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Biblioteca Piccolomini, Siena

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Biblioteca Piccolomini is perhaps the most elaborate room of the Siena Cathedral. Pope Pius III commissioned the library in the early 16th century to house the valuable book collection of his deceased uncle, Pope Pius II. Walk through the carved marble entrance to see the brightly colored frescoes that cover the walls. These tell the story of Pope Pius II's life. You can study them to learn about one of Siena's most treasured sons. In the middle of the room, admire the famous Three Graces statue, a third-century Roman copy of the Greek original. Plan to visit Biblioteca Piccolomini during your Siena vacation using our convenient Siena trip itinerary builder website.
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Biblioteca Piccolomini reviews

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  • I visited the Piccolomini Library in November 2022 for perhaps the sixth time. I have always found it fascinating for the narrative style of the artist who mainly worked on it, Pinturicchio, and in... 
    I visited the Piccolomini Library in November 2022 for perhaps the sixth time. I have always found it fascinating for the narrative style of the artist who mainly worked on it, Pinturicchio, and in...  more »
  • It was definitely worth seeing. The pope depicted in the ceiling was an interesting man. The manuscripts are gorgeous, especially if you’re interested in reading music. It’s a quick view, and worth....  more
    It was definitely worth seeing. The pope depicted in the ceiling was an interesting man. The manuscripts are gorgeous, especially if you’re interested in reading music. It’s a quick view, and worth....  more »
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  • Beautiful room inside Siena's cathedral. Spectacular and exceptional artwork in this library constructed by Pope Pius III to commemorate the memory of his uncle, Pope Pius II. The walls are divided into 10 scenes representing various important stages in the life of the Pope, the ceiling itself offers another impressive view with its main rectangle and half voltas painted in blue, red and gold and in the middle of the room there's the beautiful copy of The Three Graces from Roman times.
  • The Piccolomini Library is a monumental environment of the Siena cathedral.The library is magically beautiful. Its frescoes and exposed books are priceless treasure. In the honor the memory of the maternal uncle Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II), and to preserve the rich bibliographic patrimony that the pontiff and humanist collected when he was in Rome, Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, archbishop of Siena (later Pope Pius III), around in 1492 he was built a library on the premises of the old rectory along the north-western side of the Cathedral. Todeschini was inspired by the French tradition that included libraries attached to cathedrals and by the opening of the Vatican Library of Pope Sixtus IV. As for the chronology of the frescoes that decorate the library, they were made by Pinturicchio and his workshop in a period of time ranging from 1503 to 1508 and celebrate the life and deeds of the pontificate of Pius II, rich in evocation of landscapes and real and imaginative costumes, with refined representations of ceremonies and characters, performed with a wealth of glazed colors. Among the beautiful murals besides Pope Pius II is the character of Pinturicchio himself. In the scene with the canonization of Saint Catherine of Siena, among the public of the religious orders, in the lower left, the two figures in which the young Raphael (with red stockings) have long recognized themselves, who would have collaborated with Bernardino di Betto the execution of the frescoes in the Library, and Pinturicchio himself (with the red cap). The fifth scene of the cycle is one of the best known: it represents the meeting, promoted by the pontiff, between Emperor Frederick III and Eleonora of Portugal, which took place on February 24, 1452, near Porta Camollia. In addition to the murals in the room, we can also admire the marble sculpture of Three Graces. Magnificent codes ( Hand Painted and Written Books),(Gradualie Antifonari) are preserved in the display cases on the walls. It is a very representative collection for the history of the Italian miniature of the fifteenth century. Beyond the Sienese artists, the most precious pages are those decorated by Girolamo da Cremona and Liberale da Verona.

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