Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena: Address, Phone Number, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena Reviews: 4/5

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
4
What people are saying
westy54
By westy54
The bank opens it's doors to the public 3 times a year to view it's magnificent art collection and archives.
Jul 2019
I previously reviewed this bank, which is the oldest still operating bank in the world (but only just as it needed a government bail-out in 2013) in August 2017, but only from an external perspective. It appears though that the Bank was one of the first non-government companies or institutions in the world to start accumulating a corporate art collection, starting shortly after the Bank was founded in 1472, with the collection now numbering many thousands of pieces from across all of the centuries since then. On this stay in Siena we found out that the Bank premises would be open to the public on the morning of the July Palio and so we were able to join a free tour of it's archives and the Museo di San Donato to see some of the Bank's vast art collection. It turns out the Bank also opens it's doors to the public on the morning of the August Palio as well as on the first Saturday of October. We dutifully joined a queue outside of the entrance to the Bank's head office in the Piazza Salimbeni and after about 10 minutes were shown through security into a very comfortable waiting room whilst they split the people into Italian and English speaking groups for the tour. There did not appear to be a set number for each group and there would have been between 20 to 30 in ours. Our guide appeared to be an employee of the Bank whose knowledge and English were both very good. We were first shown out onto the large terrace at the back of the Bank that had views over the San Donato church and the city to the north east. There followed a visit to the Archivio, a large room off the terrace that housed masses of very old Bank hand written ledgers that were stacked floor to ceiling high on shelves along the walls. These ledgers appeared to have once had painted spines similar to those we saw in the Achivio di Stato. On the wall space in between the stacks of ledgers were some beautiful paintings and on the floor space, a significant number of glass cabinets displaying historical documents important to the Bank and also to the city of Siena. Amongst these documents was a declaration signed by Napoleon and also a simple hand written and signed note from Guiseppe Garibaldi to the tax man advising that he was unable to pay his tax as he had no money! We were then taken down some steps to the Museo di San Donato. This Museum has a brick barrel vaulted ceiling and brick walls and now holds some precious and quite valuable religious artwork. This Museum had formerly been a church but was deconsecrated in the early 19th century following the Napoleonic suppression and turned into a storage area for carriages. The space was acquired by the Bank in the 1920's and incorporated into the massive Bank headquarters complex we see today. This space, together with the adjoining rooms, were redesigned in the 1970's to house some of the Bank's vast art collection. There are paintings and frescoes by Pietro Lorenzetti, Benedetto da Maiano, Francesco Vanni, Sano di Pietro and many more famous Sienese and Italian artists plus paintings of the Palio in the Il Campo undertaken over successive centuries which shows how the event and the Piazza itself has changed over time. Following this we were taken upstairs to the first floor to see the frescoed ceiling of one of the long corridors. The tour was free and very good although there was insufficient timing between the groups setting off on the tours so that at one stage there were about 60/70 people crammed into some very small rooms and trying to hear the guide over all of the noise and commentary in Italian from the other guides whilst trying to see some of the paintings three and four people deep. Nothwithstanding the crowding, This free tour is highly recommended.

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westy54
Sydney, Australia6,776 contributions
The bank opens it's doors to the public 3 times a year to view it's magnificent art collection and archives.
Jul 2019
I previously reviewed this bank, which is the oldest still operating bank in the world (but only just as it needed a government bail-out in 2013) in August 2017, but only from an external perspective. It appears though that the Bank was one of the first non-government companies or institutions in the world to start accumulating a corporate art collection, starting shortly after the Bank was founded in 1472, with the collection now numbering many thousands of pieces from across all of the centuries since then.

On this stay in Siena we found out that the Bank premises would be open to the public on the morning of the July Palio and so we were able to join a free tour of it's archives and the Museo di San Donato to see some of the Bank's vast art collection. It turns out the Bank also opens it's doors to the public on the morning of the August Palio as well as on the first Saturday of October.

We dutifully joined a queue outside of the entrance to the Bank's head office in the Piazza Salimbeni and after about 10 minutes were shown through security into a very comfortable waiting room whilst they split the people into Italian and English speaking groups for the tour. There did not appear to be a set number for each group and there would have been between 20 to 30 in ours. Our guide appeared to be an employee of the Bank whose knowledge and English were both very good.

We were first shown out onto the large terrace at the back of the Bank that had views over the San Donato church and the city to the north east. There followed a visit to the Archivio, a large room off the terrace that housed masses of very old Bank hand written ledgers that were stacked floor to ceiling high on shelves along the walls. These ledgers appeared to have once had painted spines similar to those we saw in the Achivio di Stato. On the wall space in between the stacks of ledgers were some beautiful paintings and on the floor space, a significant number of glass cabinets displaying historical documents important to the Bank and also to the city of Siena. Amongst these documents was a declaration signed by Napoleon and also a simple hand written and signed note from Guiseppe Garibaldi to the tax man advising that he was unable to pay his tax as he had no money!

