All Churches

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.

From the Italy’s most famous church, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence, to the Duomo di Milano, and further, to Basilica San Marco, in Venice, Duomo di Siena or Campo dei Miracoli, in Pisa, and up to Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Cathedral of Rome, the route of the most beautiful churches in Italy is assured, and if you are passionate about art and beauty, in general, you should follow it.

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    Basilica di San Nicola

    Basilica di San Nicola (Basilica of San Nicholas) is a beautiful church located in the historical center of Bari, one of the most significant examples of the Apulian-Romanesque architecture.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in Romanesque style between 1087 and 1103, during the Norman domination of Apulia, to host the relics of Saint Nicholas, translated from Myra, Lycia, to Bari, on May 9, 1087. The relics were temporarily housed in the Monastery of St. Benedict. On October 1, 1089, the relics were transferred to the crypt of the unfinished basilica by Pope Urban II, who came to Bari specifically for this. The construction of the basilica was completed in 1103.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The simple and majestic facade of the basilica is divided in three parts by pilasters, crowned with small arches, has mullioned windows at the top and three portals at the bottom. Two bell towers of different styles flank the facade. The sides are characterized by deep blind arches and rich doors. Blind arches at the bottom and mullioned windows at the top animate the transept and the apse wall, decorated in the middle by a large window. The interior is divided in three naves Read more [...]

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    Palermo Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Palermo is a magnificent church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, located in the historical center of Palermo. Since July 3, 2015, the Cathedral is a UNESCO World heritage site, part of the Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale, a series of nine structures dating from the era of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built in the area in the fourth century. The building is mentioned in a papal bull of Pope Leo the Great in 444 and in a letter to the Sicilian clergy of 447. In 592, the Bishop Vittore demolishes the church and promotes its reconstruction according to the Byzantine canons. A second church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is built on the ruins of the previous one in 604. Between 831 and 1072, during the Arab domination of Palermo, the church was transformed into a mosque. Following the Norman conquest of the city, in 1072, the mosque was converted back to a Christian church. The earthquake of February 4, 1169, seriously damaged the bell tower and the upper part of the facade. Interpreted as a divine punishment Read more [...]

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    Lucca Cathedral of San Martino

    The Cathedral of San Martino is a church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, located in the square with the same name, in Lucca. According to tradition, the cathedral was founded by San Frediano in the 6th century, then rebuilt by Anselmo da Baggio, Bishop of the city, in 1060, and finally remodeled in its current form in the 12th and 13th centuries.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, the Church of San Martino received the title of Cathedral from the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, located nearby. The Cathedral was completely rebuilt starting with 1060, and solemnly consecrated in 1070 by Anselmo da Baggio, who at the time of the consecration was Pope Alexander II, but had also kept the title of Bishop of Lucca. In 1204, Guido Bigarelli of Como began the work on the facade. In 1372, two years after the liberation from the Pisan domination, the apse of the church and the wall of the transept were completed in Gothic style. The works were finished around 1390.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The main facade of the church was begun in 1204 by Guido Bigarelli of Como. The facade consists of a vast portico of Read more [...]

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    Baptistery of San Giovanni

    The Baptistery of San Giovanni is one of the monuments of the Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa. The baptistery stands in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, south of the Camposanto Monumentale (monumental cemetery) and about 170 meters from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the building began in 1152, to replace a smaller baptistery located north-east of the Cathedral, where the Camposanto is now located. It was built in Romanesque style by the architect Diotisalvi, who is also credited with the construction of the Tower of Pisa. Later, the works were conducted by Nicola Pisano, Giovanni Pisano and Cellino di Nese. In the 19th century, along with the renovation that affected the entire Piazza del Duomo and its monuments, the baptistery was the subject of a radical restoration by the architect Alessandro Gherardesca. His interventions led to the reconstruction of some portals and much of the decorations. Despite the denunciations of some intellectuals and prominent personalities of the Pisan culture of the time, the works of the 19th century, directed by the master builder Giovanni Storni, led to the removal of numerous sculptures by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The original sculptures Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria della Spina

    The Church of Santa Maria della Spina is a small Gothic church in Pisa, located on the southern bank of the river Arno. The title della Spina comes from a thorn of the crown of thorns placed on Christ during his Crucifixion, which was brought to the church in 1333, but is kept in the Church of Santa Chiara since the 19th century.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1230 by the Gualandi family, and it was originally called Santa Maria di Pontenovo, because of a nearby bridge across the river Arno that connected Via Sant’Antonio to Via Santa Maria, collapsed in the 15th century. Between 1323 and 1376, enlargement works were made, probably under the direction of the architect Lupo di Francesco. Starting with the 5th decade of the 15th century, the works were supervised by the architect Andrea Pisano and his son, Nino. After the unification of Italy, the city council and a commission formed by members of the Academy of Fine Arts decided to dismantle and rebuild the church on a higher ground. The works, led by the architect Vincenzo Micheli, started in 1871 and ended in 1875. This intervention moved the building a few Read more [...]

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    Milan Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary

    The Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary, better known as Duomo di Milano, is the largest church in Italy and the fourth largest in the world. The Cathedral, which took almost six hundred years to complete, is the most important tourist attraction in Milan and the most famous symbol of the city.   SHORT HISTORY Once, on the place where the Duomo stands today, there was the ancient Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Tecla. After the collapse of the bell tower of the cathedral, the Archbishop Antonio de’ Saluzzi, supported by the population, proposed in 1386 the building of a new and larger cathedral. For the new church, both previous churches were demolished. In January 1387, the foundations of the pylons were laid. The chief architect was Simone d’Orsenigo, who, in 1388, began the perimeter walls. Between 1389 and 1390, the French Nicolas de Bonaventure was commissioned to design the windows. In 1393, the first capital of the pillars was sculpted by Giovannino de’ Grassi, who was the main architect of the work until his death, in 1398. In 1400, Filippino degli Orgi took his place, who focused on the construction of the apse Read more [...]

