All Churches in Mantua

Italy has many churches, and all of them are beautiful and full of spectacular works of art. The main church of the city is referred as Il Duomo, but you will find churches that are named Basilica, Chiesa or Cattedrale, depending on their size and importance.

Some of the most beautiful churches in Italy are the Basilica di San Marco and the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, the Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Orvieto and the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore in Verona.

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    Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo

    The Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo (Duomo di Mantova) is the Cathedral of Mantua, dedicated to Saint Peter, located in Piazza Sordello, between Palazzo Bianchi and Palazzo Ducale.   SHORT HISTORY A first church of early Christian origin was erected on this site in the 5th century, and destroyed by a fire in 894. The church was rebuilt in Romanesque style in the 11th century, probably by Matilda di Canossa, and became the Cathedral of Mantua. The bell tower belongs to this era. The current church was rebuilt and enlarged between 1395 and 1401, at the behest of Francesco I Gonzaga. The splendid long lost marble facade of the church, equipped with a porch, rose windows and pinnacles, designed by Jacobello and Pierpaolo dalle Masegne, can be found in a painting by Domenico Morone preserved in the Ducal Palace. During these years, the Cathedral was flanked by two rows of Gothic chapels, decorated with marble and terracotta spiers and cusps, also designed by Jacobello dalle Masegne, whose wall structure is still visible on the right side of the church. In 1545, the Cathedral was renovated by Giulio Romano, who left the facade and the perimeter walls intact, but substantially modified Read more [...]

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    Rotonda di San Lorenzo

    Rotonda di San Lorenzo is the oldest church in Mantua, located in Piazza delle Erbe, near Palazzo della Ragione.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, Rotonda di San Lorenzo was built at the behest of Matilda di Canossa, as an evocation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, connected to the relic of the Blood of Christ found centuries earlier in Mantua and now preserved in the nearby crypt of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea. On the other hand, the positioning of the structure 1.5 meters below the level of Piazza delle Erbe and the existence of Roman vestiges dated to the 4th century, may suggest that the church was built earlier. The year 1083, which appears on the plaster of the building, may indicate the construction date of the church or a later date when it was renovated. Over the centuries, the church underwent radical transformations. At one point, the project for the renovation of the structure was entrusted to the architect Leon Battista Alberti. Later, it was Giulio Romano who worked on the building. The church was closed for worship in 1579, at the behest of Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga. Deconsecrated, the structure decayed quickly. It first became Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Sant’Andrea

    The Basilica of Sant’Andrea is a Renaissance church in Mantua, located in Piazza Andrea Mantegna. Inside the crypt of the basilica, two reliquaries with earth soaked in the Precious Blood of Christ are preserved.   MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST According to tradition, the Roman centurion Longinus pierced the side of the crucified Jesus with the Sacred Spear to ascertain whether He was dead or not. The soldier collected some of the blood in a vessel and returned to Italy. He stopped in Mantua in 37 AD, burying the precious relic in a small box, with the inscription Jesu Christi Sanguis on it. In the year 804, the small box next to his tomb was unearthed and the relic was officially recognized by the Catholic Church and approved for worship by Pope Leo III. Particles of the Precious Blood were transfered to the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, to the Church of Santa Croce in Guastalla, to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome and to the Abbey of Saint Martin in Weingarten.   SHORT HISTORY A first church dedicated to Sant’Andrea was built on this site in 1046 at the behest of Beatrice of Lotharingia, mother of Matilde di Canossa, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Sebastiano

    The Church of San Sebastiano, also known as the Temple of San Sebastiano, is an Early Renaissance church in Mantua, located in the immediate vicinity of Palazzo Te.   SHORT HISTORY Ludovico III Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, commissioned the construction of the Church of San Sebastiano to the architect Leon Battista Alberti. Alberti, ten years later, designed also the magnificent Basilica of Sant’Andrea for the same member of the Gonzaga family. The construction of the church was begun around 1460 by Alberti, but was completed after the death of the architect by Luca Fancelli, at the beginning of the 16th century. Fancelli also completed Alberti’s other project, the Basilica of Sant’Andrea. The church was consecrated in 1529, underwent a first restoration at the beginning of the 17th century, and another arbitrary intervention in 1926.   ARCHITECTURE Alberti designed an austere and solemn building. The church has a Greek cross plan, with three identical short apses, under a central cross-vaulted space without any interior partitions. The church is divided on two levels. The lower one is the crypt, which was intended to serve as a mausoleum for the Gonzaga family. The upper level is now accessed from two outer staircases added Read more [...]