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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    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 eyes are attracted by 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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    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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    Church of Madonna dell’Orto

    The Church of Madonna dell’Orto is a beautiful Gothic church located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built by the religious congregation of Humiliati around the middle of the 14th century, and dedicated to God, to the Blessed Virgin and to Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Because of its weak foundations, the church underwent important restoration works in 1399. In 1414, the Council of Ten, one of the highest governing bodies of the Republic of Venice, granted the church the name of Madonna dell’Orto, which was already popular among the locals. The name came from a miraculous statue of the Madonna, brought to the church from a nearby garden (orto meaning garden in Italian). In 1462, the Humiliati were expelled by a decree of the same council, and the church was assigned to the congregation of the Canons Regular of San Giorgio in Alga, which was suppressed in 1668. The convent of the Madonna dell’Orto passed in 1669 to the Congregation of the Cistercian Monks, and in 1787 came under a public administration. In 1841, the Austrian government of Venice ordered a general restoration at its own expense. The restoration of Read more [...]

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    Church of San Michele in Isola

    The Church of San Michele in Isola is a beautiful church dedicated to Saint Michael, located in Venice, on the island of San Michele, near the cemetery with the same name.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place in 1221, but was destroyed by a fire in 1453. The current church dates back to the second half of the 15th century. More precisely, the church was built between 1468 and 1479 by the great architect Mauro Codussi, the same architect of the Church of San Zaccaria, the Vendramin Calergi Palace and the Clock Tower from the San Marco Square. In 1530, the architect Guglielmo Bergamasco built a hexagonal chapel to the left of the church, known as Cappella Emiliani. In 1560, the famous sculptor and architect Jacopo Sansovino renovated the church and the chapel.   ARCHITECTURE The church has a tripartite facade divided by Ionic pilasters, with two superimposed levels. The lower one is characterized by a smooth ashlar, with a central portal with a triangular tympanum and two high arched windows in correspondence of the aisles. The upper level, included between the Ionic pilasters, has a large oculus, around which are arranged four polychrome marble Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giacomo dall’Orio

    Founded in the 9th century, the Church of San Giacomo dall’Orio is one of the oldest churches in Venice. The church, located in the Santa Croce district, in the Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio, is part of the same parish with the Church of San Stae and the Church of San Zan Degolà.   SHORT HISTORY The church was erected in the 9th century and rebuilt in Byzantine style in 1225 by the noble families Badoer and Da Mula. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the church was remodeled in Gothic style. From this church, the pilgrimages to Santiago di Compostela began, as evidenced by the image of a man carrying a shell placed on the bell tower. The tower dates back to 1225.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The interior is characterized by the coexistence of various architectural styles: the bell tower and the basilica plan with three naves belong to the Byzantine style, while the roof is Gothic and the decorations of the main altar and the central nave are Lombard. On the counter-facade, we can find the organ and, underneath, three 16th-century paintings attributable to Andrea Schiavone: Appeal of the Apostles, Dispute of Jesus with the doctors of the Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Alvise

    The Church of Sant’Alvise is a Gothic church in Venice, located in the Cannaregio district, overlooking the homonymous square. The church is dedicated to Saint Louis of Toulouse, a Neapolitan prince from the House of Anjou canonized in 1317, known in Venice as Sant’Alvise.   SHORT HISTORY The church of Sant’Alvise was built in 1383, together with the nearby convent, by the noblewoman Antonia Venier, after the saint appeared to her in a dream. Later, Antonia Venier retired in the monastery, following the Augustinian rule. At the beginning of the 16th century, other Augustinian nuns were welcomed here, after they escaped from the territories affected by the War of the League of Cambrai. The church underwent a major reconstruction in the 17th century, which largely changed the interior.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church is built in Gothic style, having a basilica plan. The facade, very simple, is delimited by six protruding pilasters, connected by ogival arches. The portal in Istrian stone is enriched by a statue of Sant’Alvise in marble, attributed to Bartolomeo Bon. The bell tower retained its original Gothic appearance of the 14th century. It was built in terracotta, with a pinecone cusp and spiers at the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth

