I‘ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I love Italy. From the delicious simplicity of a scoop of stracciatella gelato to the surreal beauty of the Tuscan countryside, everything Italian just oozes beauty and chicness like no other country I have ever seen–and my glowing review most wholeheartedly extends to Italy’s famed cathedrals.
St. Paul’s in Rome, the Duomo of Florence and Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica are stunning churches one and all. But the house of worship that took my breath away was the Siena Cathedral in the Tuscan enclave of Siena. This medieval hilltop town is a cultural treasure acknowledged by UNESCO in 1995, but it is the Siena Cathedral that is the city’s crowning jewel.
Built in the 13th century, the church is constructed in alternating stripes of white and greenish-black marble both inside and out, giving it a stylish, jaunty appearance. The cool interior with its ornate marble floors depicting animals and Biblical scenes and the gilded, hexagonal dome overhead give a luxurious first impression–as though the place is dressed in it’s Sunday best with the rest of the congregation. As though the heavenly architecture weren’t enough, works of art by Michaelangelo, Donatello and Bernini grace the elegant space in that fantastic way that Italy has of masterfully adorning its cathedrals.