Remarkably, this vaulted space under the duomo's pulpit was totally filled with debris in the late 1300s and was only excavated and restored in 1999. Originally functioning as a cathedral entrance and confessional, it was decorated with 180 sq metres of richly coloured 13th-century pintura a secco ('dry' or mural paintings) covering walls, columns, pilasters, capitals and corbels. Fortunately, these managed to survive their ignominious treatment. Entry is included in the OPA SI and Acropoli passes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Siena attractions

1. Battistero di San Giovanni

0.01 MILES

The baptistry is lined with 15th-century frescoes and centres around a hexagonal marble font by Jacopo della Quercia, decorated with bronze panels…

2. Museo dell'Opera

0.02 MILES

The highlight of this repository of artworks that formerly adorned the duomo is undoubtedly Duccio (di Buoninsegna)'s striking Maestà (1308–11), which was…

3. Panorama del Facciatone

0.02 MILES

For an unforgettable view of Siena's unique cityscape, head up the 131-step, narrow corkscrew stairway to walk atop the unfinished facade of the Duomo…

4. Duomo

0.02 MILES

Consecrated on the former site of a Roman temple in 1179 and constructed over the 13th and 14th centuries, Siena's majestic duomo (cathedral) showcases…

5. Libreria Piccolomini

0.04 MILES

Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, archbishop of Siena (later Pope Pius III), commissioned the building and decoration of this hall off the north…

6. Porta del Cielo

0.04 MILES

To enjoy spectacular bird's-eye views of the interior and exterior of Siena's cathedral, buy a ticket for the 'Gate of Heaven' escorted tour up, into and…

8. Palazzo Chigi Saracini

0.09 MILES

Few buildings have pedigrees as splendid as this 13th-century palace. Home of the Piccolomini family (of which Pope Pius II was the most prominent member)…