We were then taken down some steps to the Museo di San Donato. This Museum has a brick barrel vaulted ceiling and brick walls and now holds some precious and quite valuable religious artwork. This Museum had formerly been a church but was deconsecrated in the early 19th century following the Napoleonic suppression and turned into a storage area for carriages. The space was acquired by the Bank in the 1920's and incorporated into the massive Bank headquarters complex we see today. This space, together with the adjoining rooms, were redesigned in the 1970's to house some of the Bank's vast art collection. There are paintings and frescoes by Pietro Lorenzetti, Benedetto da Maiano, Francesco Vanni, Sano di Pietro and many more famous Sienese and Italian artists plus paintings of the Palio in the Il Campo undertaken over successive centuries which shows how the event and the Piazza itself has changed over time.

Following this we were taken upstairs to the first floor to see the frescoed ceiling of one of the long corridors.

The tour was free and very good although there was insufficient timing between the groups setting off on the tours so that at one stage there were about 60/70 people crammed into some very small rooms and trying to hear the guide over all of the noise and commentary in Italian from the other guides whilst trying to see some of the paintings three and four people deep.

Nothwithstanding the crowding, This free tour is highly recommended.
Written 18 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ShowMeVegas
SGF, MO7,838 contributions
Maybe interesting to a banker, but then again, maybe not.
Sep 2018 • Couples
It's a large, unique building in a small piazza with a statue at its center surrounded by other old buildings not quite as ornate. Was interesting for about 5 minutes with a historical account provided by our guide who droned on for 15-20 minutes while the group stood and sweated.
It's a nice, brief stop on the way through a pretty town but lacks the interest or notoriety to waste as much time as we did.
Written 26 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Will D
Connecticut18 contributions
The world’s oldest bank
Aug 2018
If you’re walking thru Siena, make sure to make a stop in the square. Not much to see but at night it makes for a beautiful picture.
Written 13 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Dillon C
Island of Malta, Malta261 contributions
Charming
Nov 2017 • Couples
This piazza is one of the most beautiful in siena, apart from having its natural charm siena is a very nice city especially this place (Oldest bank in world!) at night with all the illuminating lights that give a vibrant effect.
Written 30 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

545medva
Budapest, Hungary3,972 contributions
Just from outside
Jun 2018 • Couples
The building itself is beautiful. This is the oldes, still today functioning bank not only in Italy, but most probably on the whole world.
Written 20 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

FTMDave
Adria, Italy4,573 contributions
Nice building
Jan 2018 • Couples
This is a nice enough building which we came across when strolling from our hotel to the main square. On Piazza Salimbeni. About a 5-minute stroll from the main square. Well worth a look if you're passing. Watch out that it's a working bank headquarters, they will only let staff in!
Written 7 January 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

twoinmaine
Belfast, ME526 contributions
Historic and Beautiful Building in a City Filled with Banking History, But Not a Standout
Oct 2017 • Couples
If you're a banker, an economist, or someone interested in European economic history, this building has passing interest. After all, Siena and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena are, respectively, the city that hosted and the bank that was the world's oldest. The Bank still exists and is very large in Italy. Siena is where moneylenders sat on a bench (banca, now bank) and were banished by breaking the bench (banca rotta or bankrupt). See it and move on.
Written 9 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

michael p
Atlanta, GA1,095 contributions
Interesting
Oct 2017
If you like taking photos of unique old building this would go well in your collection. It is in a charming square and if you take the time to look up you will become fascinated by the sculpted heads peering out at you.
Written 19 November 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

westy54
Sydney, Australia6,776 contributions
Oldest, still operating, bank in the world, but only just. Current survival due to recent Government bailouts.
Jul 2017 • Couples
The Palazzo Salimbeni, which is now used as the headquarters for the Banca Monte dei Paschi Di Siena, was built in the 14th century but remodelled into its current neo- gothic style in the 19th century.

The Bank was founded in 1472 and commenced in its current form in 1624. Unfortunately losses incurred during the GFC and financial fraud committed by some of the Bank's executives almost brought the bank to its knees. Its current survival is due to a series of interventions and bailouts by the Italian Government. It would appear that, as it is the 3rd largest bank in Italy, it may be too big to let fail.

You cannot generally get into the building but on occasions the Bank does exhibit some of its magnificent holding of Art in one of the foyers and we have been lucky to see several exhibits.
Written 13 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Amelia M
Province of Malaga, Spain150 contributions
Now this is what a bank should look like!
Jul 2017
Quick walk by and suddenly, there is it in the little square, the oldest bank in the world. It looks solid and utterly dependable - well it has been around for almost 500 years!
Written 26 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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