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    Matera Cathedral

    The Cathedral of the Madonna della Bruna and Sant’Eustachio is the Cathedral of Matera, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the city, and to the Christian martyr Saint Eustace. The church is located on the highest point of the old city, between the two Sassi, the ancient districts of Matera.   SHORT HISTORY The cathedral was built between 1230 and 1270, on the area of an ancient Benedictine monastery from the 11th century dedicated to Saint Eustace. Originally, the church was dedicated to Santa Maria di Matera and, later, to Santa Maria della Bruna, also protector of the city. Starting with 1627, the Cathedral of Matera was dedicated both to the Madonna della Bruna and to Saint Eustace. The interior underwent considerable transformations starting with 1627, when the stuccos and decorations were added. In 1719, the ceiling was covered by a false wooden ceiling, decorated in the 19th century with three beautiful paintings by the Calabrian artist Battista Santoro. In 1776, the stuccos were covered with a gold leaf. Since 2003, the church was affected by important restoration works. In 2006, the church received a series of consolidation and restoration interventions, mainly on the medieval trusses and Read more [...]

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    Catania Cathedral of Sant’Agata

    Cathedral of Sant’Agata is a church dedicated to the martyr Saint Agatha, patron saint of Catania, located in the main square of the city, Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY Over time, the church had a tumultuous history, being repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt after the earthquakes that occurred in the area. A first church was built around 1086 on the ruins of the Achilliane Baths dating back to Roman times. On 4 February 1169, an earthquake completely destroyed the ceiling of the church, killing many people gathered in the Cathedral. In 1194, under the reign of Henry VI, a fire caused considerable damage. In 1693, the earthquake that struck the area destroyed the Cathedral almost completely, leaving only the apse and the facade. The bell tower was put to the ground. The reconstruction of the church was made in the 18th century. The current building is the work of the architect Girolamo Palazzotto, who is responsible for the interior, while Giovanni Battista Vaccarini designed the facade, which was built between 1734 and 1761. In 1857, the bell tower was completed, and the current layout of the churchyard was built in the 19th century.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Cathedral, Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Petronio

    With 132 meters in length and 60 meters wide, the Basilica of San Petronio is the sixth largest church in Europe, despite being largely unfinished. Although is not the cathedral of Bologna, a title that belongs to the nearby Cathedral of San Pietro, it can be considered the main church of the city.   SHORT HISTORY In the 14th century, the Bolognese aristocracy revived the cult of San Petronio, bishop of Bologna during the 5th century, and planned to build a church dedicated to him. The church was founded on 7th of June 1390, when the first stone was laid in a solemn procession. The project was given to the architect Antonio di Vicenzo, who made a design with the advice of Father Andrea Manfredi. At the beginning of the 15th century, di Vicenzo died, and the Papal Legate Baldassarre Cossa, an enemy of the Municipality of Bologna, took advantage of the architect’s death to sell the construction material that was used for the building of the church. In 1507, the architect Arduino Arriguzzi was comissioned to continue the church. Arriguzzi was sent to Florence to see and study the dome built by Brunelleschi for the Cathedral of Santa Maria Read more [...]

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    Reggio Calabria Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or Duomo di Reggio, is a magnificent church located in Piazza del Duomo, in Reggio Calabria.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]

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    Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola

    The Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola is a beautiful small church standing on the homonymous rock, in Tropea. The church and its rock, once an island, is one of the most iconic images of the Calabrian city.   SHORT HISTORY The rock on which the church stands today was probably inhabited around the 7th century by Greek hermit monks. These, isolating themselves from the world, devoted themselves to a contemplative and ascetic life. Built before the 9th century, the church belonged, at first, to the Basilian monks. In the 11th century, after the arrival of the Normans, it was passed on to the Benedictines, who still own it today. As a parenthesis, Tropea, like all of Calabria, was under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Byzantium and, therefore, under the Greek rite, until the arrival of the Normans, in the 11th century, who imposed the latinization of the population. Robert Guiscard, the Norman duke, made the transition from the Greek to the Latin rite around 1060. Around the year 1066, the Church of Santa Maria dell’Isola and some surrounding territories were donated by the Normans to the Abbot of Montecassino, Desiderio, who later became Pope Victor III. Over the centuries, due to Read more [...]

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    Orvieto Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Orvieto is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy and the world and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.   SHORT HISTORY The building of the Orvieto Cathedral was started in 1290 by the will of Pope Nicholas IV. The church was designed, probably, by Arnolfo di Cambio, but it is not known for sure. At the beginning, the project was entrusted to Fra Bevignate from Perugia, and later, before the end of the 13th century, to Giovanni di Ugguccione, who introduced the first Gothic forms. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Sienese sculptor and architect Lorenzo Maitani assumed the role of the master builder, changing the design of the church into something similar with the Cathedral of Siena. At the Maitani’s death, in 1330, the works were far from over. The role of master builder was obtained by various architects, who succeeded each other over the years, often for short periods. The Chapel of the Corporal was built between 1350 and 1356, and the Chapel of San Brizio was built between 1408 and 1444. The works of the facade continued over the years, and were completed in the second half Read more [...]

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    Siena Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Siena, dedicated to the of the Assumption of Saint Mary, is located in the homonymous square in the historical center of the city, being one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, a great exemple of Romanesque-Gothic architecture.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that the current cathedral replaced a first church dedicated to Saint Mary, built around the 9th century, which in turn replaced an ancient temple dedicated to Minerva. The first real information about the building of the cathedral is from 1226, when the first costs and contracts related to the construction were recorded. Probably, the works had begun some time before that, because the consecration tooked place, according to the tradition, on November 18, 1179. Between 1238 and 1285, the church was administered by the monks of San Galgano. From 1284 to 1297, Giovanni Pisano was responsible for the construction of the lower part of the facade, completed between 1299 and 1317 by Camaino di Crescentino, father of the sculptor Tino di Camaino. The bell-tower, at a height of 77 meters, was finished in 1313. The works were completed in 1370.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is elevated on a Read more [...]

