Biblioteca Piccolomini

Biblioteca Piccolomini, Siena: Address, Phone Number, Biblioteca Piccolomini Reviews: 5/5

Biblioteca Piccolomini
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2,077 reviews
Very good

Craig E
Manchester, UK1,727 contributions
Incredible colours and detail
Oct 2020 • Couples
The intricate detail in the library is beautiful. The colours are also very vibrant and look like they were painted yesterday!
Definitely worth a quick visit if inside the cathedral.
Written October 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jerez De La Frontera, Spain43 contributions
The number 1 art locstion to see in Siena.
Oct 2020
Don't miss this beautiful library! You can easily walk by the small entrance to this stunning room, so watch out for it. Yes, the cathedral is impressive, but the library is the real treasure trove, with exceptional artwork, very well preserved.
Written October 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Andrew S
Bellingham, WA1,046 contributions
Truly spectacular
Jun 2019
Truly spectacular library attached to the Duomo. Stunning artwork. Well worth the wait in line. Don't miss it.
Written May 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

United Kingdom4,755 contributions
Not Many Books But Stunning Artwork by a Young Raphael & His Master
Jun 2019
To see the library, you have to have a ticket to go inside the cathedral. Once inside the cathedral, it can be easy to accidentally miss the library because the entry can be hidden behind the crowds. It is only a small space so you may have to wait to go in but it’s worth it.
Pope Pius III started building this library in 1492 after his uncle, Pope Pius II (spot the trend) died and left him a collection of Greek, Latin and Hebrew books. Pius II seems to have been a lover of books and in addition to collecting them, he also wrote poetry, historical accounts and one racy erotic novel, ‘The Tale of Two Lovers’.
The Piccolominis were a powerful and wealthy family in Siena so the library was intended to honour and commemorate his uncle as well as house the books.
The ceiling and walls are covered in detailed frescoes with brilliant scarlets, vivid blues and glittering gold highlights that are still very vibrant.
There was a little bit of scaffolding covering some of the room when we were there but considering that the works are about 500 years old, you can’t really complain when they need a little tender loving care.

