Civic Museum of Siena
Wonderful collection of decorative items from the Palazzo and prints, seals and medallions
Tel. +39 0577 292615 – 0577 292614
Accessible by lift. Accessible bathroom.
1/11 – 15/03: 10.00am – 6.00pm (ticket office closes at 5.15pm)
16/03 – 31/10: 10:00am – 7.00pm (ticket office closes at 6.15pm)
Christmas Day: closed
New Year’s Day: 12.00pm – 6.00pm
These above times may have variations from 27/06 to 03/07 and from 11/08 to 17/08 due to activities concerning the Palio.
Cumulative ticket (valid for 2 days):
Museo Civico + Santa Maria della Scala: € 13.00
Torre del Mangia + Museo Civico + Santa Maria della Scala: € 20.00 – Family ticket (2 adults + children over 11 years): € 40.00
The Civic Museum is one of the most important attractions in Siena. Located inside the Palazzo Pubblico, in the famously distinctive square of Piazza del Campo, the museum is home to a vast collection of artworks and artefacts related to the history of Italy and of the city itself.
Built in 1823, the museum has been expanded over the years, with the addition of new exhibition spaces and collections. For visitors eager to discover the centuries-old history and artistic heritage of this ancient and charming mediaeval city, the Civic Museum of Siena is an absolute must-see.
Civic Museum of Siena: what to see
Entering from the Courtyard of the Podestà, visitors can access the first floor of the Palazzo Pubblico, where the many rooms and priceless artistic heritage of the magnificent Civic Museum of Siena are located. The exhibition is divided into five main rooms containing numerous masterpieces of local art, including, for instance, several frescoes by Simone di Martini and Duccio di Buoninsegna. Below are our recommendations on what to see at the at the Civic Museum of Siena and information on its most important works.
Sala del Risorgimento
The museum tour begins in the Sala del Risorgimento, originally known as the Sala di Vittorio Emanuele II, as it was inaugurated in memory of the first King of Italy, in 1890. Today, the room is not only a tribute to Victor Emmanuel II, but also a celebration of the historical period of the Italian Risorgimento; featuring several objects and works of art from this time.
Among the most significant works exhibited in this room are frescoes by Pietro Aldi: “The meeting between Victor Emmanuel II and General Radetzky at Vignale”, which depicts the signing of the armistice at the end of the First Italian War of Independence, and the famous “Meeting at Teano” featuring Giuseppe Garibaldi and the King. Visitors can also admire frescoes by Luigi Mussini, portraying allegorical figures of the four corners of the world. The room also houses a number of Risorgimento-period relics, including the uniform worn by the King at the battle of St. Martin.
Sala della Balìa and Sala del Concistoro
Continuing our tour of the museum, we come to two of the most ancient rooms in the building: the Sala della Balìa and the Sala del Concistoro. The Sala della Balìa is divided into two distinct sections. The walls are entirely frescoed: its most notable murals, painted by Spinello Aretino and Martino di Bartolomeo in the early 1400s, depict the life of Pope Alexander III.
A magnificent portal, built entirely of marble by Bernardo Rossellino in 1448, leads into the Sala del Concistoro, where visitors can admire a masterpiece of Italian Mannerism: the fresco paintings by Domenico Beccafumi, an allegorical transposition of the Public Virtues, such as Harmony, Patriotism and Justice.
Sala del Mappamondo
The Sala del Mappamondo is one of the museum’s centrepieces. Also known as the Council Chamber, it houses two large frescoes by one of Siena’s best-known artists, Simone Martini: “La Maestà” (1315) and “Guidoriccio da Fogliano” (1328). Below the “Guidoriccio”, we find “Taking of a Castle”: a fresco attributed to Duccio di Buoninsegna. It dates back to 1314, making it the oldest work of art in the building. One of the walls still bears the pivot and marks left by a long-lost rotating wooden globe installed by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, from which the room takes its name.
Sala dei Nove and Sala dei Pilastri
Adjacent to the Sala del Mappamondo is the Sala dei Nove, or Sala della Pace, named after the explicit message it embodies. One of the museum’s most significant fresco cycles is displayed inside: painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti between 1338 and 1339, “Effects of Good and Bad Government” depicts a political allegory of the rule of “the Nine”, the lords of Siena who ruled from 1287 to 1355, and its effects on the town and the surrounding countryside.
Our visit ends at the Sala dei Pilastri, which features works of art dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. While most are the work of minor artists, they are nevertheless very beautiful. Among these are “The Painted Cross” by Massarello di Gillio, “Saints Stephen, Mary Magdalene and Anthony the Great” by Martino di Bartolomeo, and a rare stained glass fragment made by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, depicting Saint Michael the Archangel.
Loggia dei Nove
The museum tour also allows visitors access to the monumental Loggia dei Nove, located at the back of the Palazzo Pubblico. A large balcony supported by four pillars offers a magnificent view over the Orto de’ Pecci, Piazza del Mercato and the southern part of the city of Siena.