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.

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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    St. Mark’s Basilica

    St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) is the Cathedral of Venice, located in the beautiful St. Mark’s Square, in the sestiere (district) of San Marco.   SHORT HISTORY A first church dedicated to Saint Mark was built in 828 by Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio next to the Doge’s Palace, to house the relics of the Saint stolen, according to tradition, from Alexandria, Egypt, by two Venetian merchants. This church replaced the previous Palatine chapel dedicated to the Byzantine Saint Theodore, built in correspondence with the current Piazzetta dei Leoncini, north of the current Basilica di San Marco. The church, consecrated in 832, was destroyed by fire during the revolt of 976 against Doge Candiano IV, and was rebuilt in 978 by Doge Pietro I Orseolo. The current Basilica dates back to 1063, and was begun by Doge Domenico Contarini and continued by Domenico Selvo and Vitale Falier. The consecration of the Basilica took place in 1094. The golden mosaic decoration of the interior was completed at the end of the 12th century, while the narthex (atrium) which surrounds the entire western arm of the church was built in the first half of the 13th century. Also in the 13th century, Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua

    The Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua is the most important Catholic church in Padua and one of the largest in the world. The church, dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, is visited every year by over 6.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the most revered shrines in the Christian world. Saint Anthony of Padua was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised in Lisbon, and died in Padua on June 13, 1231. He was one of the most quickly canonized saints in church history.   SHORT HISTORY In the Middle Ages, this place was located in a peripheral area of the city of Padua. Here, there was the small Church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, where Saint Anthony stayed for over a year between 1229 and 1231. When Saint Anthony died on June 13, 1231, his body was transfered to this small church and buried there, following his desire. Soon, many miraculous phenomena were recorded around his grave and pilgrims began to arrive first from the nearby districts and then from beyond the Alps. The canonical process took place in the Cathedral of Spoleto on May 30, 1232, where Pope Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore

    Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore is a magnificent church in Verona, dedicated to Saint Zeno, an early Christian Bishop of the city. One of the Romanesque masterpieces in Italy, the church develops on three levels, and the current structure dates back to the 11th century.   SHORT HISTORY It is believed that Saint Zeno of Verona died between the years 372 and 380, and tradition has it that he was buried near the place where the basilica rises today. A first church was built in his honor above his tomb, and by 589, the structure was already restored and enlarged. At the beginning of the 9th century, Pepin of Italy, King of the Lombards, decided to build a larger and more beautiful church, and that the body of the old one to be transformed into a crypt. The consecration of the new building took place on December 8, 806, while on May 21 of the following year, the body of Saint Zeno was moved to the crypt. It seems that the church suffered considerable damage during the Hungarian invasions that took place between 899 and 933, and the city decided to rebuilt it. The reconstruction was commissioned by Bishop Raterio, Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro

    The Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro is the Cathedral of Bergamo, dedicated to Saint Alexander, the patron saint of the city. The Cathedral is located in the historical center of the city – Città Alta, in the small but beautiful Piazza del Duomo, near Palazzo della Ragione and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, a church in Romanesque style was built here, on the site of a paleochristian place of worship dating back to the 5th century. The church was dedicated to San Vincenzo (Saint Vincent of Saragossa). Around the middle of the 15th century, the bishop Giovanni Barozzi decided to build a larger church, entrusting the project to the Florentine architect Filarete. On May 3, 1459, the first stone was laid, and in 1467 the first chapel on the left side was completed and dedicated to Saint Catherine and Saint Jerome. However, after a couple of years, the works suffered an abrupt interruption due to the death of Filarete and to the simultaneous election of bishop Barozzi as Patriarch of Venice. In 1561, the Church of Sant’Alessandro in Colonna was demolished for the construction of the Venetian Walls. The relics of the saint were Read more [...]

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    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 site 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. To make room for the new church, both 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 Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of the Madonna della Bruna

    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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    Cathedral of Sant’Agata

    The Cathedral of Sant’Agata is the Cathedral of Catania, dedicated to the martyr Saint Agatha, located in the main square of the city, Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY The church had a tumultuous history, being repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt after the earthquakes occurred in the area. A first church was built around 1086 on the ruins of the Achilliane Baths dating back to Roman times. On February 4, 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 to the structure. In 1693, the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto destroyed the Cathedral almost completely, leaving only the apse and the facade. The bell tower was also put to the ground. The reconstruction of the church was made during 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 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. On June 7, 1390, the first stone was laid in a solemn procession. The project was given to the architect Antonio di Vicenzo, who consulted on the design of the church with the 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 material gathered for the construction of the church. In 1507, the architect Arduino Arriguzzi was comissioned to continue the work. Arriguzzi was sent to Florence to see and study the dome built by Brunelleschi for the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. On April 30, 1514, the 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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    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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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Siena, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, is located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza del Duomo. A great exemple of Romanesque-Gothic architecture, the Cathedral of Siena is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that the current Cathedral of Siena 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 documented information about the building of the Cathedral dates back to 1226, when the first costs and contracts related to the construction were recorded. Probably, the works began 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 Read more [...]

