The historic center of Siena, as everyone knowns, represents the typical medieval town, because the streets are narrow and the buildings are made of brick; furthermore, some of the most popular monuments (including the Cathedral and the Palazzo Pubblico) date back to the XII and XII century, centuries of great splendor for Siena.
However, even the Renaissance period was crucial to the town, so we have chosen the most beautiful churches built in that age to suggest an ernative route, a journey discovering the masterpieces, now housed by churches and museums.
About the XIV century, in that period the role of the contrada is defined and the Palio, in the same years, it became an international event that attracted European sovereigns and high prelates.
On the occasion of your next stay in Siena, visit the most beautiful Renaissance churches of the historic center!
Santa Maria in Portico in Fontegiusta
Credits: Fontegiusta By Sailko (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
This church was built to celebrate the victory of Siena in the battle of Poggio Imperiale, and was completed in 1484.
A curiosity about the sacristy: Here are housed the relics belonged to Christopher Columbus, who was a student at the University of Siena.
Santa Maria dei Servi
Credits: Basilica di San Clemente in Santa Maria dei Servi by Sailko, via Wikimedia Commons
The architectural style of this basilica is the result of 3 centuries of works, so that you can define it Romanesque and Gothic-Renaissance. The year of completion was 1537 and today you can admire the Renaissance art peculiarities in the nave and the transept of the church.
The Basilica is located in Piazza Manzoni, on the hill overlooking Valdimontone.
Church of San Martino
Credits: Chiesa di San Martino by Sailko, via Wikimedia Commons
The Terzo San Martino (one of three areas in which the town is divided) takes its name from this church, built in the XII century and enlarged in the XVI century.
The works of art hosted in its interior, therefore, belong to different periods, so we recommend you to see in particular the painting Nativity of San Martino by Domenico Beccafumi, and the famous statue Madonna col Bambino by Jacopo della Quercia, now kept at the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo in Siena.
The Church of San Martino is located in Via del Porrione.
Church of Santo Spirito
Credits: Interno della chiesa di Santo Spirito, By Mongolo1984 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
The origins of this church date back to 1498 and the convent was abolished in the XIX century to become a prison, later transformed back to church.
Among the works inside this church we mention the frescoes of 1530 by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi called Il Sodoma, and a rare terracotta nativity scene painted by Ambrogio della Robbia (1504).
Church of Santa Maria delle Nevi
This small church, located at via Montanini, owes its name to the masterpiece painted by Matteo di Giovanni, the Enthroned Madonna and Child with Saints Peter, Lawrence, Catherine of Sienna and John the Evangelist placed on the arpiece.
The church is now deconsecrated and open only for events or special openings, for information use the following contacts 0577 248111- 0577 44125.
Santa Maria in Provenzano
Credits: Santa Maria di Provenzano by Sailko, via Wikimedia Commons
The Church of Santa Maria in Provenzano, in Piazza Provenzano Salvani, is well-known because here it keeps the terracotta icon of the Madonna of Provenzano, which is named the Palio of July 2nd.
Every year, in fact, on the afternoon of July 1st here is brought the Drappellone, and then moved, at the end of the Palio, at Palazzo Pubblico.
Church and convent of San Niccolò del Carmine
Credits: San Michele Arcangelo che scaccia gli angeli ribelli di Domenico Beccafumi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In Pian dei Mantellini there is this church that was subjected, over the centuries, to profound changes. The most relevant are attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi, who in 1517 redesigned this church.
Among the most valuable works in it, we were impressed by the St Michael defeats the Rebel Angels by Domenico Beccafumi.
San Niccolò del Carmine is now the oratory for the Contrada della Pantera.
What is your favorite church among those that we chose? Customize your journey into the heart of Siena!