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Siena cathedral's inlaid marble floor visible for 2 months

Ornate flooring took 500 years to create

17 August, 17:33
Siena cathedral's inlaid marble floor visible for 2 months (ANSA) - Siena, August 17 - The magnificent ornate marble flooring that embellishes the main cathedral of the Tuscan town of Siena will be visible to the public for a limited time period of two months from Saturday, officials said Friday. Under normal circumstances, the inlaid mosaic floor of the Duomo di Siena is hidden from sight and protected by wooden planks to ensure it is not scuffed or damaged by the million and more visitors that walk into the church each year.

The floor, which is unique in Italy, extends throughout the whole of the cathedral. It took some 500 years to create, with local workmen including mainly Siena-native artists toiling on it from the 1300s to the 1800s. Those that participated in its creation included well-known Sienese art masters Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni and Domenico Beccafumi, as well as the famed painter Pinturicchio from the nearby region of Umbria.

Visitors will be permitted to walk along a well-defined route during the two-month period, taking them around the church to admire the hexagon shapes under the cupola, the mosaics close to the altar and many other characteristics that the floor boasts underneath the stunning Domenico Beccafumi frescos that decorate the cathedral.

photo: Massacre of the Innocents by Matteo di Giovanni