent’ of the works, also paid by the Municipality of Siena, Giovanni d’Agostino was employed as the Opera’s foreman.
After 1348, the building process slowed down considerably until it was finally suspended. The economic recession caused by the black plague that decimated the population and the structural problems that had emerged in some parts already built brought this enormous architectural project to an end.
Later, the New Cathedral was partially demolished in its crumbling parts, the facade, side walls and north-east-facing nave remain visible. Of the south-west-facing nave, the arcades, mullioned windows with two lights and the marble facing of the lower part remain.
In the part facing the square, the immense facade features bands of black-and-white marble. Its lightened by three arches and the entrance door to the New Cathedral, which was filled in to construct the building that was to be used as the Police Headquarters.
Until 31 March: 10:30 am – 5:30 pm
1 April – 31 October: 09:30 am – 7:30 pm
Last admission half an hour before museum closing time. Times may vary due to religious events.