The Basilic of San Domenico in Siena
Prenota il Sangallo Park Hotel e scopri la Basilica di San Domenico
This magnificent Gothic building made of bricks was begun by the Dominican friars in 1226 on the hill of Camporegio, area donated by the family Malavolti to the Domenican order. Most part of the present nave, with its rectangular plan and the open-beamed roof of Cistercian Gothic style, goes back to that period. The interior is spacious, majestic, essential, characteristic of the mendicant orders, suitable for preaching to large crowds of faithful. The marble floor and the pillars' grotesque are beautiful. The church houses a magnificent Majesty of Guido da Siena (master of Duccio di Boninsegna) dated 1221. The Chapter, the Old Sacristy, the Refectory and the Dormitory were built at the same time of the church. The Cloister was painted by Lippo Memmi and Lippo Vanni. In early 1300, and for many years, the builders worked in the steep cliff of Fontebranda, to set up and raise the walls of what was called the New Church (crypt and transept). In the crypt was buried the body of St. Catherine's father. In the transept were built six chapels which are sides to the apse. The Chapel of St. Catherine of Siena stands out: it contains a reliquary with the head of the saint; built in 1488, it was painted in the early '500, mostly by Sodoma.
In the Chapel of the Volte, a fresco of the late fourteenth century by Andrea Vanni, is the only true portrait of St. Catherine of Siena. After the canonization of the Saint, the Basilica in 1461 received the most precious Catherine codes and many relics. During the centuries the Church has suffered several damages, in 1798 an earthquake destroyed the structure that was quickly restored. During these years, the Church underwent a radical restoration. Today, its structure is exactly as it was originally intended by the Dominican Fathers.