What to See:
• Despite it being a library there aren’t many books left, but there are a number of large and beautiful illuminated choir books 
• The frescoes are the highlight. They tell the story of Pope Pius II’s life and are basically a biography in pictures. Whilst that might not sound like the most interesting thing in the world, they really are very beautiful. I found myself lingering in front of them for some time because they contain so many details of colourful costumes, pagaents, architecture etc
• The fresco on the entrance wall shows Pope Pius III’s coronation on October 8, 1503. It is especially poignant looking at this because the new pope was to die just ten days later.
• The last picture also turned out to be another harbinger-of-death-scene. It shows Pius II arriving in Ancona to meet with a fleet from Venice and personally lead a crusade against the Turks. This caught my eye because we were on our way to spend a couple of weeks not far from Ancona in the Marche region. However Pius II was already sick when he arrived on 19 July 1464 and he died there 1 week later, far away from home. To make things worse, his crusade was cancelled on his death. Pius II had been the driving force behind it and it wasn’t that popular an idea anyway so nobody seemed to mind much.
• Another scene also caught my attention. Pius II is only 27 years old and not yet Pope (still simple Enea Silvio Piccolomini). He is setting off on a journey on a white horse - a symbol of what was to come because normally only popes rode white horses. What really caught my eye was the fact that he was a very well dressed traveller, wearing a rather beautiful travelling cloak with a fur collar. Clearly tourists dressed better in those days. I wouldn't mind a travelling cloak myself if only I had more room in my luggage. I also liked the dark, grey storm blowing in behind him and the detail of the ships in the harbour that were about to be tossed wildly about about in a few moments when the storm hit.
• It is worth noting that although the Pinturicchio was the main artist, some of the work was done by a very young, Raphael. In the scene showing the canonisation of St Catherine, you can see an image of Raphael - look for the man with red stockings and his hand on his hip.
• With all of the colour and detail on the walls, you can kind of overlook the ceiling but the detail there is so lovely too – lots of tiny cherubs, demons, horses, monkeys, birds, and winged creatures on vivid red and gold backgrounds. The half moons are there because they are the Piccolomini family symbol.
Written March 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Asiyah Noemi K
Pula, Croatia4,519 contributions
Magically beautiful library
Jan 2020
The Piccolomini Library is a monumental environment of the Siena cathedral.The library is magically beautiful. Its frescoes and exposed books are priceless treasure. In the honor the memory of the maternal uncle Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II), and to preserve the rich bibliographic patrimony that the pontiff and humanist collected when he was in Rome, Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, archbishop of Siena (later Pope Pius III), around in 1492 he was built a library on the premises of the old rectory along the north-western side of the Cathedral. Todeschini was inspired by the French tradition that included libraries attached to cathedrals and by the opening of the Vatican Library of Pope Sixtus IV. As for the chronology of the frescoes that decorate the library, they were made by Pinturicchio and his workshop in a period of time ranging from 1503 to 1508 and celebrate the life and deeds of the pontificate of Pius II, rich in evocation of landscapes and real and imaginative costumes, with refined representations of ceremonies and characters, performed with a wealth of glazed colors. Among the beautiful murals besides Pope Pius II is the character of Pinturicchio himself. In the scene with the canonization of Saint Catherine of Siena, among the public of the religious orders, in the lower left, the two figures in which the young Raphael (with red stockings) have long recognized themselves, who would have collaborated with Bernardino di Betto the execution of the frescoes in the Library, and Pinturicchio himself (with the red cap). The fifth scene of the cycle is one of the best known: it represents the meeting, promoted by the pontiff, between Emperor Frederick III and Eleonora of Portugal, which took place on February 24, 1452, near Porta Camollia. In addition to the murals in the room, we can also admire the marble sculpture of Three Graces. Magnificent codes ( Hand Painted and Written Books),(Gradualie Antifonari) are preserved in the display cases on the walls. It is a very representative collection for the history of the Italian miniature of the fifteenth century. Beyond the Sienese artists, the most precious pages are those decorated by Girolamo da Cremona and Liberale da Verona.
Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Melbourne, Australia121 contributions
Dec 2019
The Biblioteca which is within the Duomo in Siena, Italy is exquisitely beautiful!! once one enters the Duomo, it is off to one side of the Duomo. There is a small additional charge to enter the library which is truly worth the extra cost!!

The Biblioteca Piccolomini houses a collection of very large books from the 1400's which are beautifully depicted in gold, reds and blues which are the predominant colours. In the centre of the room are the group of statues known as Three Graces.
The painted frescos which are very heavily gilded leaves one in awe! Every centimetre in that ceiling is covered in work that leaves the observer overwhelmed at the beauty on display!!
Written January 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tanya C
Sydney, Australia119 contributions
A must see - tiny but spectacular
Jan 2020
Amazing pictures showing the history of the pope, watch a you tube history on it before you go in case its crowded, its a small space with a lot to see
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Clifton Hill, Australia1,649 contributions
Amazing Surprise
Dec 2019 • Couples
Situated within the Duomo this library is simply stunning. Untouched, the wall murals maintain their beautiful colours as if they were painted last week. The books too look like they may have been printed yesterday. A hidden gem
Written December 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Jose, CA1,469 contributions
Oct 2019
This is a little side room on the left side of the inside Basilica further up than the gift shop entrance. Don’t miss it! It is stunningly beautiful with the amazing ceiling and wall to wall paintings. In the middle of the room is an old bible with large words and colorful pictures. It was soo beautiful that I had to go in a second time!
Written December 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sara H
Melbourne, Australia680 contributions
Sep 2019 • Family
I saw a lot of art in my visit to Italy. Absolutely nothing compares to the splendor of the Piccolomini Library. Over 500 years old, the 10 scenes depicting the life of Pope Pius II have never needed restoration. They are as vibrant today as when they were painted. The painter, Pinturicchio, was friends with Raphael, who used this library to study technique, and both of the artists can be found hidden in scenes on the paintings. Stunning!!
Written November 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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