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The floor of the cathedral or duomo in Siena is called La Divina Bellezza or in English "Divine Beauty" and is currently exceptionally opened to the public. The floor is a masterpiece created by various artists from the 14th to the 19th century and is made with a technique of marble inlay. It is extraordinary, not only because of the technique used, but also because of the message and the illustrated figures.
Usually the floor is not visible because every year about one million visitors walk over it. Vasari, one of the most famous art writers, described the floor as the finest and most beautiful floor ever made. The masterpiece is the result of a complex iconographic program that was realized through centuries, from the 14th to the 19th century.
La Divina Bellezza
The mosaic is made of local marble like brocade yellow, grey from Montagnola and green from Crevole.
The models which were used to prepare the 56 inlays were made by major Sienese artists including Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni, Domenico Beccafumi and the Umbrian painter Pinturicchio, which painted the famous art work with the Monte della Sapienza (Mountain of Wisdom) in 1505, a symbolic representation of the path that leads to Virtue which helps to achieve inner peace.
In addition to the Cathedral and the beautiful floor you can also also view the marble floor from above, with a guided tour. You can go up in the cathedral, to the so-called Heaven's Gate. The spaces under the roof of the cathedral are exceptionally open to the public. The route to the "Heaven" of the cathedral begins with a spiral staircase that ends in one of the towers on the side of the magnificent facade of the cathedral.
You can visit the Divina Bellezza until October 27, 2014 and the cathedral is open every day from 10.30h to 19.30h and on Sunday from 9.30h until 18.00H. The entrance fee is 7.00 euros, or for the guided tour to the gate of Heaven 25.00 euros.