The Way Of Mary
Mary, the Mother of God, is the very identity of the people and city of Siena. The Sienese see in Her the human model to imitate to obtain Peace, a gift of God. She is invoked as Queen and Advocate, Mother of Grace for the city and each of its inhabitants. Mary provides the key to reading the most representative places in the urban fabric. First and foremost, the Cathedral, which bears the title of Our Lady of the Assumption, or the Palazzo Pubblico, the seat of government, whose main hall houses the wonderful Maestà by Simone Martini, where she reigns seated on her throne, surrounded by Saints, showing the governors the Savior of the World and admonishing them as to the conduct they must maintain to ensure wellbeing and prosperity to Siena. Even the tower, known as the Torre del Mangia, resembles a white lily, the traditional emblem of the Virgin’s purity. The Campo, the public square stretching in front of the Palazzo Pubblico, could allude to Mary’s cloak with which she covers and protects whoever trusts in her, as shown in so many paintings. On the façade of the Palazzo Pubblico can be seen the traces of twelve doors, like the Heavenly Jerusalem in Revelations, the City of God, of which the Madonna is the model. Under the tower the Chapel shines bright, built to fulfill a vow after the Black Plague, turning the grand square, the heart of Siena, into an immense open-air church.
The signs of the devotion of the Sienese to the Blessed Virgin are countless; this itinerary presents just a few as a way of entering the marvelous and mysterious relationship of faith that binds Mary to her city.