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    Pisa Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    Located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), between the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or the Duomo di Pisa, is a masterpiece of the Romanesque style, representing the tangible proof of the prestige and wealth achieved by the Maritime Republic of Pisa at its height.   SHORT HISTORY The building of Pisa Cathedral was started in 1064 by the architect Buscheto, at the same time with the reconstruction of the Basilica of Saint Mark, in Venice, as part of the race between the two maritime republics to create the most beautiful and sumptuous place of worship. The cathedral was consecrated with great pomp on September 26th, 1118, by Pope Gelasius II. In the first half of the 12th century, the cathedral was enlarged under the direction of architect Rainaldo. He designed a new facade, built by the sculptors Guglielmo and Biduino. The work ended in 1180, as documented by the date on the bronze knockers made by Bonanno Pisano for the main door. Following the disastrous fire of 1595, the roof of the church was redone and the three bronze doors of the facade were executed Read more [...]

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    Scrovegni Chapel

    The Scrovegni Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni), dedicated to St. Mary of the Charity, commissioned by Enrico degli Scrovegni and frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by the painter and architect Giotto di Bondone, is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. Since 2006, the Scrovegni Chapel has been nominated to become the second UNESCO World Heritage Site in Padua, the first being the 16th century botanical garden.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 14th century, Enrico Scrovegni, a rich Paduan banker, had bought a land in Padua, in an ancient Roman area, to build a sumptuous palace and a chapel that will be used as a family mausoleum. For painting the chapel, he comissioned the Florentine Giotto, who started the work in 1303 and finished it before March 25th, 1305, when the chapel was consecrated. Giotto painted the entire inner surface of the oratory with a unitary iconography, helped by a team of about forty employees. Palazzo Scrovegni was demolished in 1827 to obtain precious materials and make room for two condominiums, and the chapel was officially acquired by the Municipality of Padua. Immediately after the purchase, the condominiums were demolished and the chapel was restored. In Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

    There are many churches in Venice, and many are beautiful, but few impress like the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. It may be the place, because not many churches have their own island, or it may be the bell-tower, probably second in height after the one in the Saint Mark’s Square, but we can easily believe that, among all, the inspiration of Andrea Palladio matters probably the most.   SHORT HISTORY In 982, the Doge Tribuno Memmo donated the island of San Giorgio Maggiore to a benedictine monk, who will establish here a monastery. The church, built five years later, from brick and wood, will last until 1223, when it will be severely damaged by an earthquake. The Doge Pietro Ziani will fix it, only to retreat to the island a few years later. In 1109, the relics of St. Stephen will be brought here from Constantinople, and the annual celebration held on 26 December, on the saint’s day, will become one of the most popular Christian holidays in the Venetian calendar. The church we see today was begun by Andrea Palladio in 1565 and completed after his death, in 1610. The one who finished the project was, apparently, Vincenzo Read more [...]

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    Arezzo Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter

    The Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter (Cattedrale di Santi Donato e Pietro) is the main catholic church in Arezzo, dominating the city from the height of San Pietro Hill.   SHORT HISTORY An important event, which contributed to the construction of the cathedral, was the visit of Pope Gregorio X, which took place on December 20, 1275, returning from the Council of Lyon. The Pope, seriously ill, died in Arezzo on January 10, leaving the sum of thirty gold florins for the building of the new Cathedral. In 1277, the decree of the bishop Guglielmo degli Ubertini was promulgated, which stated the desire to build a church “to the honor of God, of the Blessed Virgin and of the patron Saint Donato”. In 1289, the year of the Battle of Campaldino, the church, already consecrated, presented a fully built apse and the first two bays. In 1384, the sale of the Municipality of Arezzo to the Signoria of Florence led to an interruption of the construction, which was resumed in 1471 and ended in 1511. In the early 17th century, following the new rules of the Council of Trent, a modernization operation was carried out with the renewal of Read more [...]

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    Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

    Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Duomo of Florence, is one of the most famous churches in Italy. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the world, while today it is the third in Europe after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London.   SHORT HISTORY In 1294, the Commune of Florence orders the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower). Two years later, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio is comissioned to design the cathedral, but he dies a few years later. In 1334, Giotto di Bondone was appointed as the architect of the cathedral. In the same year, he starts the building of the bell-tower. Three years later, Giotto dies. Between 1337 and 1343, the works are supervised by Andrea Pisano, but he is banished from Florence and Francesco Talenti takes his place. Talenti alters Arnolfo’s design and completes the bell-tower in 1359. After 1366, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini joins him. In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi wins the competition for building the cathedral’s dome, opens the construction site and, 16 years later, in 1436, the dome is completed and Read more [...]

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    Il Redentore

    When you are looking at the Giudecca island, from Zattere, your look is attracted to the splendid creation of Andrea Palladio, Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore or, commonly known, Il Redentore (The Redeemer). The church impresses at first from the distance, thanks to its massive structure, but only in front of it you will be able to discover the details that complete one of the most valuable architectural creations of the Venetian Renaissance.   SHORT HISTORY After the plague epidemic of 1575-1577, that killed over 50,000 Venetians, the Senate of the Republic decided to build a church to celebrate the end of the scourge and to thank the Divinity. The mission was entrusted to the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who was to begin the construction in 1577 and to leave it, after his death in 1580, to Antonio da Ponte, who would complete it many years later, in 1592. After the church was finished, the Venetian Senate established that every July, a pontoon will be built to link Zattere with the Giudecca island. In time, this tradition will become an important celebration for the Venetians, known as Festa del Redentore.   ARCHITECTURE Considered the most beautiful church built by Palladio, Read more [...]