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    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 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 construction of the 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 was completed 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 on the facade were 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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    Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly known as the Duomo of Florence, is one of the most famous churches in Italy and the world. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the world, while today is the third in Europe, after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary in Milan.   SHORT HISTORY In 1294, the government of Florence ordered the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower), on the site of the city’s second cathedral dedicated to Santa Reparata. In 1296, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio was comissioned to design the cathedral, but he died only a few years later. In 1334, Giotto di Bondone was appointed as the architect of the cathedral, and he started the building of the bell-tower. Three years later, Giotto died. Starting with 1337, the construction was supervised by Andrea Pisano, until 1348, when the Black Death halted the works. Francesco Talenti, who took Pisano’s place in 1349, altered Arnolfo’s design, and completed the bell-tower in 1359. After 1366, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini joined him. In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi 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 of Santa Croce

    Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a beautiful Franciscan church located in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence. The church is the burial place of Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest sculptors of all time. Besides Michelangelo, inside the church are buried many famous people, including the scientist Galileo Galilei, the politician and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, the writer Vittorio Alfieri, the poet Ugo Foscolo and the composer Gioachino Rossini. Due to this fact, the Basilica of Santa Croce is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).   SHORT HISTORY According to legend, in 1211, Saint Francis of Assisi arrived in Florence. On a little island created by the Arno River, there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross, which was donated to Saint Francis, and from which the current church borrowed the name. The building of the church started in 1294, after a project elaborated probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of that time. During its construction, many great artists worked here, such as Giotto di Bondone, Taddeo and Agnolo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Filippo Brunelleschi and Michelozzo. Due to floods and Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano

    The Basilica of the Most Holy Savior and of the Saints John the Baptist and Evangelist in the Lateran, commonly called Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, is the mother church of all the Catholic churches in Rome and the entire world. It is the highest ranking of the four papal major basilicas, receiving the title of archbasilica.   SHORT HISTORY Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I, and dedicated to the Most Holy Savior. In the ninth century, Pope Sergio III dedicated it to St. John the Baptist, while in the twelfth century, Pope Lucio II dedicated it to St. John the Evangelist. At the end of the 13th century, great works were undertaken under Bonifacio VIII, with the frescoes by Giotto and by Cimabue, today lost. In the 14th century, with the shift of papal power from Rome to Avignon, the church will be abandoned, and after the return of the papacy to Rome, due to the poor condition of the Basilica, the popes will prefer the Vatican. In the 18th century, the facade of the Basilica was finally completed with the new prospect of Alessandro Galilei. On the occasion of 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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    Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta is a Catholic place of worship in Riomaggiore, located in Via Santuario.   SHORT HISTORY The oratory, the seat of the Confraternity of the Disciplinanti dell’Assunta, was built during the 16th century.   ART The oratory preserves a wooden statue of the Madonna delle Catene (Madonna of the Chains), in memory of the inhabitants who, over the centuries, suffered raids and kidnappings in the Saracen raids, and a tempera triptych depicting the Madonna with Child and Saints John the Baptist and Dominic.   HOW TO GET THERE The Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta is located about 800 meters away from the Riomaggiore railway station. The closest bus stop is Riomaggiore Park, located about 70 meters away, on the local bus line.

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    Church of San Salvatore Al Monte

    The Church of San Salvatore al Monte is a Catholic church in Florence, located on the hill known as Monte delle Croci, not far from the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 15th century, on this site was a Franciscan chapel. The chapel was enlarged in the first half of the century, and the works were completed around 1442. In the last decades of the 15th century, the church was renovated by the architect Simone del Pollaiolo, also known as Il Cronaca, by the will of the rich merchant Castello Quaratesi. The renovation started in 1499, and was completed in 1504. During the Siege of 1529, the church was badly damaged, and throughout the 16th century was left in a state of neglect. In 1665, the friars definitively left San Salvatore al Monte. In 1875, Piazzale Michelangelo was built nearby.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, very simple and framed by the typical Tuscan cypresses, has plastered surfaces interrupted only by the portal and the gable windows. Inside, the church has a single nave with five chapels on each side, marked by a double order of stone pilasters in Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santo Spirito

