Siena City in Tuscany, Italy, Europe

Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise see all

Feast of Herod see all

Mother and Child see all

Slaughter of the Innocents see all

Zacharias in the Temple see all


High Renaissance

Late Gothic







Mosaic Floor



After the death of Otho II., his son, Otho III., was elected Emperor, and crowned by Pope Gregory V., in the year of Christ 979, and this Otho reigned twenty-four years. After that he was crowned, he went into Apulia on pilgrimage to Mount S. Angelo, and afterwards returned by way of France into Germany, leaving Italy in good and peaceful estate. But when he was returned to Germany, Crescentius, the consul and lord of Rome, drave away the said Gregory from the papacy, and set a Greek therein, which was bishop of Piacenza, and very wise; but when the Emperor Otho heard this he was very wrath, and with his army returned to Italy, and besieged in Rome the said Crescentius and his Pope in the castle of S. Angelo, for therein had they taken refuge; and he took the said castle by siege, and caused Crescentius to be beheaded, and Pope John XVI. to have his eyes put out, and his hands cut off; and he restored his Pope Gregory to his chair, which was his kinsman by race; and leaving Rome and Italy in good estate, he returned to his country of Germany, and there-70- died in prosperity. With the said Otho III. there came into Italy the Marquis Hugh; I take it this must have been the marquis of Brandenburg, forasmuch as there is no other marquisate in Germany. His sojourn in Tuscany liked him so well, and especially our city of Florence, that he caused his wife to come thither, and took up his abode in Florence, as vicar of Otho, the Emperor. It came to pass, as it pleased God, that when he was riding to the chase in the country of Bonsollazzo, he lost sight, in the wood, of all his followers, and came out, as he supposed, at a workshop where iron was wont to be wrought. Here he found men, black and deformed, who, in place of iron, seemed to be tormenting men with fire and with hammer, and he asked what this might be: and they answered and said that these were damned souls, and that to similar pains was condemned the soul of the Marquis Hugh by reason of his worldly life, unless he should repent: who, with great fear, commended himself to the Virgin Mary, and when the vision was ended, he remained so pricked in the spirit, that after his return to Florence, he sold all his patrimony in Germany, and commanded that seven monasteries should be founded: the first was the Badia of Florence, to the honour of S. Mary; the second, that of Bonsollazzo, where he beheld the vision; the third was founded at Arezzo; the fourth at Poggibonizzi; the fifth at the Verruca of Pisa; the sixth at the city of Castello; the last was the one at Settimo; and all these abbeys he richly endowed, and lived afterwards with his wife in holy life, and had no son, and died in the city of Florence, on S. Thomas' Day, in the year of Christ 1006, and was buried with great honour in the Badia of Florence. And whilst the said Hugh was-71- living, he made in Florence many knights of the family of the Giandonati, of the Pulci, of the Nerli, of the counts of Gangalandi, and of the family della Bella, which all for love of him, retained and bore his arms, barry, white and red, with divers charges.


Giovanni Pisano abruptly leaves Siena, abandoning management of work on the lower stage of the facade of Siena Cathedral, reportedly over creative differences with the Opera del Duomo.


Construction is halted on the new nave of Siena Cathedral by the Black Death. Basic errors in the construction are already evident by now, however, and the work is never resumed. The outer walls, remains of this extension, can still be seen to the south of the Duomo. The floor of the uncompleted nave now serves as a parking lot and museum.


April 14

Lorenzo Ghiberti receives a letter from Giovanni Turini, a goldsmith of Siena.