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    Perugia Cathedral of San Lorenzo

    The Cathedral of San Lorenzo, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, deacon in the service of Pope Sixtus II, martyred in Rome in the year 258, is part of an architectural complex that, taken as a whole, is called the island of San Lorenzo or the castle of San Lorenzo.   SHORT HISTORY A church was initially built in the 9th century on the ancient forum of the Etruscan city. It was then rebuilt between the 11th and the 12th century, to house the remains of the bishop Ercolano, martyred at the time of the Ostrogoths invasion, in the 6th century. In 1300, the church was expanded, under the supervision of the benedictine monk Bevignate. A considerable time has passed between the planning and the completion of the work, two centuries later, in 1507. In the second half of the nineteenth century, by the will of Cardinal Gioacchino Pecci, then bishop of Perugia and future pontiff, the cathedral received a neo-gothic appearance – the structure preserved to this day.   ARCHITECTURE The Cathedral, with its southern façade, serves as a background to Piazza Maggiore, today Piazza IV Novembre, which gathers in a single space, at the same time functional and symbolic, the Read more [...]

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    Spoleto Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    Spoleto Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta or the Duomo di Spoleto) is a beautiful church in Spoleto dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   SHORT HISTORY The Spoleto Cathedral was built at the end of the 12th century, replacing the building of Santa Maria del Vescovato, which was dating back to the 8th or 9th century. Earlier, on this place, was an ancient christian temple dedicated to the martyr Primiano di Larino. The crypt of San Primiano, from the 9th century, represents the only remaining element of the building that stood on this place.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the façade of the church, embellished by the mosaic of Solsterno, are the arcades of the portico built in 1491 by Ambrogio Barocci. Inside the Cathedral, you can find numerous works of art. At the beginning of the left aisle, you can admire the painting by Alberto Sotio (around 1187). The apse has a remarkable painting with Stories of the Virgin by Filippo Lippi, made between 1467 and 1469. You can also find here a bronze sculpture of Urbano VIII by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a painting by Annibale Carracci. Interesting is the chapel of Sant’Anna, built Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

    The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is the mother church of Roman Catholic Franciscan Order, an important place of pilgrimage, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Here, Saint Francis, one of the most venerated religious figures of the Catholic Church, is buried.   SHORT HISTORY The Basilica of Saint Francis is composed, actually, from two churches. The Lower Church was built between 1228 and 1230, only 4 years after the saint’s death, and the Upper Church was built between 1230 and 1253. The Sacro Convento friary, with its imposing walls supported by 53 arches and powerful buttresses, was built between the 12th and the 15th century with stone from the near Mount Subasio. An important part of the friary was built under the reign of Pope Sixtus IV, a Franciscan, near the end of the 15th century. A crypt was dug in 1818, for the tomb of Saint Francis. Now, the remains of the saint are kept in a stone urn in the Lower Church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE You can enter the Lower Church through a wonderful portico with two arches and three rose windows. Inside, you can find invaluable paintings by Giotto (the Chapel of Mary Read more [...]

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    Basilica di Santa Croce

    Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a beautiful Franciscan church situated in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence. Here, Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest sculptors of all time, is buried.   SHORT HISTORY It is said that, in the year 1211, Saint Francis arrived in Florence. In a little island created by the Arno River, there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross which would be donated to Saint Francis and from which the present church would take the name. The construction of the church started in 1294, after a project elaborated probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of that time. Over time, many great artists worked here, such as Giotto, Taddeo and Agnolo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Brunelleschi and Michelozzo. Due to floods and epidemics, the basilica was finished at the end of the 14th century and was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugenio IV. With many difficulties, the last works were done until 1504, but then the funding came to an end and the church remained without a façade. The current façade was built in neo-gothic style between 1853 and 1863 by the architect Read more [...]

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    Pantheon

    With a history of nearly 2000 years, the Pantheon is the best preserved roman building in the world. Once a Roman temple, the Pantheon is now a catholic church, and one of the main attractions in Rome.   SHORT HISTORY Although the inscription on the frontispiece shows that it was built by Marcus Agrippa, the Roman consul, Agrippa’s pantheon was built in fact during the reign of Augustus, between 27 and 25 BC, and it burned in the year 80 AD. The façade was the only part to be saved, that was later used to rebuild the new pantheon. The temple was rebuilt by the Emperor Domitian, but it was burnt again in 110 AD. Today’s building was built between the years 118 and 125 AD, during the reign of Hadrian. In 609, Pope Bonifacio IV converted the Pantheon into a Christian church and consecrated it to St. Mary and the Martyrs. Two kings of Italy are buried in the Pantheon – Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as the painters Raphael and Annibale Carracci, the composer Arcangelo Corelli, and the architect Baldassare Peruzzi.   ARCHITECTURE At 43 meters wide and 43 meters high, the Pantheon’s dome is Read more [...]

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    Santa Maria della Salute

    On the southern bank of the Grand Canal, near to its end leading to St. Mark’s Basin, one of the most beautiful churches of Venice, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, was built in the 17th century. A symbolic picture of the floating city, that appears in many of the documentaries about Venetian architecture, but also in many paintings left by famous artists such as Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and, of course, Canaletto.   SHORT HISTORY After the plague of 1630, which is said to have killed nearly a third of the population of Venice, the Venetian senate decided to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After a competition between several architects of that time, the project was entrusted to the young Baldassare Longhena. The construction began in 1631, but the soil was not solid enough to support this massive structure, and the church was to be completed very late, not until 1687, five years after Longhena’s death. Every year, on November 21, Festa della Madonna della Salute is celebrated. The Venetians build a bridge over the Grand Canal, from San Marco to Dorsoduro, where locals go to worship the Virgin Mary, and Read more [...]