    The Basilica di Santo Spirito (Basilica of the Holy Spirit) is a Renaissance-style church in Florence, located in the Oltrarno district, in Piazza Santo Spirito.   SHORT HISTORY In 1250, Spinello Accolti and Omodeo di Guido donated to the Augustinian friar Aldobrandino a house and two vineyards in the Oltrarno area for the construction of a church, which was originally dedicated, in 1252, to the Virgin Mary, to the Holy Spirit and to all the Saints. In 1269, a community of Augustinian friars settled permanently in Florence, and began on this site the construction of a church dedicated to the Holy Spirit. Starting with 1397, the Municipality provided funds for the construction of a new basilica, but the work began only in 1434, when the project was entrusted to Filippo Brunelleschi. After the death of Brunelleschi in 1446, the construction site passed into the hands of his three disciples, Antonio Manetti, Giovanni da Gaiole and Salvi d’Andrea. In 1471, a serious fire destroyed many works of art in the church. Salvi d’Andrea built the dome between 1479 and 1481, and the internal facade between 1483 and 1487. Consecrated in 1481, the basilica was completed in 1487. Giuliano da Sangallo’s sacristy Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Lorenzo

    The Basilica of San Lorenzo is a beautiful church in Florence, located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza di San Lorenzo.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the church was built during the 4th century outside the walls of the ancient city. In 393, it was consecrated to the martyr Lawrence, in the presence of Saint Ambrose and Saint Zenobius. For the next 300 years, San Lorenzo was the Cathedral of Florence, before giving up the status to the Church of Santa Reparata, where the remains of San Zanobi, the first bishop of Florence, were solemnly transferred. In 1059, the church was enlarged and rededicated, on the initiative of the bishop Gherardo di Borgogna, when he became pope under the name of Niccolò II. In 1418, the abbot Matteo Dolfini obtained permission to demolish some houses to enlarge the transept of the church. Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, a wealthy banker, financed the construction and named Filippo Brunelleschi to direct the works. The sacristy was finished in 1428, but then the works were stopped. After 1441, Cosimo de’ Medici, Giovanni’s son, assumed the entire burden of the construction, and the direction of the works passed to Michelozzo, Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Domenico

    The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as Basilica Cateriniana, is a Gothic church in Siena, located in Piazza San Domenico. The church contains the head-relic of Saint Catherine of Siena, placed in a splendid Renaissance chapel.   SHORT HISTORY The Dominicans arrived in Siena in 1220, a year before the death of their founder, Dominic de Guzmán. In 1225, they received a piece of land on the Camporegio Hill, and built a church there between 1226 and 1265. In the 14th century, the complex was enlarged in Gothic style, and took its current appearance. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the church underwent numerous alterations in Baroque style, such as the reconstruction of the side altars. After the earthquake of 1798, the bell tower, already in ruins, was truncated to its present level, and equipped with the current crenellated crowning. The last intervention dates back to 1941, when the Baroque decorations were removed, the ancient Gothic forms were partially restored, and the stained glass windows with the Stories of Saint Catherine by Bruno Cassinari were added.   ARCHITECTURE The basilica has a simple but massive appearance, typical of the mendicant orders. Suggestive is the view of the rear side Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Francesco

    The Basilica of San Francesco is a Romanesque church in Siena, located in the homonymous square. Dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, the church is officiated by the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.   SHORT HISTORY The Franciscans arrived in Siena shortly after the death of Saint Francis in 1226. Between 1228 and 1255, a first church was erected on this site. The current church was built between 1326 and 1475 in Gothic style, enlarging the pre-existing church. In 1655, a fire damaged the church, leaving it in ruins for over two centuries. Between 1763 and 1765, the current bell tower was built, based on a project by Paolo Posi. In 1855, following the suppression of religious orders carried out by Napoleon, the convent became the property of the Archdiocese of Siena, which made it the seat of the Archiepiscopal Seminary. The church was restored in Neo-Gothic style at the end of the 19th century. The works were entrusted to Giuseppe Partini for the interior, and to Vittorio Mariani and Gaetano Ceccarelli for the exterior. In 1968, the ancient Convent adjacent to the Basilica was purchased by the University of Siena, where the Department of Economics, Politics and Statistics is Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Inviolata

    The Church of Santa Maria Inviolata is a Baroque church in Riva del Garda, located in Largo Guglielmo Marconi. The church is the most important architectural monument in Riva del Garda, and one of the most beautiful churches in Trentino.   SHORT HISTORY The church was desired by Gianangelo Gaudenzio Madruzzo, governor of Riva and Arco, and by his wife, Alfonsina Gonzaga. The construction began in 1603 after a design by Pier Maria Bagnadore. The church was consecrated in 1636, and the works were completed in 1639. A few years after the construction of the church, a convent was built nearby, where the monks belonging to the Order of the Poor Hermits of San Girolamo lived. After the death of her husband, Alfonsina Gonzaga oversaw the completion of the decoration of the church and the construction of the convent.   ARCHITECTURE The Church of Santa Maria Inviolata has a square-plan and an octagonal upper part, with a slightly detached bell-tower. The entire structure is austere and dominated by rectilinear geometric lines. The church has three classical portals with architraves, with columns placed to support the triangular pediments, each surmounted by a circular window. In the upper part, there are eight Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco Saverio