April 16

Lorenzo Ghiberti to Giovanni Turini, goldsmith, of Siena: Jesus Honourable friend, I received your letter the fourteenth day of April and saw therefrom how dear and faithful a friend I have in you, and also that you are well. Also of your good mind toward me, which you have ever displayed; inasmuch that in case of need you would help me to polish one of these stories (reliefs) and would do it willingly: the which I know I can come only of love to me, for the which may God bless you. You must know, dear friend, that the stories are almost completed; one is in the hands of Giuliano di Ser Andrea, the other I have; and they will be finished at the time I promised Messer Bartolomeo; in sooth they would have been finished long since, but for the thanklessness of those, my past companions, from whom I received not one injury, but many. Thanks be to God, I am out of their hands, for which I ever praise God, considering in what freedom I now find myself. Being quite without company, I intend to remain thus, master in my own workshop and able to receive any friend with a good and cheerful countenance. I thank you for your perfect goodwill towards me. And I heartily beg you to commend me to Messer Bartolomeo. Also I beg you heartily to find, if you may, some means by which I may recover the drawings of the birds I lent to Ghoro (dir Ser Neroccio, a goldsmith of Siena). I know that it will be no pains to you to beg Master Domenico, the wood-carver, that he send them back to me, for I hear say that these and all other things that were in the hands of the said Ghoro are now with Master Domenico. Greet him from me, and likewise Master Francesco di Valdambrina: and if there be aught that I can do here, I am always at your pleasure. There is nothing other to say. May Christ keep you in peace. Writ on the sixteenth day of April 1425. By your Lorenzo di Bartolo, goldsmith of Florence, your dear friend


July 10

Another ambassador came from the King of France; he was going to the Pope, and was lodged in the house of Giovanni Tornabuoni. And at this time the horsemen of the Duke of Milan came by the Pisan road, and passed near Poggibonizi, and the troops of the king continued to approach.

August 19

A peasant was tried and hung, and was taken down as dead and placed on a bier; but having reached the Tempio,(1) he recovered consciousness, not being dead. He was taken to (the hospital of) _Santa Maria Nuova_, where he died a few days after. All Florence saw him. And on the same day the enemy (the Sienese) encamped before Radda and Panzano. > (1) The Oratory of the Company of _Santa Maria del Tempio_, which consoled those condemned to death, and buried their bodies. It was beyond the _Porta alla Giustizia_, near the _Porta alla Croce_, outside the walls.

August 24

The people about Rovezzano took fright, and the alarm was sounded and they fled into Florence with all their possessions, by the _Porta alla Croce_, so that it really seemed as if the territory were lost. Such a terror were never seen, everyone being utterly dismayed. They did not consider themselves safe even in Florence, and suffered much discomfort and misery. And on the same day we last Radda, which was sacked and burnt.

August 27

We lost Meletuzzo and San Polo, the constable there having been guilty of treachery. And on the same day, Pretone and his brother the constable of Radda, and Jacopo Vecchietti who was a commissary there, were arrested, and they were imprisoned in the Stinche, as it was said that they had been guilty of treachery. A man of San Polo was also taken, and was put to the rack.


March 9

A man who was said to be a Venetian was hung in the _Mercato Nuovo_, for having stolen some florns off a money-changer's table the evening before, in broad daylight; and he had been caught and taken to the rector,(1) and was condemned to be hung. At this time Signor Roberto made an incursion into the Pisan district with many men, and came as far as the Port of Pisa and set it on fire, but did not do it much harm; and then he advanced into the Val di Calci, and burnt the mills and took much booty, after which he retired beyond the Serchio. And in this direction the Duke of Calabria(2) penetrated as far as the Poggio Imperiale, with the design of capturing it, but he did not succeed. And meanwhile our troops advanced as far as Siena, and pillaged the country, and took a certain fort called Selvoli and held it for some time, that is to say, till the 4th April. And the plague was making now great ravages, having increased again. And we were continually raising fresh bands of infantry; and the Venetians sent us a number of soldiers, that were all despatched to the Pisan territory. And the Capitano now went into the Pisan territory, awaiting Count Carlo(3) and a large body of cavalry. > (1) The rector of the Arte del Cambio (Money-chamber's Guild). > > (2) Alfonso d'Aragona, son of Ferdinando, King of Naples. > > (3) Count Carlo da Montone, son of the famous Braccio, sent by the Venetians to aid the Florentines.

December 23

Bernardo Bandini de' Baroncegli was captured at Constantinople, the Grand Turk having given him up. He had fled from Florence when Giuliano de' Medici was murdered, believing that his life would be safe at Constantinople. News arrived that the Duke of Calabria had taken possession of Siena, but it was not true. However, to all intents and purposes, he was master of the place, for the Sienese were helpless, having left him come in with all his troops, and he did what he chose.