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    Sanctuary of the Madonna della Grata

    The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Grata is a small church that stands in a prominent position outside the historical center of Ostuni, surrounded by gardens, in a rural area known as Contrada Rosara.   SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about a church in this place dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. The current church was built between 1896 and 1910 by the architect Gaetano Jurleo, who was also responsible for the facade of the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi. The sanctuary was solemnly consecrated by the Archbishop Tommaso Valeri on August 18, 1912. The old church was then demolished.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Grata was built on a natural cistern destined since ancient times to store water necessary for the irrigation of the nearby gardens. To date, this cistern is full of water, causing considerable damage to the church above. The symmetrical facade of the church is made up of two main parts: the base, characterized by the entrance portal and a plinth on which four Corinthian pilasters and four niches are set, and the upper part, characterized by a central semicircular window surmounted by the emblem with the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi is a beautiful church located in the main square of Ostuni, Piazza della Libertà, adjacent to the Palazzo di Città (Palace of the City).   SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in 1304 by the Order of the Minor Friars, on a land donated by Philip I, Prince of Taranto. The friars took care of it for the next five centuries, and after the suppression of the religious orders in 1813, the church was given to the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate, which still manages it. In 1615, the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi underwent major transformations, being largely rebuilt. In the second half of the 18th century, the church was renovated under the direction of the master mason and sculptor Giuseppe Fasano, assisted by his son Carlo and by Nicolantonio Maldarella. The facade was designed in 1883 by the architect Gaetano Jurleo, to harmonize it with the adjacent facade of the Palazzo di Città, which today hosts the Town Hall.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is divided into two orders by a cornice. On the upper order, there is an atypical window of Romanesque inspiration. In the lower part, near the door, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Biagio

    The Church of San Biagio is a small church located on the homonymous street, at the nortwest limit of the Sasso Barisano, in Matera.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1642 and linked to the healing virtues of Saint Blaise, the Armenian saint martyred in 316 AD. The church is closed all year, but it opens on February 3, on the occasion of the Feast of San Biagio, whose cult in Matera could be related to the Armenian community gathered around the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria de Armenis.   ARCHITECTURE The church is characterized by a very simple facade, which has two dome-shaped bell gables and a square window in the center, divided by a column. On both sides of the entrance door, there are two niches with the statues of Sant’Agata and Santa Lucia.   TIP: In 2019, Matera will be the European Capital of Culture, and if you have not visited the city until now, the moment has come. To gain access to all events in the Matera 2019 official programme, don’t forget to buy the Matera 2019 Passport. HOW TO GET THERE The Church of San Biagio is located about 650 meters away from Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Idris

    The Church of Santa Maria di Idris is a rupestrian church in Matera, located near the Church of San Pietro Caveoso, dug in the large limestone rock of Monterrone, dominating from its height the entire Sasso Caveoso.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built between the 14th and 15th centuries. The facade, made of tuff in the 15th century, was rebuilt following a collapse occurred in the same century.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church presents an irregular plan, composed of a part carved into the rock and another one built. Next to the facade, there is a small bell gable. The interior of the church is completely different from the original structure, because of the continuous restorations made over the centuries due to the humidity. Numerous frescoes were detached to be subsequently restored, and today they are conserved at the Superintendence for the Historical and Artistic Heritage of Matera. On the 19th-century altar, built in 1807, there is a Madonna with Child painted in tempera, dating back to the 17th century. On the right, is the Conversion of Sant’Eustachio, the Holy Family and Sant’Antonio, all from the 17th century, and a Crucifixion with the city of Matera as a Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a church dedicated to Saint Augustine, in Matera. The church and the adjacent convent dominate the Sasso Barisano from a rocky spur.   SHORT HISTORY The convent was built in 1592 by the monks belonging to the Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine on an ancient hypogeum dedicated to Saint William of Vercelli. The church, dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie, was built two years later, in 1594. In 1734, the entire complex was destroyed by an earthquake. Once restored, in 1747, the convent and the church became the General Chapter of the Augustinian Order. The church was consecrated in 1750 by the Archbishop Antonio Antinori. Over time, the convent was suppressed, and it was used as an army shelter, before becoming a prison and later a care home for the elderly. Today, is houses the Superintendence for Architectural and Environmental Heritage.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is dominated by the central portal, surmounted by a niche with the statue of Sant’Agostino. Above the cornice, there is a niche containing a statue of a bishop and, on both sides, the statues of San Paolo and San Pietro. Between the church and Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi is a church built in Baroque style in the San Francesco Square, in Matera. The church is dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, after the saint visited Matera in 1218.   SHORT HISTORY The current church was built in the first half of the 13th century on the place of a hypogean church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. The ancient church can still be accessed today through a trap door from the third chapel on the left. In the church can be found a fresco depicting the visit of Pope Urban II to Matera from 1093. The church was enlarged in the 15th century, and many transformations were subsequently made until the 18th century, when it assumed its current state, with the construction of the Baroque facade by the architects Vito Valentino and Tommaso Pennetta.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Baroque facade houses three statues in the upper part, with the Virgin Mary in the center, and Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua on the sides. The interior consists of a single nave, with side chapels and a beautiful painted ceiling. The nave ends with the quadrangular apse, introduced by Read more [...]

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    Bari Cathedral of San Sabino

    The Cathedral of San Sabino is the cathedral of Bari, dedicated to Saint Sabinus of Canosa, whose relics were brought to the city in the 9th century.   SHORT HISTORY In the first half of the 11th century, the Archbishop Bisanzio built a church on this ground, later completed by his successors Nicola I and Andrea II. This church was later destroyed by William I, called the Bad, during the destruction of the city from 1156. The current church, which dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries, was built by Archbishop Rainaldo on the ruins of the Byzantine cathedral, inspired by the style of the Basilica of San Nicola. For the work, materials from the previous church and from other destroyed buildings were used. The cathedral was consecrated on October 4, 1292. Starting with the 18th century, the building underwent a series of renovations, demolitions and additions. During those times, the facade, the interior of the naves, the interior of the ancient baptistery and the crypt were rebuilt in baroque forms on a design by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro.   ARCHITECTURE The church is an important example of Apulian-Romanesque architecture. The simple facade is divided by two pilasters in three Read more [...]

