Cappella di Piazza
Beneath the Torre del Mangia and set slightly forwards from the facade of the Palazzo Pubblico stands the Cappella di Piazza, a marble chapel that was put up by the Senese in thanks for the end of the 1348 plague that hit the city and reduced its population to less than 16,000.
Construction of a chapel had in fact begun in 1325, to designs by Domenico d’Agostino, but the building was finished in the gothic style in 1376 by Giovanni di Cecco. Rebuilt a number of times, the corner pilasters were erected as we see them today in 1376.
The sculptor Antonio Federighi was entrusted with replacing the simple beams of the ceiling in 1463-68 with the existing Renaissance archways. The statues that stand in the niches above the pilasters were probably completed some time in the 14th century and are not particularly worthy of note.
The considerably deteriorated fresco above the altar was painted between 1537 and 1539 by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, known as “Il Sodoma”, who had moved to Siena in 1501.
The wrought iron railings that surround the chapel are by Conte di Lello Orlandi.
Next to the Cappella a large doorway leads to the Cortile del Podestà, a room which may seem slightly gloomy to the contemporary visitor but which is remarkably atmospheric. Built in 1325, the elegant trifore windows of the Cortile del Podestà offer a magnificent angle on the Torre del Mangia. The right hand door that leads out of the Cortile, with next to it a granite column surmounted by a gilded statue of the Senese she-wolf by Giovanni and Lorenzo di Turino (1430) gives access to the Museo Civico within the Palazzo Pubblico, which today also houses the town administration.