Cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta, Siena. Note the Byzantine Zebra stripes. From Istanbul not Constantinople.
The cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta, Siena, Tuscany, Italy October 5, 2009 • Taken by Joe View Large On Black So now, after admiring the exterior of the extraordinary cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta in Siena, let's go inside, shall we? *s*. When we bought the tickets we were informed - very firmly and politely - that we could take photos inside the cathedral, but without flash and without using any kind of tripod. We said "ok", because we wanted to see the inside, so very much. This whole huge complex of amazing architecture and art gets its light from few huge stained glass windows, and also from very dim light bulbs. Suffice to say, there wasn't enough light inside, but we had to work with what we had. We tried, how we tried!!! We changed settings like crazy to make the shutter stay open as little as possible. No excuses here, though. We managed to take few photos we're ok with... but not too many of those *s*. The cathedral's valuable pieces of art - including pieces by Donatello, Bernini and the young Michelangelo - make it an extraordinary museum of Italian sculpture and paintings. We were overwhelmed, amazed, stunned! We said we'll spent 30 minutes inside, but we stayed for more than an hour, and dragged ourselves out unwillingly. It was a must! The cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta in Siena is a must-visit place while in Tuscany *s*. The pictorial effect of the black and white marble stripes on the walls and columns strikes the eye. Black and white are the colors of the civic coat of arms of Siena. The horizontal molding around the nave and the presbytery contains 172 plaster busts of popes dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The spandrels of the round arches below this cornice exhibit the busts of 36 emperors. The vaulted roof is decorated in blue with golden stars, replacing frescoes on the ceiling.