April 28

Messer Piero Vespucci(1) was liberated from prison, and left Florence, and went to the Duke of Calabria at Siena and stopped there. At this time it was noised abroad that the Pope had made a league with the Venetians, the Sienese, and the Duke of Urbino.(2) It was not true. > (1) The Duke of Calabria, and his father King Ferdinand, had made urgent solicitations in favour of Vespucci. > > (2) Federigo di Montefeltro.

June 20

The Duke of Calabria confined within limits 18 knights and citizens of Siena. He also kept his soldiers in the city, so that he was master of the situation. And the Sienese did not consider it at all just that he should act in this way, but he chose to do so. He had the idea of acting in the same way with regard to us; but please God, by a great miracle, it happened that on the 6th August the Turkish army came to Otranto and began to besiege it; so it was necessary to leave our neighbourhood, at the king's command, and return to defend the kingdom. The Turks were encamped in three places, being at Rodi (Rhodes), and with the Hungarians, besides at Otranto.


March 31

The fortresses of Colle, Poggibonizi, Monte a Sansovino, and Poggio Imperiale were restituted to us, together with other places, except the Castellina, Montedomenici, Piancaldoli, and Sarzana. The plague was now decreasing.


July 11

Antonio Belandi of Siena was restricted to certain boundaries near Monte Alcino.


April 1

At Siena, four men were thrown out of the windows of the _Palazzo de' Signori_, and six more were hung, who belonged to the Monte de' Nove(1); and many citizens fled into Florentine territory. > (1) A certain political party at Siena.

August 5

The exiled Sienese came against their city, as far as the fortress of Sitorno, but were unable to do anything. The citizens took many prisoners from the fortress and carried them into Siena. In these days the Florentines destroyed a fortress in the upper valley of the Arno, called Monte Domenici, because it had rebelled. During this August of 1483, the Duke of Calabria captured many fortresses in Lombardy from the Venetians,(1) and crushed the Venetian troops in such a manner that they could not hold out any longer. This occurred because the Church had excommunicated all those who gave aid to the Venetians, which prevented them having soldies from beyond the Alps. And the fleet of the King of Naples came into the port of Ancona, and that of the Venetians set out to find it. But on the 5th September, the king's fleet sailed away without waiting for their opponents. Great things had been expected if they had encountered each other. > (1) From the 12th December, 1482, the Pope had made peace with the League, and then associated himself with it in the war against Venice.


July 17

The Florentines made the Count of Pitigliano(1) Capitano, and gave him the baton. And the Sienese made the Signore da Farnese their Capitano. And up till now my brother Gostanzo had gained 20 _palii_ with his Barbary hose _Draghetto_, that is, 20 races from the 8th October, 1481, to the 25 June, 1485; the first was Santa Liperata, the next Sant' Anna, and San Vittorio several. Once when he won San Vittorio he sold the _palio_ to the Aretini for 40 gold florins, and then he went to Arezzo and won it back again. And when he went to race at Siena, there was a tie between his horse and one belonging to Lorenzo de' Medici, called _La Lucciola_ (Firefly), that of Gostanzo being in reality one head's length in advance of the other. And the people who were present declared that he had won, and told him to go to the magistrate, and they would bear witness. Gostanzo, however, refused to do this, out of respect for Lorenzo, and as it happened, Lorenzo was proclaimed the winner. Another year, also at Siena, a meaner trick was played him: namely, when Gostanzo's horse was a bowshot in advance, and reached the winning-post, he dismounted and got up on the _palio_; then another horse came up, and they said that Gostanzo's horse had not passed the winning-post, and that the other one had passed it. Therefore the prize was given to the other. A very great injustice, that a rider who had not won the palio should receive it! It was most unfortunate, as my brother had such a good horse. He rushed about so much after this Barbary horse that in the end it proved his death. He died on the 12th September, 1485. > (1) Niccola Orsini.


Raphael goes to Siena at the invitation of another pupil of Perugino, Pinturicchio, "being a friend of Raphael and knowing him to be a draughtsman of the highest quality" to help with the cartoons, and very likely the designs, for a fresco series in the Piccolomini Library of the Duomo in Siena in Siena Cathedral.


Benvenuto Cellini is banished from Florence for six months for his part in a street fight and lives in Siena.

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