Santa Maria della Scala Museum
Santa Maria della Scala was one of the first examples of European hostel and hospital in the medieval times. It was built on the Via Francigena to give shelter to the pilgrims going to Rome. It then became nursing home to assist the poor and abandoned children of Siena. It is said that a shoemaker, Sorore at the end of 800, founded it. It was first managed by the canons of the Cathedral of Siena, then, in '400, came under the control of the City Council. Since the beginning of 1300 the autonomy of the structure was regulated by a statute, so effective to be used as a model by Gian Galeazzo Visconti and by the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, who sent their emissaries to Siena to study its management and organization. Thanks to donations and legacies, from the end of 1200 and early 1300, the hospital had a huge wealth of land, large areas of Val d'Orcia, Val d'Arbia, Masse, Crete and Maremma. The Santa Maria della Scala played a very important role in the cultural context as the "third pole of art" along with the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena and the Cathedral. It commissioned a great cycle "a fresco" with the Stories of the Virgin, painted on the facade by Simone Martini, Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti (unfortunately deteriorated), in addition to the series of frescoes of the Pellegrinaio and the decoration of the main church, painted in 1700 by Sebastiano Conca. Today the Santa Maria della Scala is no longer a hospital: the exhibition spaces that have been created represent one of the most significant polyvalent cultural projects at European level, able to respond effectively to the needs of the large collections of Siena and to the demands of study and research. The tour of the museum includes the Pellegrinaio, the Old Sacristy with paintings by Lorenzo Vecchietta, the Chapel of the Mantle with the lunette by Domenico Beccafumi, the Chapel of Our Lady and the Church of the Santissima Annunziata, up to the medieval barn, where the restoration works of Jacopo della Quercia's Fonte Gaia are housed and the striking rooms of the Society of Saint Catherine of the Night with ossuaries below.
Archaeological Museum of Siena
The National Archaeological Museum of Etruscan Siena was founded in 1933 by famous archaeologist Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli and started with some public and private eight-twentieth century collections . Acquired by the state in 1941, it was enriched by Siena important archaeological collections, with material that is very heterogeneous, mostly from the area of Siena and Chiusi. They range from objects of the Bronze Age to Roman period lamps. There are notable examples of Etruscan red-figure pottery, votive and architectural terracotta . The sarcophagi of the III-IV century AD and a Roman portrait of pseudo Seneca have also been found in Siena. From the surrounding territory are, instead, the famous canopy of anthropomorphic tombs "zero" (big urns containing ashes and funeral items) from the seventh century, buccheri (black Etruscan ceramic), proto Corinthian vases, bronzes and jewellery, alabaster urns from Volterra (from the Tomb of Cumere) of the second century BC.
Centre for Contemporary Art of Siena
Until 2008 the headquarters of the Centre for Contemporary Arts was the Palace of Papesse. The Museum is currently located at the Santa Maria della Scala. Art studio and exhibition space supported by the city of Siena, it hosts and produces solo and group exhibitions, projects, events and initiatives aimed at enhancing teaching and divulging the main Italian and international trends of contemporary artists. The Center promotes the Caveau project, project room in constant transformation, it hosts the bookshoop, specialized in contemporary art, set up every year by a different artist.
Children's Art Museumu
The Children's Museum of Art brings art and art culture closer to children. The museum's collection contains artworks aimed at children, or represents the children's world in some way. One of the particularities of the collection is to be made up of artworks, grouped by theme, belonging to many historical periods, from ancient to contemporary. It includes painting on canvas or board, photographies or videos, sculptures. The approach is interdisciplinary and uses different artistic languages, including ever-present music. The activities of the museum include events, exhibitions and installations, designed to capture children's attention, tutorial programs of approach to art, researches concerning art history and education.
Squarcialupi Palace, located across the main body of the ancient hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, was built probably in the first half of 1300, in order to create an hospital for women, adapting an already existing building. In a resolution in 1336, the General Council of the City of Siena granted to Santa Maria della Scala, the use of two lanes, between Via del Capitano and Piazza del Duomo, to expand the structure. It was known under the names of "Pellegrinaio of the Women", "Women's Hospital", "Girls Cloister". The building works, completed around 1338, were promoted by the rector of Giovanni di Tese die Tolomei. Today it houses exhibitions and art performances.