The magnificent complex of the Cathedral of Siena, its Duomo, houses a series of some of the most important monuments of the European artistic panorama. With its more than one million visitors every year, the Cathedral without a doubt represents the fulcrum of the entire complex, while other significant elements include the Crypt, the Baptistery and the Museo dell'Opera, all part of the impressive mass formed by the "Duomo Vecchio" (Old Cathedral), and the "Duomo Nuovo" (New Cathedral). Visitors will travel along a memorable itinerary to the discovery of self and the truth of faith through culture and art, the result of more than a millennium of Western history.
THE GATE OF HEAVENThe magnificent façade of the Duomo, as the Cathedral is called, is flanked by two majestic towers ending in many spirelike forms that shoot upwards. In these towers, winding staircases, practically invisible to visitors, lead up to the ‘heavens’ of the Cathedral. Above the starry vault of the right aisle begins an itinerary reserved to small groups accompanied by expert guides, which reserves a succession of discoveries and emotions. Visitors will indeed walk ‘above’ the holy temple and admire fascinating views both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the Cathedral. From the polychrome stained glass windows depicting the Apostles by Ulisse De Matteis, visitors will gaze down onto the floor and the principal sculptural monuments, and even inside the dome with its ‘Pantheon’ of Sienese saints, the four Patron Saints, Saint Catherine and Saint Bernardino, the golden ‘giants’ who from above protect the community of the faithful. Then, from the balcony of the dome, they will contemplate the high altar, the copy of the stained glass window by Duccio di Buoninsegna with, in the centre, the mandorla of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and masterpieces of sculpture. From the left aisle, they will look out to admire a splendid panorama of the Basilica of San Domenico, the Medici Fortress, the entire dome of the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist, and the surrounding countryside up to hills known as the Montagnola Senese. Finally, they will enter behind the façade, at the balcony that looks out onto Piazza del Duomo and the view of the Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala, and enter the balcony on the counter-façade. Here unfolds an overall view of the nave; the gaze scans the heads of popes and emperors, the intarsias with the philosophers of the ancient world uttering sentences. The “gate of heaven” is opened to visitors as though they were climbing the ladder that appeared to Jacob in his dream, the top of which reached heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it (Genesis 28: 10-22). In his dream, God promises Jacob the earth on which he has slept and an immense lineage. When he rises, Jacob exclaims «This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven», a verse used by the liturgy of the mass in dedicating cathedrals. In the Litany of Loreto, though, the ‘gate of heaven’ is also the Virgin Mary, a definition that best expresses her power and goodness. As the Mother of Christ and of humanity, Mary contributes to our eternal salvation in Heaven where she is the ‘Queen assumed into Heaven’. The visiting itinerary “from above” will thus permit visitors to better understand the dedication of the Cathedral of Siena to the Assumption of the Madonna, and the strong connection the people of Siena have had with their ‘patron’ for centuries: Sena vetus civitas Virginis.
Strongly desired by the Opera della Metropolitana di Siena, the initiative is organised by Opera – Civita Group.
Opera Civita Group manages the booking, information and guided tours services for the Cathedral of Siena complex and, for the extraordinary opening of the ‘Gate of Heaven’, proposes cultural packages that enrich the city’s touristic offer.
6 April – 27 October 2013 (OPENING EXTENDED UNTIL January 6, 2014)
Tickets (by reservation only)
Children until 11 years old € 7,00
Group: €400.00 (max 17 pax)
ticket included guided tour
the tour Gate of Heaven is not included in the all inclusive ticket Opa si pass
Information and Booking
T. +39 0577 286300 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm)
Information guidelines for visitors to the Attic
or safety reasons, it is strongly advised to refuse admission to visitors wearing high-heeled shoes. Visitors are advised to wear close-toed shoes with antislip soles (no slippers, thongs, sandals, clogs, or footwear with leather soles).
pay the utmost attention to the height of ceilings and passageways.
- the tour is not recommended for people suffering from heart conditions or dizziness, and anyone not in a suitable state of health to climb up to and visit the superelevated locations;
- visitors are advised to carry cameras, mobile phones, eyeglasses etc. on a shoulder strap or tied to the wrist in order to avoid accidental falls.
it is advised to hold children by the hand and make sure they do not elude control at any time.
smoking is prohibited in all the outdoor areas and at lookouts.
visitors are informed that for safety reasons, stopping in the entrance/exit “winding staircase” is permitted for the time strictly necessary to deposit or claim umbrellas (other personal effects can not be deposited).
Depositing personal effects:
visitors carrying backpacks or large bulky bags will not be admitted. Clients are advised that personal effects can not be deposited in the OPA Museum Complex.
Visitors displaying illegitimate, illicit or harmful behaviour or that, in any event, is dangerous for themselves and for the other people present, such as failure to comply with the safety indications given at the time of booking and/or during the visit, will be asked to leave and have no right to reimbursement.
INFO Point | Price
Cathedral, Library, Museum, Panorama, Crypt, Baptistery:
1 march – 2 november 10:30 – 19:00
Cathedral Festive 13:30 – 18:00
3 november – 28 february 10:30 – 17:30
Cathedral Festive 13:30 – 17:30
26 december – 6 january 10:30 – 18:00
Cathedral Festive 13:30 – 17:30
Uncovering Floor Period:
Cathedral Festive 9:30 – 18.00
1 march – 2 november 13:30 – 19:00
3 november – 28 february by reservation only
Last admission half an hour before the closing time of the Museum.
email | booking online
opa si pass