The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or Duomo di Reggio, is a magnificent church located in Piazza del Duomo, in Reggio Calabria.
The history of the Cathedral of Reggio Calabria is marked by numerous destructions due to wars, fires and earthquakes, and subsequent reconstructions, up to the present church, built after the earthquake of December 28, 1908.
The origins of the Cathedral of Reggio can be traced back to the beginning of the second millennium of our era when, after the Norman invasion of southern Italy, Reggio underwent a process of Latinization and progressive abandonment of the Greek-Byzantine cult. In 1061, the Normans of Robert Guiscard arrived in the city, and Guiscard ordered the construction of a new cathedral.
In the 14th century, Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, son of Ferdinand of Aragon, built the chapel dedicated to Santa Maria del Popolo, and the Archbishop Guglielmo Logoteta built the chapel of Saint Stephen. In the 15th century, the Archbishop De Ricci built a bell tower adorned with statues.
In the 16th century, the Cathedral was destroyed twice by the Turks, in 1574 and in 1594, both times by fire. In 1599, the church was restored by Monsignor D’Afflitto and reopened to worship.
In February 5, 1783, the earthquake damaged the structure in several parts, and the church was rebuilt between 1790 and 1796. The new cathedral was inaugurated on September 10, 1796.
On December 28, 1908, the earthquake seriously damaged the cathedral. The construction site of the new cathedral was opened in January 1917. The new structure was finished in 1922, and the official consecration took place on September 2, 1928.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The Cathedral was built in a modern eclectic style with Romanesque and Gothic elements. The facade is divided into three parts with four pierced towers of octagonal shape surmounted by crosses. The central part of the facade has a three-light window surmounted by a rose window enclosed by a frame decorated with floral motifs.
On the steps leading to the imposing facade, are the sumptuous statues of St. Paul, which according to legend converted Reggio to Christianity, and St. Stephen of Nicea, the first bishop of the city. The statues were carved in 1928 by Francesco Jerace and placed in front of the church in 1934.
The interior is in Romanesque style with motifs of classical inspiration. The Cathedral has a basilica plan, with three naves divided by supporting columns. The three naves, interrupted by three transepts, end with a polygonal apse for a length of 93 meters and a width of 26 meters, making it the largest building in the region.
In the central apse, the altar is in Romanesque style, a work of the 20th century by the Calabrian sculptor Concesso Barca, with a marble archiepiscopal chair, a 19th century work by Alessandro Monteleone. In the center stands the main altar of the basilica, by Antonio Berti, decorated with a bronze bas-relief.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Cathedral is about 650 meters away from the Reggio Calabria Stazione Centrale, the main train station of the city. If you need a map for the right directions, use the map below.