    The Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth, known locally as Chiesa degli Scalzi, is a wonderful church in Venice, located near the Santa Lucia railway station and the beautiful Ponte degli Scalzi. The church is the seat of the religious Order of the Discalced Carmelites (or the Barefoot Carmelites, scalzi meaning barefoot in Italian).   SHORT HISTORY After the Discalced Carmelites settled in Venice in 1633, they asked the architect Baldassare Longhena to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The construction of the edifice began in 1656, funded by the Venetian diplomat Girolamo Cavazza, and was completed in 1689 by Giuseppe Pozzo, seven years after Longhena’s death. The church was consecrated in 1705 and the Order of the Discalced Carmelites used it together with the adjacent convent until the beginning of the 19th century. In 1810, they left the church, returning 30 years later, in 1840. The church of Santa Maria di Nazareth was restored between 1853 and 1862, while only a few years later, with the appearance of the Santa Lucia train station, the convent was demolished.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church was built in Baroque style between 1672 and 1680 by the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Rocco and San Francesco di Paola

    The Church of San Rocco and San Francesco di Paola is a church in Pizzo, located at the northern limit of the historical center of the town.   SHORT HISTORY In 1578, the plague hit Pizzo and, to put an end to the epidemic, the local people prayed to Saint Roch. The saint answered their prayers and the city was saved. The following year, to please the saint, the locals decided to build a church in his honor. The adjacent convent was built at the same time for the monks belonging to the Order of Minims, founded by Saint Francis of Paola. At the end of the 18th century, the religious orders were suppressed throughout Italy by Napoleon Bonaparte, including the Order of Minims who resided in the convent. In 1905, another earthquake seriously damaged the church, and the reconstruction works were completed only in 1930. In 2013, the church was dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, painted in pale yellow, is 18 meters high, and is adjacent to a bell tower 23 meters high. The facade is decorated by a polychrome rosette, a tympanum and two niches in which are Read more [...]

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    Chapel of Madonnina del Mare

    The Chapel of Madonnina del Mare is a chapel built in a small cave in Via San Francesco da Paola, in Scilla. In the chapel, on a marble altar, there is a bronze sculpture of the Virgin and Child. Because is near the entrance to the Port of Scilla, the statue is also known as Madonnina del Porto.   SHORT HISTORY The cave in which the altar stands today is the result of the excavations carried out by the German troops during the Second World War, when the soldiers tried to create a shelter against bombing. The Via San Francesco da Paola was built around the middle of the 20th century, and the statue of the Virgin, work of the sculptor Monteleone, was placed in the cave in 1953. During the 1970s, the tunnel that surrounds the rock of Scilla, in which the chapel is found today, was also built.   HOW TO GET THERE The Chapel of Madonnina del Mare is located about 750 meters away from the Scilla train station. To find the chapel on foot, use the map below.

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    Church of the Immaculate Conception

    The Church of the Immaculate Conception (Chiesa dell’Immacolata) is a church in Scilla, located in the immediate vicinity of the Ruffo Castle.   SHORT HISTORY Ancient Greek parchments speak about the existence of a church on this place since the early centuries of Christianity, linked more or less to the fortress built nearby around the 5th century. During the Norman domination of the area, the church was dedicated to the Madonna dell’Itria, a title widely used by the Greek churches and imported later to the southern Italy. Following the earthquakes of 1509 and 1599, the church, badly damaged, was rebuilt and enlarged. This new church was dedicated to the Holy Virgin under the title of the Immaculate Conception. During the earthquake of February 5, 1783, the roof and the magnificent dome collapsed. Two days later, the whole central vault fell. The church was rebuilt in brick and stone between 1825 and 1875. In 1894, the church was damaged again, and extensive restorations became necessary. On this occasion, the bell towers were lowered and the brick vault was replaced by a wooden roof. At the beginning of 20th century, the interior of the church was beautifully frescoed, but it was destroyed Read more [...]

