The Way of the Cathedrals

The Way of the Cathedrals

Visit the three cathedrals of Siena, Colle di Val d’Elsa, and Montalcino - an unusual and deeply cultural experience awaits you!

Three Tuscan jewels – feast your eyes, heart, and spirit!

Enjoy a guided tour that takes you to three ancient Tuscan cities and their stunning cathedrals: the gleaming Gothic cathedral Santa Maria Assunta in Siena, imposing SS. Marziale and Alberto in picturesque Colle Val d'Elsa, and SS. Salvatore in Montalcino with its panorama of the Sienese hills and the volcanic mountains of Amiata.

The current Archdiocese of Siena/Colle di Val d’Elsa/Montalcino was created in 1986 by fusing these three dioceses. The three Cathedrals represent the heart of these ancient cities. A visit to these three Tuscan jewels is an opportunity to discover the territory that is their home - rich in art, culture, natural beauty, and excellent food and wine.

Private guided visit for groups of up to 20 people.

Departure & Meeting Point:

San Domenico Church, at the dedicated “totem.”



Times & Dates:

From March 17 to October 15:

Between 10:00am - 12:00am and 3:00pm - 5:00pm (last tour at 4:00pm)

From October 16 to March 16:

Between 10:00am - 12:00am (last tour at 11:00am)

  • Tour lasts approx. 90 minutes, maximum 2 hours.
  • Tour includes admission tickets to the places to be visited. These will be picked up by the guide at the OPA ticket office upon arrival at each museum.
  • Tour guide available in Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish. Upon special request also in Portuguese, Japanese, and Hungarian.
  • Reservation must be made at least 10 days in advance.

Save time ordering! Add all the museum tickets you want into your basket, then fill in the form and send your request.

PLEASE NOTE: Immediately after submitting an order, you will receive an email with your order summary plus a second email confirming your successful payment. A confirmation email with links to the vouchers will be sent one business day after you place your order (Monday afternoon for orders submitted on Friday and during the weekend). Please make sure that your anti-spam filter does not block automatic emails from [email protected]

IMPORTANT NOTE: The time you select on the order form is your preferred time. The museum or attraction will automatically confirm the closest available time, which can be any time during opening hours on the selected date, if your preferred time is no longer available.


CANCELLATIONS & CHANGES:

For cancellations up to 7 days before the date of the visit: once a confirmation code has been assigned to the reservation, we can refund the cost of unused tickets and guide minus a service fee (reservation fee and online booking fee). Later cancellations and no shows are not refundable. Please note that the reservation fee is non-refundable.

HOW TO REACH SIENA:

BUS LINE FLORENCE - SIENA (SITA):

Click here for information regarding this line

BY CAR:

From the North: A1 Highway - exit Firenze Certosa. Take the Superstrada Firenze Siena - exit Siena Porta San Marco. Follow indications to Il Fagiolone Parking, Strada di Pescaia (checkpoint) and continue until Porta San Marco, where your visit of Siena begins.



From the South: A1 Highway - exit Bettolle. Then take the Raccordo Autostradale Bettolle Siena - entrance Siena West Ring Road - exit Siena Porta San Marco. Follow indications to Il Fagiolone Parking, Strada di Pescaia (checkpoint) and continue until Porta San Marco, where your visit of Siena begins.


SIENA: The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

Remember to enter with devotion into this most devout temple of worship for the Virgin”

Carved into the pavement of the cathedral at the entrance to the central nave, these words are addressed to anyone entering this splendid cathedral. Crossing its threshold is not simply a physical passage but can be the beginning of a spiritual journey. More than just a remarkable setting for art, it is said to be a dwelling place (domus) for God and His people. The facade, with its profusion of marble sculptures, announces the unique space. Here, you will see the predictions of the prophets carved on the scrolls displayed by the beautiful statues by Giovanni Pisano.



As soon as you are in the cathedral the splendid round stained-glass window set at the top of the apse catches your eye. It shows the Assumption of Our Lady and the goal of the human journey, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Below the window, the gold background of the painting on the high altar attracts the eye. Known as the Maestà, it presents the Virgin enthroned in majesty, serving in turn as a throne for the Christ Child, surrounded by the heavenly court of angels and Saints.


The human journey is illustrated in the remarkable inlaid marble pavement. Starting from ancient knowledge represented by the philosopher Hermes Trismegistus and the Sibyls, we come to episodes from the Old Testament, and finally reach the figures who most anticipated Christ, the prophet Elijah, King David, and Abraham about to sacrifice his son Isaac.


To the left of the chancel is the superb pulpit which recounts the life of Christ up to his death and resurrection and the Last Judgment.

On the left of the splendid marble altar is the cathedra from which the word “cathedral” is derived. “Cathedra” isthe bishop’s seat, from where the bishop exercises his prerogatives of teaching, sanctifying, and governing the people.

COLLE VAL D'ELSA: the co-cathedral of SS. Marziale and Alberto

The highest part of Colle di Val d’Elsa is crowned with the city’s co-cathedral SS. Marziale and Alberto.

The majestic church is dedicated to the Saints Albert, Martial, Faustinus and Jovita.

Martial was the founder of the local Christian community, as tradition tells us that he celebrated the first baptisms in the Elsa river.

Faustinus and Jovita were two 2nd century martyrs who took refuge on the Piticciano hill during the persecutions of the Christians in Rome. There, the ancient, no longer extant baptismal church called the Pieve a Elsa was dedicated to them.


Very early on, the Christian community of Colle di Val d’Elsa broke free of the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Volterra. From then on it was dependent only on the Pope, until it was erected as a diocese in 1592. In 1986 the diocese was absorbed into the Archdiocese of Siena/Colle di Val d’Elsa/Montalcino, turning the basilica into co-cathedral.



The basilica is the seat of identity of the people of Colle, who venerate here the Holy Nail which is said to have pierced the left foot of Christ on the cross. Devotion to this relic is linked with the archpriest Saint Alberto of Chiatina (12th century), who reawakened devotion to it in the townspeople.



MONTALCINO: The co-cathedral of the SS. Salvatore

The co-cathedral of Santissimo Salvatore rises imposingly on the highest point of the old town of Montalcino. Climbing the wide stairs of Costa Spagni is an experience meant to reflect the spiritual journey towards the spot where Heaven and Earth meet.



Even today this monumental building is the seat of the Montalcino town identity and the place where the most important moments of faith are celebrated. Here stands the throne (cathedra) of the bishop. From the Middle Ages the church of the Santissimo Salvatore was one of the most important in the territory, so much so that Pope Pius II granted it the status of cathedral in 1462.

The cathedral's current neoclassical appearance is due to rebuilding in the nineteenth century, directed by one of the most important architects in Siena at the time, Agostino Fantastici.

Inside, besides the monumental high altar you can admire the painting of The Immaculate Conception by Francesco Vanni, a late 16th century masterpiece. Remarkable are also the chapel of the baptismal font, containing the Romanesque remnants of the ancient medieval church.

Price per group:

Tickets & Guide for 1 to 20 people: € 200.00

Reservation Fee (non-refundable): € 20.00

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