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SECRET SIGHTS IN SIENA: HIDDEN FRESCOES AT PALAZZO PUBBLICO AND CO.

San Pietro Alessandrino holding the city of Siena in Sano di Pietro's fresco
Fresco by Sano di Pietro in one of Palazzo Pubblico's six secret rooms


STANZE SEGRETE / SECRET ROOMS at PALAZZO PUBBLICO, piazza del Campo

Upcoming dates: March 22/23, 2014; May 21/22, 2014

If you've been to Siena countless times, you may think you know it all. But you don't. Because you couldn't. Not even I - the famous writer of an arty-farty blog about Siena - have seen all of the Renaissance frescoes at Siena's civic museum yet. 

For a reason. Palazzo Pubblico in piazza del Campo may be one of Siena's main sights (think famous frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini), but many of its beautifully adorned rooms are normally off-limits to the general public. Unless you happen to be in town for one of the guided visits which take place only a couple of times a year and grant you access to the hidden rooms with frescoes by Sienese masters like Sano di Pietro, Lippo Memmi and Il Sodoma. 

Guided visits at: 10:30 - 11:30 -  12:30 -  16:00 -  17:00 -  18:00
Tickets: € 11,00. Kids up to 11 years € 3,00 (the ticket gives you also access to the rest of the museum). For reservations and more info: +39 0577 286300; sienastanzesegrete@operalaboratori.com

Tours are in Italian only. However, just walk along. In most cases the guides know English and are happy to answer a couple of your questions. And without guide there is no secret room. 


LITTLE KNOWN CHURCHES IN SIENA - GIORNATA FAI

Saturday and Sunday March 22/23, 2014

Every spring the Fondo Italiano Ambiente organizes visits to a multitude of historic and artistic sites in Italy which are often closed to the public. This year's event will open up the doors of several churches in the Valdimontone and Nicchio neighborhoods (two of Siena's biggest contrade), which are adorned with the frescoes of Ventura Salimbeni and Francesco Vanni, two Sienese painters of the late 16th century.

A contribute of 5 € payable at the Oratorio della Santissima Trinità in via Valdimontone will grant you access to the following churches: 

  • Oratorio della Compagnia della Santissima Trinità, via Valdimontone
  • Chiesa di S. Maria degli angeli, called il Santuccio, via Roma, 90
  • Chiesa di San Raimondo al Refugio, via Refugio
  • Chiesa di S. Giacinto (Butini Bourke), via dei Pispini, 162/164
  • Chiesa di S. Spirito, piazza Santo Spirito
  • Oratorio della Chiesa di S. Gaetano da Thiene, via dei Pispini/via Oliviera

For exact opening times check out the events in Tuscany page on the FAI website (scroll all the way down to provincia di Siena). 

San Gaetano da Thiene church in the Nicchio neighborhood
San Gaetano da Thiene church: oratory of the Nicchio contrada in via dei Pispini

Not here on these weekends?
Another must see for Siena and Tuscany routiniers is the Gate to Heaven tour (available in English, German and other languages) which takes you under the roof and on top of Siena's cathedral. 

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