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    Church of Our Lady of Remedies

    The Church of Our Lady of Remedies (Chiesa della Madonna dei Rimedi) and the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites (Carmelitani Scalzi) is a religious complex built in Baroque style, located in Piazza dell’Indipendenza, in Palermo.   SHORT HISTORY During the campaign of the Norman reconquest of Sicily, held between 1064 and 1072, the lighting of fires, suggested in a dream by the Virgin, proved to be an excellent remedy to drive away the annoying insects that weakened the troops. In 1072, after the conquest of Palermo, Roger I of Sicily, nicknamed The Great Count, as a sign of gratitude for the victory, built a primitive church dedicated to Santa Maria dei Rimedi. The current structure was born five centuries later, in 1609, after the arrival of Father Domenico, called to Palermo by the Viceroy of Sicily Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco and Zúñiga, Marquis of Vigliena. The Convent of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites was built around the same time, under the title of Santa Maria dei Rimedi, one of the first Carmelite institutions of Palermo, and today one of the most important convents of the Discalced Carmelites in Italy. The construction of the complex continued with the help of Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Forisportam

    The Church of Santa Maria Forisportam, or the Church of Santa Maria Bianca, is a church located in the square with the same name, in Lucca. Forisportam comes from the Latin foris portam, which means outside the gate, due to the location of a first church built on this place during the Roman times, outside the ancient walls of the city. Bianca (white) comes from the white marble facade of the church.   SHORT HISTORY In the 12th century, the church was rebuilt and incorporated within the medieval walls of Lucca. The church was modeled after the Cathedral of Pisa. The bell tower was built in 1619, and other restoration works were carried out during the 18th and 19th centuries. From 1512 until the Napoleonic suppression, the church was affiliated with the Canonici Regolari of San Salvatore of Bologna. In 1819, the Canonici returned, and in 1823 they fused with the Canonici Regolari Lateranensi into a single order.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the facade of the church, the first order is articulated by blind arcades supported by semi-columns of Pisan imitation. Also on the facade, we can find three portals with architraves decorated with classical motifs. The second order Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata

    The Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata is a church located in Piazza San Giovanni, in Lucca, about 120 meters away from the Piazza Napoleone and the Ducal Palace and about the same from the Teatro del Giglio.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 5th century on the site of a Roman settlement, and was the Cathedral of Lucca until the 8th century, when the role was given to the nearby Church of San Martino. However, after the change, the baptismal font was kept in the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, and the two holy places remained inseparably linked. In the 12th century, a new edifice replaced the old church. The new church, with three naves supported by columns with composite capitals, with apse and transept, wasn’t so different from the early Christian structure. The baptistery was also rebuilt in the 12th century, but the most important renovation works were made in 1393, when it was covered with an ogival dome. Starting with the end of the 16th century and throughout the first two decades of the following century, a new renovation was carried out. During this time, the new facade was built, reusing for the Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Vito and Ranieri

    The Church of Saints Vito and Ranieri, popularly known as the Church of San Vito, is a church located on the Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli, in Pisa, in which, according to tradition, Saint Rainerius, the patron saint of the city, died in 1160.   SHORT HISTORY Documented since 1051, the church was surrounded by a Benedictine monastery in 1069. At the beginning of the 15th century, the whole complex passed to the nuns of Santa Chiara. A century later, the church was damaged during the Florentine siege of the city. In 1542, Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to realize the Giardino dei Semplici, now the Botanical Garden of Pisa, needed the area of the old Republican Arsenal and the adjacent territory. Subsequently, to build the new shipyard, he purchased the entire territory of the Convent of San Vito and had a large part of the building demolished. The ancient church was seriously damaged during the bombings of the Second World War. Therefore, after the war, it was rebuilt in similar forms to those of the 18th century.   ARCHITECTURE The church, crammed between two other buildings, has a simple plastered facade, with a portal surmounted by an arched Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Cristina

    The Church of Santa Cristina is a church located on the southern bank of the Arno river, on the Lungarno Gambacorti, in Pisa, a few meters away from the Palazzo Blu.   SHORT HISTORY The church is documented since the 8th century, but the external apsidal structures are attributed to the 10th century. The church was destroyed by a flood in 1115 and rebuilt in 1118. From the 13th to the 16th century, it was the property of the Canonici del Duomo. The Count Luigi Archinto, member of a prominent Milanese family, moved to Pisa in the late 18th century, and in 1814 he acquired the Agnello palace adjacent to the church. The Count Archinto commissioned the reconstruction of the church, which was in a very poor conservation. The church was restored in its current form in 1816 on a project by Francesco Riccetti, when the bell tower was also built. In 1854, according to the project of Lanfranco Mei regarding the enlargement of the Lungarno Gambacorti, the position of the church was in a strong contrast with the harmony of the nearby buildings. Saved by the proposal of demolition, it was decided to rectify the rectory overlooking the river. Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco

    The Church of San Francesco is a church dating from the 13th century, located in Piazza San Francesco, in Pisa.   SHORT HISTORY Mentioned for the first time in a document from 1233, the church was rebuilt starting with 1261 at the behest of the archbishop Federico Visconti. Between 1265 and 1270, the works were directed by Giovanni di Simone. During this time, the slender bell-tower was also built. The new church included many private chapels belonging to noble Pisan families. The chapels, which preserve ancient tombs, were built and adorned by the Pisan families, who exercised the right of patronage on the church, while the Franciscan monks only limited themselves to the administration of the cult. Two new cloisters and the San Bernardino chapel were added in the 15th century. The marble facade dates back to 1603, and the interior was renovated in the same 17th century. In 1863, following a law of December 1861, the church and convent were deconsecrated and converted to military barracks. All the objects, paintings and ornaments were therefore withdrawn by the families, who exercised their patronage rights. On 7 July 1866, the church was transformed into a warehouse. On 22 May 1893, the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri

