San Domenico

San Domenico (11)

The Basilica of San Domenico is a grandiose and impressive T-shaped Gothic church, founded by the Dominicans in 1125 as part of a convent, and is mostly known for being directly associated with St. Catherine of Siena, who experienced her religious ecstasy here in 1378. In fact, her head and one of her fingers are housed in this basilica, in a reliquary. The rest, however, is in Rome. Santa Catalina was born in 1347, and even today you can see her birthplace, a house about 200 metres from here on the Costa Sant'Antonio.

Once you have entered the church, you will be surprised how roomy and spacious it is. You will be filled with a generous feeling of spaciousness, enhanced by the absence of columns.

Just go to your right, where you can find the only original portrait of St. Catherine, by her personal friend Andrea Vanni. Now, go to the famous Capella di Santa Caterina, or Chapel of St. Catherine, where you can see frescos, by Sodoma, from 1526, depicting the life of the saint. They are, without any doubt, the most representative works of the author. 

We also recommend that you admire the chapel to the right of the altar, which contains the Madonna and Child with Saints, by Matteo di Giovanni. Another work by Matteo, considered of exceptional beauty, is the second chapel on the left of the transept, called Santa Barbara enthroned with angels and the saints Mary Magdalene and Catherine.

Enjoy all these works and other details in this fantastic church and, on leaving, just to your right, you can see the 14th-century altar of the Virgin and Child surrounded by saints and God, also by Sodoma, with the skyline of Siena in the 16th century. Note that since then it has hardly changed. 

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