Photos: Courtesy of Opera – Civita Group, Press Office
The Cathedral of Siena re-opens its “Gate of Heaven( 1 March – 6 January 2015). Once again, from 1st March, visitors will be able to admire the very peak of the building. The visiting path, opened forthe first timelast spring,has allowed to admire venueseveropen to the publicandonly used bythe workmen directed by a succession of great architects who have followed one another during the centuries. After the large attendance of Italian and foreign public registered during the last extraordinary opening, the Rector of the Opera della Metropolitana, MarioLorenzoni, has promoted also forthis year, a re-openingof the Gate ofHeaven.
The visit starts with the magnificent façade of the Duomo, flanked by two majestic towers ending in many spirelike forms that shoot upwards. In these towers, winding staircases, practically invisible to visitors, lead up to the ‘heavens’ of the Cathedral. Above the starry vault of the right aisle begins an itinerary reserved to small groups accompanied by expert guides, which reserves a succession of discoveries and emotions. Visitors will indeed walk ‘above’ the holy temple and admire fascinating views both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the Cathedral. From the polychrome stained glass windows depicting the Apostles by Ulisse De Matteis, visitors will gaze down onto the floor and the principal sculptural monuments, and even inside the dome with its ‘Pantheon’ of Sienese saints, the four Patron Saints, Saint Catherine and Saint Bernardino, the golden ‘giants’ who from above protect the community of the faithful. Then, from the balcony of the dome, they will contemplate the high altar, the copy of the stained glass window by Duccio di Buoninsegna with, in the centre, the mandorla of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and masterpieces of sculpture. From the left aisle, they will look out to admire a splendid panorama of the Basilica of San Domenico, the Medici Fortress, the entire dome of the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist, and the surrounding countryside up to hills known as the Montagnola Senese. Finally, they will enter behind the façade, at the balcony that looks out onto Piazza del Duomo and the view of the Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala, and enter the balcony on the counter-façade. Here unfolds an overall view of the nave; the gaze scans the heads of popes and emperors, the intarsias with the philosophers of the ancient world uttering sentences.
The “gate of heaven” is opened to visitors as though they were climbing the ladder that appeared to Jacob in his dream, the top of which reached heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it (Genesis 28: 10-22). In his dream, God promises Jacob the earth on which he has slept and an immense lineage. When he rises, Jacob exclaims «This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven», a verse used by the liturgy of the mass in dedicating cathedrals. In the Litany of Loreto, though, the ‘gate of heaven’ is also the Virgin Mary, a definition that best expresses her power and goodness. As the Mother of Christ and of humanity, Mary contributes to our eternal salvation in Heaven where she is the ‘Queen assumed into Heaven’. The visiting itinerary “from above” will thus permit visitors to better understand the dedication of the Cathedral of Siena to the Assumption of the Madonna, and the strong connection the people of Siena have had with their ‘patron’ for centuries: Sena vetus civitas Virginis.
Strongly desired by the Opera della Metropolitana di Siena, the initiative is organised by Opera – Civita Group. Opera Civita Group manages the booking, information and guided tours services for the Cathedral of Siena complex and, for the extraordinary opening of the ‘Gate of Heaven’, proposes cultural packages that enrich the city’s touristic offer.
For more information, visit our website at: www.operaduomo.siena.it
1 March 2014 – 6 January 2015
Cathedral of Siena
Tickets (by reservation only)
Full: € 25.00
Children up to 11 years old: € 7.00
Group: € 400.00 (max 17 pax)
OPA SI PASS + (Museums and Attic of the Duomo) € 30.00
Ticket price includes the guided tour to the Attic of the Duomo and to the Cathedral
Information and Booking
Tel. +39 0577286300 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm)
Opera – Civita Group
Barbara Izzo – Arianna Diana
Salvatore La Spina