    The Church of San Francesco Saverio is a Baroque church in Trento, located in Via Roma, about 300 meters away from Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of San Vigilio.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built by the Society of Jesus (Compagnia di Gesù) between 1708 and 1711. The structure incorporated previous buildings, such as Palazzo delle Costede, of which the remains are still visible on the left side of the main facade, and a medieval tower. After the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773, the church was left in a state of neglect, until the French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte transformed it into a powder magazine. The church underwent a first restoration in 1895, long after the rehabilitation of the order. The work was commissioned to Hans Rabensteiner.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade is characterised by a large arched window, on the sides of which, separated by two orders of pilasters in red marble, are the statues of the Jesuit Saints Francis Borgia (bottom left), Francis Regis (top left), Aloysius Gonzaga (top right), Ignatius of Loyola (bottom right) and Saint Francis Xavier (on the main portal’s tympanum). The church has a rectangular plan with a Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Vigilio

    The Cathedral of San Vigilio is the Cathedral of Trento, located in Piazza del Duomo, adjacent to Palazzo Pretorio. The church is dedicated to Saint Vigilius, the first bishop of Trento and the patron saint of the town.   SHORT HISTORY The Cathedral was built over the remains of a 4th-century Christian Basilica dedicated to San Vigilio, where the Saint was buried at the beginning of the 5th century. In the 11th century, the prince-bishop Uldaric II began the rebuilding of the Cathedral, completed at the beginning of the 12th century by the bishop Altemanno. At the beginning of the 13th century, the bishop Federico Vanga decided to completely rebuild the Cathedral in Romanesque style, and commissioned the master builder Adamo d’Arogno with the construction of the church. The construction began in 1212, but the works were stopped in 1218, on Vanga’s death. In 1236, Adamo d’Arogno died, and the works were continued by his son, Enrico di Fono d’Arogno. Between 1305 and 1307, Egidio da Campione directed the works by creating the southern side of the Cathedral and the lower part of the bell towers. In 1321, Egidio’s son, Bonino da Campione, built the rose window on the main Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

    The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is a church in Trento, located about 200 meters away from Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of San Vigilio.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this site in the second half of the 5th century. The church remained in use until the 11th century, when the need for a new church appeared. The new church, smaller than the previous one, was characterised by a semicircular apse. For the construction of the church, the old one was demolished and reused as bulding material. After 1290, a third church was erected in place of the previous one, this time characterized by only two naves ending in as many symmetrical apses. In 1520, by the will of the cardinal Bernardo Clesio, one of the most important historical figures on a political and religious level of the 16th century, the current church was finally started, on a project by the architect Antonio Medaglia. On December 12, 1545, the church hosted the first solemn procession of the Council of Trent. Between 1899 and 1901, the church was restored, and the Renaissance facade was modified. After extensive archaeological excavations and restorations, the church was reopened to Read more [...]

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    Church of the Madonna della Fontana

    The Church of the Madonna della Fontana is a church in Malcesine, located in Via Gardesana, about 1 kilometer away from Castello Scaligero. The church is called della Fontana (of the Fountain), because of a spring located nearby.   SHORT HISTORY In 1532, a small oratory dedicated to the Virgin was built on this site by the Municipality of Malcesine. At the beginning of the 17th century, the need for a larger church appeared. The new church was completed and opened for worship in 1626. On July 25, 1797, the French of Napoleon Bonaparte closed the church, removed the registers and confiscated all the assets. In a state of neglect, the church was used as a warehouse during the First and the Second World War. After it was restored in 1959, the church was reopened for worship, and today is used only on specific holydays.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is plain, covered with yellow plaster. In the lower part of the facade, delimited from the upper one by a stone strip, there is a beautiful Baroque portal, surmounted by a tympanum and a coat of arms, flanked on the sides by two rectangular windows. In the upper Read more [...]

