The Renaissance Brought to Light: the extraordinary restoration of the Baptismal Font in Siena Cathedral

Duomo Siena | museo Siena

Are you ready to immerse yourself in an exciting journey into the heart of Renaissance art and its extraordinary renaissance?
With this post I want to take you on a fascinating journey into the heart of Italy’s artistic and cultural heritage. It is with great emotion that I tell you about the incredible adventure of the Baptismal Font of the Baptistery of San Giovanni, in the Monumental Complex of the Cathedral of Siena, and its restoration.

This masterpiece of marble, bronze and enamel, created by masters of the calibre of Giovanni di Turino, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia, has gone through an epic journey of analysis and intervention to return to its former glory. Explore with me this extraordinary feat that embodies a passion for art and a desire to preserve beauty for future generations.

The Renaissance Brought to Light: the extraordinary restoration of the Baptismal Font in Siena Cathedral

Fonte Battesimale | Duomo Siena

Back in 1417, he began the creation of a work of art that would fascinate the world: the Baptismal Font in the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Siena. This architectural and sculptural masterpiece, with its hexagonal shapes and gilded bronze mirrors narrating the life of John the Baptist, is an icon of innovation and craftsmanship. The cycle of reliefs culminates in Lorenzo Ghiberti’s extraordinary depiction of the Baptism of Jesus, a true triumph of pictorialism and perspective in flattened relief. This Fonte is not only a work of art, but a focal point for understanding the principles that fuelled the Renaissance.


Every inch of this artistic marvel was subjected to careful analysis and targeted conservation work.
The team of experts from the Superintendence of Siena Arezzo and Grosseto, in collaboration with the Opera della Metropolitana and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, faced complex challenges to ensure the conservation and restoration of the Baptismal Font. Advanced diagnostic investigations revealed not only the natural deterioration of the surfaces, but also structural criticalities that required innovative solutions.
A delicate process of dismantling the metal parts was undertaken to restore the static balance, compromised by previous post-war interventions.

Art historians, restorers, engineers, architects and photographers joined forces to bring this incredible project to fruition. Constant dialogue and knowledge sharing have played a fundamental role in the implementation processes, enabling constant progress in the understanding and conservation of the work of art.

Today, the Baptismal Font and its associated works of art, including Donatello’s magnificent Putti and Virtue of Prudence, are about to make a triumphant return to the Baptistery of Siena. After expert restoration at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, these gilded bronze treasures will once again light up the eyes of visitors.
The display cases have been specially adapted with a natural ventilation system to preserve the integrity of the works, bearing witness to the unceasing commitment of the restorers at the Opera della Metropolitana and the Opificio itself.


The adventure of restoring the Baptismal Font of the Cathedral of Siena is much more than a simple conservation process. It is a journey that takes us to the heart of the Renaissance, makes us reflect on the importance of preserving our cultural heritage, and shows us how powerful the union of past and future can be.
This extraordinary endeavour teaches us that art is a bridge between the ages and that our commitment to protect it is a testimony to our love of beauty and human creativity.

To visit the Baptismal Font of the Cathedral of Siena you must purchase tickets to the Cathedral Monumental Complex.

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