Catherine’s Siena today

City of Siena


    Click each to enlarge
    (By Diana L Villegas, 2012)

      Church of San Domenico (St. Dominic)

      Catherine walked up the hill from her home to attend the Liturgy of the Hours and Mass at this church. Run by Dominican friars in Catherine’s day, it is still run by this religious order.

      Catherine’s home is down the hill on the other side of the tower. [See Noffke]

      Catherine’s home – Courtyard

      Now extensively remodeled this home is a museum and shrine to Catherine.  The first floor housed the family’s wool business, the dye shop and some of the apprentices.  Wool made Siena prosperous in Catherine’s day. The second and third floor included the common rooms and bedrooms of the family and extended family as Catherine’s older brothers married and joined the business.

      Hallways in Medieval Homes

      A few homes had open hallways facing the street, but most of these open hallways faced interior spaces. Notice the typical decoration with arches and marble columns contrasting with the brick architecture. Catherine’s original home would have had this architectural style.

      Medieval Town Street

      Homes are narrow but several stories high, built next to each other.  They have brick façades, some decorated with arches and columns. Catherine walked along such streets.

      Torre del Mangia

      Seen from behind and below the hill, this is Siena’s famous town hall tower completed in 1352, when Catherine was a child. Note the hilly layout of the town and the look of the buildings progressing up the hill. This view would have been almost identical in Catherine’s day.

      Torre del Mangia from Piazza del Campo

      Piazza del Campo is Siena’s main square.  The building façade immediately to the left of the tower would have looked very similar in Catherine’s day.

      Palazzo Pubblico or town hall

      This is Siena’s most famous building, seen here from the plaza, the uniquely sconce-shaped Piazza del Campo. The Palazzo Pubblico was began in 1297 and has a unique gothic architecture giving the façade the impression that it curves.

      Piazza del Campo and Palazzo Pubblico

      This plaza is sconce shaped. It is now and was in Catherine’s day, the center of Siena’s life. The piazza ground was bricked in 1349 as we see it today when Catherine was a toddler.

      Siena’s Cathedral – view from hillside behind it

      This terraced layout of the city shows the 800-year-old brick architecture.  Catherine walked up and down these hills, seeing these views.

      Siena’s Cathedral-Façade

      A beautiful example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in this part of Italy.  Note the different colors of the marble.  It was started in the 13th century, so this exterior would have looked very much the same in Catherine’s day.