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    Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

    Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Basilica of Saints John and Paul), known in the Venetian dialect as San Zanipolo, is the largest church in Venice. The church is located in the homonymous square (Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo), in the Castello district (sestiere).   SHORT HISTORY According to legend, the origins of the basilica are connected to a vision of doge Jacopo Tiepolo, who, in 1234, donated a piece of land to the Dominican friars, on which the structure will be built. The church was immediately erected, and dedicated to the Roman martyrs of the fourth century, John and Paul. The Basilica was enlarged in the 14th century by two Dominican friars, Benvenuto of Bologna and Nicolò of Imola. The structure was completed in 1368, but it was solemnly cosecrated only on November 14, 1430. In 1807, during the Napoleonic era, the Dominicans were removed from their convent, which was transformed into a hospital, and the church was deprived of numerous works of art.   ARCHITECTURE The church has a salient facade in Gothic style, characterised by a large central rose window and two smaller lateral ones. The lower order of the facade is characterized by six niches, which Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Formosa

    The Church of Santa Maria Formosa, formally known as the Church of the Purification of Mary, is a church in Venice, located in the sestiere of Castello, in Campo Santa Maria Formosa.   SHORT HISTORY According to legend, a first structure on this site was built in 639 by San Magno of Oderzo, to whom the Virgin appeared, asking him to build a church dedicated to her. However, the oldest written documentation about the church dates back to 1060. The ancient church was renovated in 864 and, after it was damaged by a fire, again in 1106. After a long period of neglect, in 1492, the church was rebuilt in Renaissance style by Mauro Codussi. The architect died in 1504, without finishing his work. Later, starting with 1542, the Cappello family financed the construction of both facades. The first, overlooking Rio del Mondo Novo, is in Classical style, while the second, facing the square, is in Baroque style. During the 17th century, following the damage caused by an earthquake, the Piedmontese merchant Turin Tonon financed a restoration of the church. In addition to the reinforcement of the facades, the restoration included works on the dome and the decoration of the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Simeone Profeta

    The Church of San Simeone Profeta is a church in Venice, located in the sestiere (district) of Santa Croce. The church is also known as San Simeone Grande (large), to distinguish it from the nearby Church of San Simeone Piccolo (small), which before the 18th-century reconstruction was smaller.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 967 at the behest of the Ghisi, Adoldi and Briosi families. Originally, it must have been a very modest structure, built of straw and wood. After a disastrous fire, it was rebuilt in stone in 1150, and made the parish church. Between 1807 and 1810, under the Napoleonic rule, the church joined the parish of the nearby San Simeon Piccolo.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE It is believed that the facade of the church was designed in Neoclassical style by the Venetian architect Giorgio Massari in 1756. The facade is simple, with two columns in Composite order dividing the central part of the structure from the two short lateral bodies, surmounted by two volutes that accompany the slope of the roof. At the center of the facade, the portal opens between two pillars, with two large windows above and a dedication plaque between them. At Read more [...]

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    Church of the Madonna dell’Indirizzo

    The Church of the Madonna dell’Indirizzo is a Neoclassical church in Acireale, located in the northern part of the town, in Via Cervo, close to Villa Belvedere.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1709 at the behest of the Nicolosi family. The current Neoclassical facade with a semicircular pronaos was built in 1812 on a design by Sebastiano Ittar, who was also responsible for Villa Nicolosi, which stands on a small hill to the left of the church.   ART Inside the church, we can find the beautiful painting Santa Venera and Sant’Agata by Giacinto Platania. Platania was the greatest painter of Acireale during the 17th century.   HOW TO GET THERE The Church of the Madonna dell’Indirizzo is located about 3 kilometers away from the Acireale railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza Indirizzo, about 100 meters away, on the bus Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4. However, the buses have a very low frequency in Acireale, it’s difficult to find the timetables and often there are delays and sudden cancellations of journeys, so the best solution to get to the railway station is a taxi.

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    Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata

    The Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata is the Cathedral of Acireale, located in the beautiful Piazza del Duomo, next to the Basilica of Santi Pietro e Paolo. The church is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but also to Santa Venera, patron saint of Acireale. The relics of the Saint are kept in a magnificent chapel of the right transept.   SHORT HISTORY A first structure on this site was built during the 15th century, and it consisted of a single chapel with three walls, where a painting of the Annunciation was venerated. In the 16th century, the chapel was demolished, and a new, larger church was built, with aisles and a bell tower. The construction of the current Cathedral was approved by the Municipality of Acireale on October 8, 1597, and the work started the following year. The whole complex undergone continuous extensions and modifications since 1598, until it reached its present appearance in 1889. In 1693, during the earthquake of Val di Noto, the structure suffered significant damage. The vaults of the transept collapsed, the entire roof was compromised, the dome cracked, and the bell tower damaged.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo

    The Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo is a church in Acireale, located at the crossroads of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Galatea, close to the historical center of the town.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built before 1554. The date was deduced after the discovery of a plaque with the sepulchral inscription of Petra Castagna, nephew of Pope Urban VII, who died on September 1, 1554, and was buried there. During the pontificate of Clement VIII, the convent was closed. In 1621, during the pontificate of Gregory XV, after the Carmelites of Catania began the reform of the Carmelite Order, the convent and the church were renovated and reopened. The earthquake of January 11, 1693, caused the partial collapse of the structures. The terrible event was followed by the reconstruction of the convent and the enlargement of the church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a Baroque facade completed in 1786, bordered by pilasters for the entire height of the structure, decorated with columns and divided into three superimposed orders of decreasing dimensions. In the first order, a pair of Ionic columns with Corinthian capitals support a massive architrave that surmounts the only portal of the Read more [...]