    The Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri is a church dedicated to Saint Stephen, first martyr of Christianity, located in the historical center of Pisa, in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near to the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana.   SHORT HISTORY The first stone of the church was laid on 17 April 1565 by Cosimo I de’ Medici. The church was built for the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, founded by the Grand Duke to combat Saracen piracy in the Mediterranean. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, with the works being supervised by David Fortini, the church was built on the site of the old Church of San Sebastiano alle Fabbriche Maggiori, documented since 1074. The construction was completed in August 1567, and the church was consecrated on December 1569. The bell tower, added between 1570 and 1572, was erected by Giovanni Fancelli based on a design by Vasari. In the following century, the church was decorated with most of the paintings that are still on display, painted by the greatest Florentine masters of the 17th century. The altar and the nave were designed by Pier Francesco Silvani. Between 1683 and 1691, the two side bodies were built, used as dressing rooms Read more [...]

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    Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno

    The Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno (St. Paul on the bank of the Arno), is a church from the 10th century located in Pisa, on the Lungarno Sidney Sonnino, in the homonymous square.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built around the year 925 and is attested in documents dating back to 1032. The associated convent has been documented since 1147. The church and the monastery belonged to the Benedictine monks until 1092, when it was given to the Vallumbrosan monks. In the mid-twelfth century, it was enlarged in similar forms to the contemporary Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Later, the church and the monastery were entrusted to the cardinal Landolfo Marramauro and, in the 16th century, it was assigned to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. After the suppression of the order, the church became a parish. In the 19th century, several restorations were made, but the building suffered some damage during the Second World War and was therefore restored again between 1949 and 1952. Just as a result of the post-war interventions, most of the buildings adjacent to the church were demolished. In 2012, it was closed due to precarious conditions. Restoration started in Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Loreto

    The Church of Santa Maria di Loreto is a beautiful church located in Piazza Venezia, in Rome, close to the Trajan’s Column and the Forum of Trajan.   SHORT HISTORY In 1500, the Congregazione dei Fornai (Congregation of Bakers) obtained from Pope Alexander VI a small chapel, that was demolished to build the current church. The works, based on a project by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, were started in 1507. The dome of the church was built by Giacomo del Duca in 1582. In the 19th century, the church was restored by Luca Carimini, and completed with a presbytery by Giuseppe Sacconi, the architect of the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The architecture is characterized by pilasters in travertine that stand out on the brick walls, and is notable for the beauty of its proportions. The project is characterized by simple overlapping volumes – the body of the church with a square plan, surmounted by the octagonal volume of the drum, on which is placed the dome. At the top of the dome, we can find the lantern, with a very elaborate shape. The interior is octagonal in shape, with four chapels, and the Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli

    The Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is a church located on the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill), in Rome, known for housing relics belonging to Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built here in the 6th century, on the ruins of a Temple dedicated to Juno Moneta. In the 9th century, the church was taken over by the papacy. Near the end of the 12th century, Palazzo Senatorio (Senatorial Palace) was built on the Capitoline Hill, and the area started to develop. In 1250, the Pope Innocent IV granted the ownership of the church to the Franciscan Order. The Franciscans restored the church, giving it the current Romanesque-Gothic appearance. The imposing marble staircase was built in 1348, as a vow to the Virgin, to put an end to the plague that raged throughout Europe. During the occupation of Rome, in 1797, the French took possession of the hill, killing the Franciscan friars and reducing the church to a stable. The restorations of the church began as early as 1799, the little temple of Saint Helena was rebuilt in 1833, and the new organ of the choir was inaugurated in 1848. With the Unification of Read more [...]

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    Oratorio dei Santi Rocco e Sebastiano

    Oratorio dei Santi Rocco e Sebastiano (the Oratory of Saints Roch and Sebastian) is a small place of worship located in the beautiful seaside village of Riomaggiore. The oratory is built in a panoramic position next to the Castle of Riomaggiore, on the ridge that separates the Rio Maggiore valley, where the village rises.   SHORT HISTORY The Oratory of San Rocco was built in 1480 as a sign of gratitude for the end of the plague that killed almost half the population of the village. According to some people, the oratory was built almost a century later.   ARCHITECTURE The small building, with very simple architectural forms, is preceded by a portico. The interior, consisting of a single room covered by a lowered barrel vault and decorated with devotional frescoes, takes light from small windows splayed in the thickness of the walls. On the baroque altar there is a triptych with the Virgin and Child between Saints Roch and Sebastian.   HOW TO GET THERE The Oratory of San Rocco is about 450 meters away from the Riomaggiore train station, or about 8-10 minutes on foot. Depending on the route you choose to reach the oratory, you may encounter Read more [...]

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    Church of San Pietro

    The Church of San Pietro is an ancient church dedicated to Saint Peter, built on a rocky edge in Portovenere, facing the beautiful Gulf of Poets.   SHORT HISTORY The original church was founded on the ancient remains of a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Venus Erycina, and was consecrated in 1198. The black and white bands on the walls were added by the Genoese in the 13th century, presumably between 1256 and 1277. The church lost its parochial title at the end of the 14th century, in favor of the Church of San Lorenzo, and was officiated by the secular clergy until 1798. In 1494, the church was affected by the attacks of the Aragonese, and later, during the Napoleonic era, was used as a battery to defend the Gulf of La Spezia. The church underwent a significant restoration work between 1929 and 1934.   ARCHITECTURE The original church is a work in the Syriac tradition of the 5th century, with a rectangular plan and a semicircular apse. Two round arches connect this space with the newer church. The latter has a structural wooden roof and the presbytery is divided into three chapels, covered with ogival and cross Read more [...]

