The works on the cathedral began in 1236, at the behest of the patriarch of Aquileia, Bertoldo of Andechs-Merania. At first, the church was dedicated to Saint Odoric.
In 1257, the building was already open for worship. In 1335, it was consecrated with the title of Santa Maria Maggiore.
The disastrous earthquake of 1348 caused serious damage to the cathedral, but did not stop its religious activity. Only in 1368, the Venetian architect Pierpaolo dalle Masegne was called for the restoration of the church.
He strengthened the walls, rebuilt the roof and made changes to the facade, including the replacement of the central rose window. Also, the two minor rose windows, corresponding to the side aisles, were modified, by inserting a fake loggia decoration between them.
In the 18th century, the cathedral was almost completely transformed by the architect Domenico Rossi. In 1735, when the works were completed, the patriarch Daniele Delfino rededicated the church to Santa Maria Annunziata.
The main portal, called the Portal of the Redemption (Portale della Redenzione), is the work of an unknown master, and its execution dates back to the 14th century. Decorated with high relief figures depicting the Redemption, it is surmounted by a pointed arch, and crowned by a hanging porch dating back to 1926.
The Portal of Coronation (Portale dell’Incoronazione) is the creation of a German sculptor and was added between 1395 and 1396. Its decorations are very deteriorated due to the use of a type of stone which is very sensitive to the action of bad weather.
Attached to the cathedral is the bell tower, a structure resting on the pre-existing baptistery, begun in March 1441 on a project by Cristoforo da Milano, while the works were supervised by Bartolomeo delle Cisterne. The bell tower houses the Duomo Museum at its base, largely dedicated to the figure of Bertrando di San Genesio, patriarch of Aquileia from 1334 until his death.
The interior of the cathedral, in the form of a Latin cross, is made up of three naves divided by pillars. Along each nave, there are 4 chapels. The Baroque style predominates, so much so as to create a striking contrast with the Romanesque-Gothic exterior.
The main altar is the work of Giuseppe Torretto and is dominated by the statues of the Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel, depicted at the moment of the Annunciation. In addition to the main altar, there are two other altars, placed on the sides. The first is dedicated to the Name of Jesus and the second to the Name of Mary, both works by the Baroque architect Giuseppe Pozzo.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata is located about 950 meters away from the Udine railway station, or about 15 minutes on foot. The closest bus stop is in Via Vittorio Veneto 6, on the bus Line 5.