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    Church of San Rocco

    The Church of San Rocco is a relatively new church in Scilla, dedicated to Saint Roch, the patron saint of the town, located in the homonymous square, in Piazza San Rocco.   SHORT HISTORY The cult of San Rocco was probably born in Scilla in the 15th century, when the area was hit by a plague and the saint was credited for saving the locals. Around that time, Scilla had important commercial relations with Venice, where the relics of San Rocco were held. In the 16th century, one of the saint’s statues was transported from Venice to Scilla, and San Rocco became the patron saint of the town. The Church of San Rocco was built in 1738, on the site of a former church dedicated to St. George. The church was heavily hit by the earthquakes of 1783 and 1908, being rebuilt each time. The today’s church is the result of a rebuilding started in the 1970s and completed in August 1990. The rebuilding was made with the help of the local people, and it became necessary after the damage suffered by the building during the Second World War.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, with two Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo

    The Church of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo is a 18th-century church located in a small square in the center of the Chianalea district, in Scilla.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1700 by the Brotherhood of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo, in the beautiful Chianalea district. The church was damaged by the cataclysms of 1783 and 1908, but it was not completely destroyed. Each time, it was rebuilt at the expense of the inhabitants of the neighborhood.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church, with a rectangular plan and a single nave, is a beautiful example of the 18th-century architecture, for its harmonious and delicate style, both on the outside and inside. The facade, of a dirty white color, has four pilasters with a very high base, surmounted by a triangular body with a cross at the top. In the center of the frontispiece, there is a circular tondo representing Maria Santissima di Porto Salvo. Between the external and internal pilasters, there are two cornices with a rectangular shape and concave corners, while between the two central pilasters is the wooden portal from the 18th-century, divided into six squares surrounded by frames. Inside, there were five altars, all Read more [...]

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    Church of San Zan Degolà

    The Church of San Giovanni Battista Decollato (Saint John the Baptist Beheaded), abbreviated in the Venetian dialect as San Zan Degolà, is a church located in the sestiere of Santa Croce, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in the 8th century, but the first documented information dates back to the beginning of the 11th century, when the church was rebuilt by the Venier family, residing in a palace nearby. In 1213, the church was renovated at the expense of the Pesaro family, and again in 1703, when the current facade and the bell tower were built. In 1807, the Napoleonic decrees suppressed the parish and led to the deconsecration of the church, which was transformed into a warehouse. In 1818, the church was reopened and assigned to the parish of San Giacomo dall’Orio, to which it still belongs as a vicarial church. Today, the church is the seat of the Russian Orthodox Christian community and the liturgies are held regularly every week.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church is one of the rare examples of Venetian-Byzantine architecture that remained fairly intact in its original conception up to the present day. Only the facade and the bell tower Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni in Bragora

    The Church of San Giovanni in Bragora is a church located in the homonymous square, in the sestiere of Castello, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY Although the first document mentioning the church dates back to 1090, it seems that the structure was built earlier, in 829. The church was rebuilt in the 10th century, under Doge Pietro III Candiano, to house some presumed relics of St. John the Baptist, to which is dedicated, and again in 1178. In 1464, when Pietro Barbo became Pope Paul II, the church was restructured according to a late Gothic style by the architect Sebastiano Mariani, taking its current form. The works lasted thirty years, from 1475 to 1505, at the end of which it was reconsecrated, as it is shown on the facade, on the lintel above the entrance, under the lunette. In 1481, the chapel dedicated to Saint John the Merciful was built, which houses the precious relics of the saint since 1249. Over time, the bell tower of the church collapsed several times. The first structure, from the 9th century, underwent a major renovation between 1475 and 1498, only to be demolished in 1567 due to its precarious condition. Rebuilt in 1568, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Marcuola

