Situated in one of the world’s most beautiful countrysides, for the loveliness and variety of its scenery, siena is a city rich in history, traditions and works of art. An example that comes immediately to mind is the great number of Churches and their artistic patrimony which are located in all parts of the city. Among these is one which deserves a special mention: The Catherinian Basilica of St. Dominic, not only because it is the second most important Church after the Cathedral, but particularly because it houses the relics of St. Catherine (Her Sacred Head) and the original portrait of her painted by her contemporary and friend, Andrea Vanni.
The interest in the life and works of this remarkable woman, proclaimed Patroness of Italy in 1939 has been growing steadily in the last few years thanks to the popularising efforts of the Dominican Fathers who have opened a gift-shop inside the Basilica where one may find various biographies of the Sienese Saint and good editions of all her writings in all the major languages. It is an excellent apostolate and means of communication. One can also obtain art books in most languages, compact discs of sacred music, hand-made art objects, medals and crucifixes of gold and silver; all of which are highly appreciated by pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Special mention must also be made about our rosaries. The gift-shop offers an enormous variety of all shapes and sizes: from the simplest to those made of wood, hard stones and precious metals.
The people who run the shop are quite knowledgeable and will be more than happy to satisfy your curiosity about St. Catherine, our Church and Siena.