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    Collegiate Basilica of San Sebastiano

    The Collegiate Basilica of San Sebastiano is a Baroque church in Acireale, dedicated to Saint Sebastian, located in Via Vittorio Emanuele II, about 100 meters away from Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata.   SHORT HISTORY During the Aragonese period, the ancient Church of San Sebastiano, built after the plague epidemic of 1466, was the main place of worship in the area. Between 1609 and 1644, from public funds provided by the Municipality and donations from the faithful, a new church was built about 150 meters further north, on the same Via Vittorio Emanuele II, and dedicated to the same Saint Sebastian. On July 13, 1652, the old Church of San Sebastiano, following an agreement between the Confraternity of San Sebastiano and the Confraternity of Sant’Antonio, changed its dedication to Saint Anthony of Padua. In 1693, the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto damaged the church. The Basilica was extensively renovated between 1699 and 1705, receving its current appearance. The church was elevated to a collegiate church by the papal bull of November 20, 1924. In December 1990, Pope John Paul II elevated it to the dignity of a minor basilica.   ARCHITECTURE The structure is Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santi Pietro e Paolo

    Basilica of Santi Pietro e Paolo is a Baroque church in Acireale, located in Piazza del Duomo, near the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata. The church is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul.   SHORT HISTORY A first church on this site dates back to the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century, the idea of building a new, larger church, appeared. The new church, with a single nave, a large sacristy and a side chapel, was completed in 1635. During the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto of 1693, the church was badly damaged. The chapel, the sacristy and the adjacent Chapel of Jesus and Mary collapsed. The reconstruction began in 1740, on a design by Pietro Paolo Vasta. In 1765, the facade was completed by Paolo Guarrera. In 1790, under the direction of Francesco Di Paola Patanè, the interior was renovated, replacing the wooden roof with a stone masonry vault. The church was transformed into a collegiate church in 1924, and was elevated to the rank of a minor pontifical basilica in 1933, by Pope Pius XI.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has an elegant facade in white stone from Syracuse, characterized by the superimposition Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata is a church in Catania, located in Piazza San Francesco d’Assisi, about 300 meters away from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY In ancient times, this site housed a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva. In 1254, the Franciscan Order settled in Catania, near the Church of San Michele, adjacent to the Ursino Castle. In 1260, the Franciscan friars moved to the current place, where the old Church of Speranza stood. In 1329, Eleanor of Anjou, Queen of Sicily and the wife of King Frederick II of Aragon, promoted the construction of a convent and church dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. Eleanor of Anjou was buried here in 1343. In 1693, the terrible eartquake of Val di Noto destroyed the church almost completely, and the structure was rebuilt in Baroque style in the following century.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The small churchyard is preceded by a staircase of Etna lava stone, with a wrought iron gate and a balustrade with four pillars that support the imposing statues of San Giuseppe da Copertino, Sant’Agata, Santa Chiara d’Assisi and San Bonaventura. The facade of the church, built around 1854, is decorated by Read more [...]

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    Church of San Biagio

    The Church of San Biagio, also known as the Church of Sant’Agata alla Fornace, is a Neoclassical church in Catania, located in Piazza Stesicoro, a few meters away from the Roman Amphitheater of Catania.   SHORT HISTORY Originally, there were two churches on this site, one dedicated to San Biagio (Saint Blaise), and the other dedicated to Sant’Agata (Saint Agatha), built in the 11th century atop the furnace where the Saint was martyred. After the terrible earthquake of 1693, which destroyed almost completely the city of Catania, a new church was built and the two parishes joined.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church was built in Neoclassical style by the architect Antonino Battaglia. The facade is characterised by four columns in Corinthian style, supporting a triangular tympanum. The interior of the church has a single nave. The main altar is decorated with scrolls and columns and with the statues of Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Mary Magdalene. On the right wall, there are the Chapel of San Biagio and the Chapel of Sant’Andrea Apostolo, while on the left wall we can find the Chapel of the Holy Family and the Chapel of Saint John of Nepomuk. Read more [...]