    The Church of San Marcuola is a church dedicated to Saints Hermagoras and Fortunatus, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The church is situated across the Grand Canal from the Fondaco dei Turchi. The name Marcuola comes from the Venetian pronunciation for Hermagoras.   SHORT HISTORY The current church was built in the 12th century on the site of an ancient church from the 9th century, thanks to the contributions of the Memmo family, owners of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. In 1663, minor changes were made to the structure. Later, the architect Antonio Gaspari presented a new renovation project, but the works were started only after his death, under the direction of the architect Giorgio Massari. In 1736, Giorgio Massari managed to complete the interior of the church, but the facade remained unfinished. In 1779, the church was consecrated for the last time by the Patriarch Federico Maria Giovanelli.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a single nave with a square plan, covered by a barrel vault. The presbytery was created from a semicircular apse, and is practically the vestibule of the beautiful rectangular main chapel, surmounted by an oval dome, supported by four columns. Read more [...]

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    Church of Spirito Santo

    The Church of Spirito Santo (Church of the Holy Spirit) is a church located on the Zattere promenade, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY In 1483, the monastery of the Augustinian nuns of the Holy Spirit was founded on this place, with a church enclosed within its walls. From the beginning, the monastery distinguished itself by scandals caused by the nuns, documented by the archives of the time. In the first decades of the 16th century, when the foundations of the Zattere were settled on the Giudecca Canal, the monastery was restructured in a radical way. The old church was demolished to make room for the cloister and, in 1506, the construction of the current church began, with the facade oriented towards the Giudecca Canal. At the same time, near the church, separated from it by the Calle Larga della Chiesa, the building of the School of the Holy Spirit was also started.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church has a poorly proportioned structure: the portal and the two side windows on the ground floor apparently denote an initial project focused more on the width of the building than on its height, while the second Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Fosca

    The Church of Santa Fosca is a church dedicated to Saint Fusca of Ravenna, located on the island of Torcello, in the Venice Lagoon, part of the largest complex of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Saint Fusca of Ravenna was a child martyr killed along with her nurse, Maura, around 250 AD, in Ravenna, under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Decius.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that a church dedicated to Santa Fosca existed on this place since the first half of the 9th century. Around 1000, the building was part of the larger project promoted by the Bishop Orso Orseolo, for the reconstruction of the entire complex of the cathedral. The building received its current appearance around the 12th century, when it was rebuilt to house the relics of the christian martyrs Fosca and Maura, arrived from Sabratha, in Africa.   ARCHITECTURE The church, with a circular plan, is an example of the Venetian-Byzantine style. It stands outside the remains of the ancient city square, next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the remains of the ancient baptistery. The church is surrounded by a portico on five sides. The arches are supported by columns with Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Rosario

    The Church of Santa Maria del Rosario, commonly known as I Gesuati (the Jesuates), is a church located on the Fondamenta delle Zattere, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, in Venice. The Gesuati name comes from the religious order of the Jesuates, suppressed in 1668, which possessed a large convent in the area, later bought by the Dominicans.   SHORT HISTORY The Compagnia dei Poveri Gesuati (Company of the Poor Jesuates) was formed at the end of the 14th century, and in 1432 began the construction of the nearby Church of Santa Maria della Visitazione and of the adjacent convent. With the dissolution of the order, the complex passed to the Dominicans, who shortly after began the construction of a new larger church further along the Zattere. The church was built between 1726 and 1735 by the architect Giorgio Massari, with the collaboration of Giambattista Tiepolo and Gian Maria Morlaiter, and was consecrated on September 29, 1743, by the Patriarch Alvise Foscari. With the suppression of the religious orders in 1810, the church became a parish church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The classical facade is divided into three parts by semi-columns with composite capitals and completed on the sides by composite Read more [...]