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    Church of San Lorenzo

    The Church of San Lorenzo is a religious building dedicated to Saint Lawrence, located in a dominant position on a hill overlooking the village of Portovenere, close to the Castello Doria. The church is also known today as the Sanctuary of the White Madonna (Santuario della Madonna Bianca), the White Madonna being the patron saint of Portovenere.   SHORT HISTORY According to some historical sources, a first church was erected here in Romanesque style starting with 1098, on a place where, in ancient times, there was probably a temple dedicated to Jupiter. The church was consecrated in 1130 by Pope Innocent II. At the end of the 14th century, the Church of San Lorenzo inherited the parochial title from the Church of San Pietro. In 1340, a fire damaged the church and, in 1494, the building was partially destroyed by the incursion of the Aragonese. For these reasons, the church underwent restoration works between 1494 and 1582. These interventions consisted in the replacement of the black Portoro marble columns with white marble columns, the demolition of the presbytery’s nave tower and its replacement with an octagonal dome, the reconstruction of the bell tower next to the apse and the replacement Read more [...]

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    Church of the Immaculate Conception

    The Church of the Immaculate Conception (Chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione) is a beautiful church in Sestri Levante, located on an elevated position to the east of Baia del Silenzio.   SHORT HISTORY The first Capuchin friars arrived in the village in 1609, and settled right in the center of Sestri Levante. In 1640, they built a church with a conventual structure attached, the today’s complex of the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli. The urbanization of the town in the following years, which no longer allowed the friars proper isolation from the population, led them to choose a more isolated location on the hill located east of the Bay of Silence. The construction of the new complex began in 1683 and ended in 1688, the year of the transfer of the order to the new convent. The former complex was sold in 1686 to the Secular Priests of San Pietro in Vincoli. In the agreement signed with the Seculars, it was agreed that any work of art and furnishings should remain the property of the Capuchins. The property of the convent was managed directly by the friars until 1866 when, for unknown reasons, the church and the convent were sold to Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth

    The Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth is a beautiful church in Sestri Levante, located in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, near the wonderful Baia del Silenzio.   SHORT HISTORY The presence of a small chapel dedicated to Saint Mary of Nazareth is attested on this place as early as 1368. In 1604, the building of a new church began, supervised by the architect Gio Batta Carbone, who will finish the work almost 12 years later, in 1616. The church inherited the title of co-cathedral of the diocese of Brugnato from the pre-existing Church of San Nicolò, and was the residence of the bishops of the diocese from the 16th to the 18th century. In the first half of the 19th century, Giambattista Prato restructured the facade of the church, also adding a neoclassical pronaos.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The interior has a structure with three naves divided by square pillars with pilasters on which rounded arches rest. The decorations are dated between the 18th and 19th centuries. The central nave has a barrel vault with lunettes, a raised presbytery and a semicircular apse. In the side aisles there are several side chapels with small cross vaults. The high altar with polychrome Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni Battista

    The Church of San Giovanni Battista (Church of St. John the Baptist) is one of the most important churches in Matera, located outside the walls of the historical center of the city, in Piazza San Giovanni.   SHORT HISTORY A church was documented on this place since 1204, under the title of Santa Maria Nuova. The church belonged to the Benedictine monks, who abandoned it in 1212. Between 1230 and 1233, the Archbishop Andrea built a new church for the Augustinian nuns arrived in Matera from Palestine in 1198, and hosted for a while in the rupestrian Monastery of Madonna delle Virtù. After 1412, the nuns left the rule of St. Augustine to take that of St. Dominic, and the convent changed its title to Santa Maria dell’Annunziata. The church was abandoned in 1480, during the War of Otranto, because its position outside the city walls was too risky for the nuns. In 1610, the main facade of the church was incorporated into the adjacent hospital building, and the current facade is, actually, its right side. The church was reopened as a place of worship in 1695 by the Spanish Archbishop Antonio De Los Ryos y Colminarez, and dedicated to Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Peter and Paul

    The Church of Saints Peter and Paul (Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo), commonly known as the Church of San Pietro Caveoso, is a church in Matera, located in the southern ancient district of the city, Sasso Caveoso.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1218, but undergone numerous changes and renovations over the centuries, and many of its original features were lost in time. In the 17th century, the church was completely renovated and the current facade was built. At the same time, the bell tower was raised and the interior of the church was enlarged, with the addition of the side chapels. In 1706, the church was re-consecrated, as indicated on a plaque, and new improvements were made. The cusp was added on the bell tower, the interior was covered with stucco and decorations, and a wooden false ceiling was placed under the tufa roof.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Baroque facade presents, in the lower part, three portals with a simple frame. Above each of them, there are semi-circular niches containing statues. Above the central portal, there is the Madonna of Mercy, St. Paul the Apostle above the portal on the right and St. Peter the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giuseppe

    The Church of San Giuseppe is a beautiful church in Taormina, dedicated to Saint Joseph. The church, built in Baroque style in the second half of the 17th century, stands near the famous Torre dell’Orologio, dominating the main square of the town, Piazza IX Aprile.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built after 1650 as the seat of the Confraternity of the Souls in Purgatory. On the facade of the church and also inside, there are numerous references to the confraternity: inscriptions, coats of arms, details of sculptures, bas-reliefs, mottos and allegorical figures. In 1919, the church was given to the Fathers of the Salesian Order, present in Taormina since 1911. The order enriched the church with new sculptures and thematic frescoes. In Autumn 2015, water infiltrations and humidity caused by heavy rain determined the collapse of the ceiling, and the church was closed for consolidation and restoration works.   ARCHITECTURE A majestic double staircase leads to the church, and both the stairs and the porch in front of the building are fenced with a magnificent stone balustrade. The facade has a large central portal that leads into the church, and two small side portals, of which the right one Read more [...]