• About

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Geminiano is the Cathedral of Modena, located on Corso Duomo, in the historical center of the city.

    The Cathedral of Modena is a masterpiece of the Romanesque style, built on the site of the tomb of San Geminiano (Saint Geminianus), patron saint of Modena.

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Geminiano, along with its bell tower (Torre Ghirlandina) and the adjacent Piazza Grande were included in 1997 in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.



    After the ancient Mutina was destroyed by invasions, earthquakes and floods, and the inhabitants moved to Cittanova, the bishop continued to reside in the main church of the city, where the remains of the patron saint were kept.

    Over time, a residential nucleus formed around the church, which became the center of today’s Modena.

    Around the middle of the 11th century, the ancient church was replaced by a larger one, which, however, due to the lack of skills of the builders, threatened to collapse towards the end of the century.

    Consequently, the people of Modena, independently from the imperial and ecclesiastical powers of the time, decided to build a new larger cathedral.

    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Geminiano

    the southern facade of the Cathedral

    A plaque on the wall of the main apse shows the foundation date of the Cathedral as May 26, 1099, and also indicates the name of the architect, Lanfranco.

    In 1106, the Cathedral of Modena was already covered and the body of the patron saint was moved to the crypt of the new basilica. The ceremony took place in a solemn form in the presence of Pope Paschal II, of bishops and abbots, and of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany.

    By the third decade of the 12th century, the old cathedral was completely demolished and the works on the new cathedral were completed.

    The bell tower was completed only in 1319, with the addition of the lantern with an octagonal base. Around the same time, two side portals and the large Gothic rose window were opened on the facade, and the blessing Christ was placed above the rose window.

    Around the beginning of 14th century, the presbytery was also modified, and the grandiose Porta Regia was opened on Piazza Grande.



    The facade of the Cathedral is divided into three vertical sectors by two massive pilasters.

    The central sector is dominated by the main portal, enriched by a two-storey porch with a barrel-vaulted aedicule. The porch is supported by two column-bearing lions.

    Cathedral of Modena

    the interior of the Cathedral

    On the sides of the porch, there are six large arches enclosing three-mullioned windows which compose loggias. A continuous row of small hanging arches runs below the loggias.

    Numerous reliefs, including the four famous panels with the Stories of Genesis by Wiligelmo, decorate the facade.

    The southern side of the Cathedral facing Piazza Grande is characterized by a series of loggias at the height of the inside matroneum (women’s gallery).

    The smaller Porta dei Principi is located to the left of the lateral facade, and it consists of a two-storey porch with column-bearing lions.

    The larger Porta Regia is located between the ninth and eleventh arches. It has some steps on the outside and is made of pink marble. It also has a two-storey porch supported by four columns.

    Inside, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Geminiano has three naves without a transept, and with a presbytery in an elevated position, above the crypt.

    An apse corresponds to each nave. There is also a fake matroneum which has the function of lightening the structure.

    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Geminiano

    the crypt of the Cathedral

    The walls separating the naves are punctuated by round arches, resting on composite pillars alternating with columns.

    The crypt is a real underground church with nine naves and four bays, which can be accessed from the central nave of the Cathedral.



    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Geminiano is located about 1 kilometer away from the Modena railway station. The closest bus stop, Duomo, is right in front of the Cathedral, on the bus Line 11.

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