This and That

Random bits of my life

Siena Cathedral

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 20, 2013

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, covered in black and white marble, was completed in the thirteenth century. The direction of the church is unusual. Usually the “front” door faces west, with the high altar on the east side, and the main axis of the church running in an east-west direction. Some sources say this cathedral’s axis runs north-south because it was going to be expanded so that the present nave would have been the transept of a church twice the size. I checked a map and the cathedral actually runs at a diagonal — its facade faces south-west, with the high altar on the north-east. This doesn’t mean a whole lot except that I couldn’t use the usual terms like north side, western facade, etc.

The first photo (above) is a close-up of the cupola on top of the dome. As you may have gathered, I love photographing architectural details and sculpture.

The next two photos show the cathedral and its campanile, taken with a wide-angle lens. The piazza in front of the cathedral is not very large, which means that using a normal lens would require stitching several shots together to capture the whole building.

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Italy

View of the cathedral over the wall, part of the unfinished nave:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Massive open doorway leading from the street to the unfinished nave. There were plans to double the size of the cathedral, but the Black Death and other problems stopped construction, which was never resumed. Now the unfinished nave is used as a parking area.

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Inside of  unfinished nave, with Romanesque arch.

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Close-up of the arch (not easy to get without a tripod because it was roughly the height of the church, but the bright sun helped):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Facade, viewed from the side of the church:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Close-up of facade:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Portico over door facing unfinished nave:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

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