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    Church of Montevergine

    The Church of Montevergine is a Baroque church in Noto, located in Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, about 150 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church is situated at the upper end of Via Corrado Nicolaci, the street which hosts every year the famous Infiorata di Noto.   SHORT HISTORY The church was begun in 1695 on a project by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra, and was completed and opened for worship in 1762.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a concave facade, without Baroque decorations, characterized by the measured geometry of its twin bell-towers and by a short staircase leading to the portal, bordered by two quadrangular columns. Inside, the church has a single nave, surrounded by Corinthian half-columns that give the whole interior a classical style. The 18th-century majolica floor of the nave is still intact. Of particular value is the Baroque central altar, in polychrome marble, surmounted by an artistic ciborium, rich in decorations. The paintings in the vault and in the four side altars are attributed to Costantino Carasi. One of them, the Deposition, is dated back to 1712, and the others depict the Marriage of the Virgin, the Madonna of the Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agata

    The Church of Sant’Agata is a Baroque church in Noto dedicated to Saint Agatha, located in Via Raffaele Trigona, about 350 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church, now deconsecrated, was the only church dedicated to Saint Agatha – the Martyr Saint of Catania, in the entire province of Syracuse.   SHORT HISTORY Although is the oldest church in Noto, this does not mean very old, because the whole city was rebuilt after the terrible earthquake of 1693. The church was built at the beginning of the 18th century on a project by Rosario Gagliardi, and consecrated in 1710.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church stands on top of a scenic staircase, with an interesting parvis paved with lava stone and river pebbles at its base. The facade of the church has an elegant rectangular shape, and is characterized by its beautiful portal. The portal is surmounted by a triangular architrave framed by a double order of Ionic columns that support the central entablature. The central window, framed by precious garlands carved in bas-relief, is surmounted by a decorated tympanum. The interior, with a single nave, has the vault decorated with polychrome stuccoes, together with the wonderful Read more [...]

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    Church of the Madonna del Carmine

    The Church of the Madonna del Carmine (Our Lady of Carmel) is a Baroque church in Noto, located in Via Ruggero Settimo, about 500 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built by Corradino Randazzo and Vincenzo Sortino on a project by Rosario Gagliardi. The building was completed in 1743.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, slightly concave towards the inside, has a single portal, surmounted by a large coat of arms of the Carmelites, supported by two angels. Above the coat of arms, there is a large semicircular architrave. The entablature is supported by four pillars in Corinthian style. The second order has a central window, with two pillars on the sides. The lateral pinnacles are decorated with geometric figures carved in bas-relief. The third order is represented by a bell-gable consisting of three arched niches surmounted by pinnacles. Inside, the church has a single nave decorated with fine polychrome stuccoes and frescoed geometric and floral figures. On both sides of the nave, there are splendid Baroque altars containing beautiful works of art, including 18th-century paintings. The most beautiful part of the church is undoubtedly the presbytery, with the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Domenico

    The Church of San Domenico is a church in Noto, located in via Matteo Raeli, overlooking Piazza XVI Maggio, about 280 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church, dedicated to Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order, is one of the most important and best preserved examples of Baroque architecture in Noto, and one of the most significant masterpieces of the late Baroque in the entire south-eastern Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Domenico was built at the behest of the Dominican friars on a project by the architect Rosario Gagliardi, between 1703 and 1727.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church has two orders, the lower one in Doric style, and the upper in Ionic style. The central part of the facade has a convex shape and protrudes towards the street. The interior, well preserved, is structured on an elongated Greek cross plan, with three naves and five domes richly decorated with stuccoes, and side altars in polychrome marble with 18th-century paintings, among which the Madonna del Rosario by Vito D’Anna stands out. The third altar on the left aisle has a Crucifix and various marble panels with scenes from the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro

    The Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro is a Baroque church dedicated to Saint Lucia, the patron saint of Syracuse. Together with the nearby Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia and the Convent of the Franciscan Friars Minor, the Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro is part of the sanctuary built on the site where the Saint was martyred in 304, during the persecution of the emperor Diocletian.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro was built in 1629 on a project by the architect Giovanni Vermexio, on the site of an ancient church dedicated to Saint Agatha. The works were interrupted when the Duke of Albuquerque considered that the building could represent, from a military point of view, the possible position for an artillery gun, in the event of a siege. The precise orders of the Duke determined the current layout of the church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has the shape of an octagon, but only the four sides overlooking Piazza Santa Lucia have architectural decorations. The corners of the octagon are marked by counter-pillars crowned by Corinthian capitals enriched by exuberant decoration with shells and masks. A large double flight staircase gives access Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia

    The Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia is a church dedicated to Saint Lucia, the patron saint of Syracuse. It is called extra moenia due to its location outside the ancient city walls. Together with the nearby Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro and the Convent of the Franciscan Friars Minor, the Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia is part of the sanctuary built on the site where the Saint was martyred in 304, during the persecution of the emperor Diocletian.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built around the year 1100 by the Normans. From that period, the facade, the portal with the characteristic capitals and the first two orders of the bell tower are preserved. Subsequent additions and rearrangements changed its appearance starting from the 14th century. Other interventions took place during the 17th century, most probably by Giovanni Vermexio, who also built the nearby Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro in 1629. In 1693, the earthquake of Val di Noto caused a lot of damage to the church, forcing necessary reconstruction interventions. Around the same time, the portico attributed to Pompeo Picherali and the last order of the bell tower were added. The portico collapsed in 1970, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni Battista

