facade. Their creator designed them to be viewed from ground level, which is why they
look so distorted as they crane uncomfortably forward.
The museum's highlight is Duccio di Buoninsegna's striking Maestà (1311), which was
painted on both sides as a screen for the duomo' s high altar. The main painting portrays
the Virgin surrounded by angels, saints and prominent Sienese citizens of the period; the
rear panels (sadly incomplete) portray scenes from the Passion of Christ. Duccio also de-
signed and painted the vibrant stained-glass window downstairs; it was originally in the
» Battistero di San Giovanni
(Piazza San Giovanni; admission €4; 10.30am-6.30pm Mon-Sat, 1.30-5.30pm Sun Mar-Oct, to 5pm
Nov-Feb) Behind the duomo, down a steep flight of steps is the Baptistry, richly decorated
with frescoes. At its centre is a hexagonal marble font by Jacopo della Quercia, decorated
with bronze panels depicting the life of St John the Baptist by artists including Lorenzo
Ghiberti (Baptism of Christ and St John in Prison) and Donatello (The Head of John the
Baptist Being Presented to Herod) .
(Piazza San Giovanni; admission incl audioguide €6; 10.30am-6.30pm Mon-Sat, 1.30-5.30pm Sun Mar-
Oct, to 5pm Nov-Feb) This Crypt below the cathedral's pulpit was rediscovered and restored
in 1999 after having been filled to the roof with debris in the 1300s. The walls are com-
pletely covered with pintura a secco ('dry painting', better known as 'mural painting', as
opposed to frescoes, which are painted on wet plaster, making them more durable) dating
back to the 1200s. There's some 180 sq metres' worth, depicting several biblical stories,
including the Passion of Jesus and the Crucifixion.
» Panorama del Facciatone
( 10.30am-6.30pm Mon-Sat, 1.30-5.30pm Sun Mar-Oct, to 5pm Nov-Feb) For a great panoramic
view, haul yourself up the 131-step, narrow corkscrew stairway to the Panorama del Fac-
ciatone at the top of the facade of the putative Nuovo Duomo. Entrance is included in the
Museo dell'Opera ticket.
Complesso Museale Santa Maria della Scala