The entrance to the Museo Civico in Siena is in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pubblico. An iron staircase leads to the museum, the room of which house some of the most famous works of art in Tuscany. The most important rooms are the Sala del Mappamondo and the Sala della Pace, with masterpieces by Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
Museo Civico Siena
Address: Piazza del Campo – Siena. Phone: +39 0577 292232. Opening times: From 10:00 till 19:00 (November to February till 18:00). Closed: December 25. Ticket price: 6 Euros. Family ticket (2 adtlts + children over 11): 22 Euros. Children up to 11 years of age: free. Combi-ticket Museo Civico + Santa Maria della Scala: 14 Euros (valid for 2 days).
History and description
Apart from the masterworks in the first two rooms, the museum specializes in 16th to 18th century paintings and 14th to 18th century local ceramics.
What to see
Sala del Mappamondo
The Sala del Mappamondo (“Hall of the Map of the World”) owes its name to a work of art that doen’t exiast anymore. The map of the world was a painting on a revolving mechanism created by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, with Siena in the center and the conquered lands around it.
The most important work left in the room is the “Maestà” by Simone Martini. Its creation took six years, from 1315 till 1321. The painting shows Maria in the center, surrounded by kneeling saints, begging her to save the city.
Martini also painted the “Guidoriccio da Fogliano” in this room, in 1328. Guidoriccio was a famous mercenary soldier, who fought for Siena from 1327 till 1333. After he was expelled, he played roles in the local governments of Reggio Emila, Padua and Verona. Later he returned to Siena. Guidoriccio is buried in the Church of San Domenico. Although Guidoriccio on horseback takes up central position in the fresco, in reality it was called “Siege of Montemassi”.
Below the masterpiece there are paintings depicting saints, by Il Sodoma and others. The top part of the wall is taken up by other battle scenes.
Sala della Pace
The second room is the “Hall of Peace” and contains Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s famous “Allegory of Good and Bad Government” fresco cycle, painted between 1337 and 1338. The frescoes take up three walls, “The Allegory of Good Government” and the “Allegory of Bad Government” facing each other. The third one is the “Allegory of Good Government in the City and Countryside”, which supposedly shows the positive effects of the Governo del Nove (“Government of the Nine”).
Sala del Risorgimento
The Sala del Risorgimento, named for Italy’s fight for independence in the 19th century, exhibits works by local painters from Siena. The works show events from the life of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the country.
The 2nd floor loggia provides a panoramic view of the countryside. The remains of the original Fonte Gaia by Jacopo della Quercia are preserved here.
The Hall of Pillars highlights 14th and 15th century Sienese painters. The Sala di Balia, also known as Sala dei Priori, has frescoes dedicated to Alexander III and paintings by Martino di Bartolomeo and Spinello. The Anticappella is decorated with frescoes by Taddeo di Bartolo.