    The Church of San Giovanni Battista, popularly known as San Giovannello, is a church in Gothic style dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, located in Piazza del Precursore, on the island of Ortygia, in Syracuse.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 14th century on the remains of another early Christian church of the 4th century. Later, the church became a Jewish synagogue. After the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, the building was converted back into a Christian church and used as such until 1915. After the structure was used for a long time as a theater, auditorium and hall for conferences and performances, it was reopened for worship in 2015.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, dating back to 1380, has a beautiful 15th-century portal and a rose window. The roof of the building is completely absent. On the right of the facade, there is a bell-gable without any bells. The larger bell, from the 9th century, was melted during the First World War, and the second bell, smaller, cast at the beginning of the 20th century, was moved in 1920 to the nearby Church of Santa Maria della Concezione. The interior of Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a deconsecrated church in Taormina, located in Piazza IX Aprile, across the square from Torre dell’Orologio.   SHORT HISTORY A first church, the Church of San Sebastiano, was built on this site in 1486, in Gothic style. On September 12, 1530, the church was given to the Order of Saint Augustine, and the Augustinians changed its dedication. As a result of the Royal decree of 1866 for the suppression of religious orders and congregations, the church and the adjacent convent were expropriated and acquired by the Municipality. The complex was used at first as an art gallery, and then as an elementary school. In 1933, the convent became a library, to house the book heritage of the former monasteries of Sant’Agostino, San Domenico and Sant’Antonio of Padua. The library has over 22,000 volumes, of which 2,000 are dedicated only to Sicily. The library collection consists mainly of treatises on theology, philosophy and sciences. In 1981, the entire complex was restored, and since 1985 it was used both as a library and as a multipurpose space for art exhibitions and cultural events.   ARCHITECTURE From the ancient facade of the church, only the small rose window Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria

    The Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria is a Baroque church located on Corso Umberto, in the historical center of Taormina, near Porta Messina.   SHORT HISTORY The Order of Capuchin Friars arrived in Taormina towards the middle of the 16th century, and at the beginning of the 17th century, more precisely on April 27, 1610, bought the old Church of Santa Caterina, located outside the city walls. The new Church of Santa Caterina, located this time inside the city walls, was built in the first half of the 17th century on the ruins of a small Roman theater. During the 20th century, due to a precarious state, the Church of Santa Caterina was closed for about 40 years. The building was renovated and reopened for worship on November 25, 1977.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is delimited by two corner pilasters. The entrance, raised by five steps above street level, is characterized by a central portal in pink Taormina marble with two Ionic columns on high plinths, surmounted by Corinthian capitals. The architrave supports two curled lateral volutes, with small angels above. The niche between the angels houses the statue of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, depicted Read more [...]

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    Church of San Antonio Abate

    The Church of San Antonio Abate is a small church in Taormina, located on the southern edge of the historical center of the town, near Porta Catania.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Antonio Abate was built around the year 1330. After the bombing of 1943, during the Second World War, the church was almost completely destroyed, but it was immediately rebuilt with the stones recovered from the rubble.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The architectural style of the church can be defined as eclectic. On the facade, we can find Byzantine elements, Gothic influences are present in the construction of the portal – clearly visible in the pointed arch above the architrave, and also Baroque elements appear in the small bell-gable placed on top of the left corner of the facade. The portal, built in white limestone, is surmounted by a pointed arch, with a tympanum decorated with small arches. The facade also features two small windows placed on the sides of the portal, and a small stone cross at the top. The church has a single nave, with an arched niche on the left wall decorated with gray Taormina marble, while in the upper part it imitates a Read more [...]

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    Church of San Michele Arcangelo

    The Church of San Michele Arcangelo is a small church in Taormina, dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel, located about 140 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari and Piazza Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Michele was built in Baroque style at the beginning of the 17th century, close to the walls of Palazzo Duchi di Santo Stefano. The church was heavily damaged by the bombings of 1943, during the Second World War, and despite the subsequent restoration from the 1950s, it was reopened for worship only in 2011.   ARCHITECTURE The best proof that the church was built in the 17th century is the Baroque portal on the facade. The beautiful portal has the jambs and the architrave in pink Taormina marble. Above the portal, there is a small rectangular window, surmounted by an iron cross at the top. A bell-gable with two bells is located on the left of the cross. The church have a single nave. The ceiling features exposed wood-beam trusses. Inside the church, there is a small crypt.   HOW TO GET THERE The Church of San Michele Arcangelo is located about 850 meters from Porta Messina, the main Read more [...]