Siena

Santa Maria della Scala

Santa Maria della Scala is a former hospital in Siena, Italy, which is now a museum.

The hospital was dedicated to caring for abandoned children, the poor, the sick, and pilgrims and is one of the oldest hospitals in the world.

The hospital gets its name from the Piazza Del Duomo from Siena Cathedral. Santa Maria della Scala refers to its position across from the steps that lead to the Cathedral.

Pilgrims Hall is the main hall where pilgrims were lodged. It also served as a location for public festivities. In the 1330s, Santa Maria della Scala commissioned many important interior and exterior frescoes as well as several altar pieces. While exterior frescoes no longer exist, interior frescoes have survived for centuries. The majority were alter pieces that were created after the Black Death. The principal artist is Bartolommeo Bulgarini.

Around 1335, the church commissioned a series of frescoes depicting the life of the Virgin. The scenes were chosen both to honor Mary and to also give recognition to her parents, Saints Joachim and Anne, the subjects of special devotion at the hospital during the 1320s and 1330s. The scenes became a valuable model for iconography.

Duomo di Siena

Siena’sDuomo was constructed from 1136 to 1382. Is a late Gothic church with early Renaissance painting and Baroque design. Early architects used striking Romanesque stripes but the form of the church is one of the best Gothic styles in Italy.

Originally designed to be the largest church in Christendom, The plan had to be altered because the plague of 1348 virtually halved the city’s population.

There are many masterpieces in the church including some from Donatello and Michelangelo. Other buildings include the Baptistry, the Museo Dell’Opera Metropolitano, and the Santa Maria della Scala hospital across the Square, where are 1440s frescoes in the wards depict a series of fascinating medieval hospital scenes.

The Campanile (tower) was added in 1313. The pulpit panels were carved by Nicola Paisano and 1265. And the extraordinary frescoes in the Piccolomini Library portray the life of Pope Pius II.

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