"The Piccolomini Library" Duomo - Libreria Piccolomini - Piccolomini Library Tip by JoostvandenVondel

  Far wall, Three Graces and Frescoes
by JoostvandenVondel
  • Far wall, Three Graces and Frescoes - Siena
      Far wall, Three Graces and Frescoes
    by JoostvandenVondel
  • Renaissance Choir Book - Siena
      Renaissance Choir Book
    by JoostvandenVondel

One of the treasures contained in the Duomo of Siena is an entire room known as the Piccolomini Library. Located about halfway down the nave, the visitor can freely enter this grandiose room which was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini, Archbishop of Siena who went on to become Pope Pius III. It was constructed in 1492 and it is suggested to be inspired by the opening of the Vatican library in 1475. The purpose of the library was in honour and memory of the Archbisop's uncle, Enea (Aeneus) Piccolomini who himself became Pope Pius II. Indeed, the ten Renaissaince frescoes painted on the walls of the library by Pinturicchio depict the life of Aeneus and are a beautiful and colourful testament to a figure of history that most today completely ignore.

The magnificent vaulted ceiling was also painted by Pinturicchio (circa 1520) and is decorated with scenes from classical mythology. The centre is dominated by three large squares depicting the Rape of Proserpine, the Piccolomini Coat of Arms and Diana and Endymion.

Lining the walls are carved display cases displaying a fantastic array of 30 richly illustrated Renaissance choir books (1465-1515); the far wall is also graced with a sculptural group of the Three Graces (charm, beauty, and creativity). This is a wonderful sight for anyone interested in illuminated manuscripts and frescoes (and let's face it, entry is free so go in and have a look round!).

Address: Piazza del Duomo
Directions: Central

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 22, 2009
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