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    Church of San Pietro di Castello

    The Church of San Pietro di Castello is an important church in Venice, which, until 1807, it was the city’s cathedral. The church is located on the northeastern area of Venice, in the Castello sestiere, not far from the Arsenale.   SHORT HISTORY As reported by the chronicler Giovanni Diacono, the building of the Church of San Pietro began around 822, and was completed nine years later, probably in 831. In 1120, a fire devastated the church, and a new larger structure was built, with a baptistery next to it dedicated to San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), now lost. In 1451, with the suppression of the Patriarchate of Grado and the constitution of the Diocese of Castello of the Patriarchate of Venice, by the bull of Pope Nicholas V, the Basilica of Saint Peter became the new Cathedral of Venice. Between 1508 and 1524, the Patriarch Antonio Contarini decided to carry out restoration works on the ceiling, the vaults and the floor of the church. Between 1512 and 1526, the minor chapels were rebuilt and the decorations were redone. In 1558, the Patriarch Vienzo Diedo commissioned Andrea Palladio to rebuilt the facade and the interior of church. However, Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria della Stella

    The Church of Santa Maria della Stella is a church in Ostuni, located in an interruption of the northern walls of the city.   SHORT HISTORY In the first half of the 16th century, a poor widow, mother of three girls, took care every day, for a month, of an image of the Madonna painted in a niche in the wall of the city, located near a small gate called Porticella. Her gesture was gratified daily by a gift she found in the niche, a coin and a loaf of bread. The place soon became a destination for pilgrimages, and it was decided to build a small chapel in which to place the image of the Virgin. The structure was named, at first, Santa Maria della Porticella. In the last decades of the 16th century, the structure was expanded, and the new church changed its name to Santa Maria della Stella (Saint Mary of the Star). The local bourgeoisie was responsible for the decoration of the interior and for the private chapels of the church. Probably damaged by the earthquake of 1743, despite some interventions made in 1812, the church was closed for worship in 1835 and soon collapsed. Between Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo

    The Church of Santa Maria Vergine del Monte Carmelo, or shorter the Church of Carmine, is a beautiful church in Ostuni, located near the southeastern border of the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The Carmelite Convent in Ostuni, dedicated to Santa Maria della Misericordia, was built in the second half of the 15th century outside the city walls. The convent had a simple, square-shaped form, with a garden in the middle. The adjacent church was built between 1590 and 1593 by the master masons Nicola Francesco de Marseglia and Matteo de Molendinis, assuming the title of Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo. Around the middle of the 17th century, the church had twelve chapels decorated by wealthy citizens, but in 1775 the chapels were reduced to six, plus two minor ones. In the first half of the 18th century, some renovation works were carried out by the architect Giuseppe Fasano, especially in the presbytery area and in the side chapels. In 1810, following the suppression of the Carmelite order in the Kingdom of Naples, the church was entrusted to the care of the Carmine confraternity, active since the 16th century. In 1819, the Carmelites returned to their home Read more [...]

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    Ostuni Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Ostuni, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is a beautiful church located on the highest hill of the city, right in the middle of the old town, in Piazza Beato Giovanni Paolo II. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built in the 15th century, was declared a national monument in 1902.   SHORT HISTORY Between 1228 and 1229, Frederick II of Swabia built here a Romanesque church, on the ruins of an Orthodox church erected prior to the year 1000. The construction of the Cathedral began after the earthquake of 1456, during the Episcopate of Nicola Arpone, and was completed in 1495. The church was radically transformed twice: in 1750, by the will of the Bishop Francesco Antonio Scoppa, and in 1898, on the behest of the Bishop Salvatore Palmieri.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, facing west, with Gothic elements, is divided into three parts by thin pilasters. The facade has its fulcrum in the large central rosette, in which the Christ is surrounded by seven cherubs. On the lunettes of the side entrances are the bas-reliefs of San Giovanni Battista, on the right, and of San Biagio, on the left. 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 [...]