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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    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 [...]

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    Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari

    The Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari is the Cathedral of Taormina (Duomo di Taormina). The church is located in Piazza Duomo, along Corso Umberto, near Porta Catania, in the historical center of Taormina. Due to the external fortification elements, the church is also known as the Cathedral Fortress.   SHORT HISTORY The first cathedral of Taormina was the primitive Church of San Francesco di Paola. Starting with 962, during the muslim rule of the town, the Christian worship was prohibited, and following the Norman conquest of Taormina, in 1078, the town lost its bishopric. The construction of the current Cathedral, with the layout and characteristics of a fortress, dates back to the 13th century. The Cathedral was built in Sicilian Romanesque-Gothic style over the remains of a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra (also known as Nicolas of Bari). The Cathedral was partially rebuilt during the 15th century, and the Renaissance style portals were added at the beginning of the 16th century. The church was remodeled in the 17th century with the addition of the Baroque portal on the main facade, and the construction of the chapels in the side apses. Between 1945 and 1948, the Neapolitan architect Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo

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

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    Rotonda di San Lorenzo

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

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    Basilica of Sant’Andrea

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

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    Church of San Sebastiano

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

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    Church of Santo Stefano

    The Church of Santo Stefano is a Catholic church in Verona, located in the Veronetta district, about 300 meters away from the Church of San Giorgio in Braida and Porta San Giorgio, and about 50 meters away from Ponte Pietra.   SHORT HISTORY A first Paleo-Christian building was erected here at the beginning of the 5th century. Of this primitive construction, only the general layout and the southern wall remain. During the reign of Theodoric the Great, at the beginning of the 6th century, the building was partially destroyed, but then promptly rebuilt. The stone episcopal chair preserved in the church and the remains of some Veronese bishops, led to the assumption that, in the early Middle Ages, the church was the bishopric of the diocese. In the 11th century, the crypt of the church was added. Unlike many Veronese buildings, Santo Stefano was only partially damaged during the earthquake of 1117. The subsequent reconstruction in Romanesque style involved changes to the apse, the windows and the facade, which was moved to include the narthex. Between 1618 and 1621, the parish priest, Monsignor Varalli, commissioned the Varalli Chapel (or Chapel of the Innocents) built in Baroque style on the southern Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giorgio in Braida

    The Church of San Giorgio in Braida is a church in Verona, dedicated to Saint George, located in the Borgo Trento district, not far from the homonymous city gate, Porta San Giorgio.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Giorgio in Braida was built in the Middle Ages. Although some historians believe that the church already existed in the 8th century, its official birth is placed in 1046, when the Veronese nobleman Pietro Cadalo, newly elected bishop of Parma and subsequently antipope, decided to found a Benedictine monastery dedicated to Saint George. By 1051, the monastery was completed, and in 1052 the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III placed it under his protection. Between the 12th and 13th centuries, the monastery experienced a period of great economic and spiritual prosperity. Faint traces of the first ancient Romanesque building, probably rebuilt following the terrible earthquake of 1117, remain, such as the base of the bell tower visible on the left wall. In 1442, after a period of decline under the Della Scala family, the complex passed to the congregation of San Giorgio in Alga, which began the construction of today’s Renaissance church. Once the congregation was suppressed by Pope Clement XI, in Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giorgio

    The Church of San Giorgio is a beautiful church in Pordenone, located in Largo San Giorgio, in the northern part of the historical center of the town.   SHORT HISTORY A small chapel dedicated to San Giorgio is mentioned in the will of Ricchiero Ricchieri, dated back to 1347, through which he provided a sum of money for its maintenance. In 1588, following the growth of the city, the chapel was elevated to a parish. The church was enlarged in 1625, and again starting with 1792 on the initiative of Don Lorenzo Grigoletti, uncle of the painter Michelangelo Grigoletti. The church was completed only in 1873, when the monument was consecrated and the Neoclassical facade designed by the Pordenone artist Giovanni Battista Bassi was finished. The bell tower, begun in 1852 to a design by the same architect, was completed only in 1914. In 1975, a general restoration of the church was carried out, with the reconstruction of the roof, the external plaster and the exterior painting. The church was inaugurated on Christmas 1975, but the 1976 earthquake caused further damages to its structure. Between 2001 and 2002, the building underwent further consolidation and conservative restoration.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Marco

    The Cathedral of San Marco, known also as the Duomo di San Marco, is the Cathedral of Pordenone, dedicated to Saint Mark. The cathedral is located in the historical center of the town, in Piazza San Marco, a few meters from the Communal Palace.   SHORT HISTORY The Cathedral of Saint Mark was built starting from the second half of the 13th century, in Romanesque-Gothic style, on the remains of a previous church. The imposing bell tower was completed in 1347, and raised to 79.47 meters in the 17th century, when the spire was added. The first restoration interventions were carried out in 1938. Later, in 1940, the 15th century frescoes were found in the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul and the Resurrection fresco in the sacristy. The first global restoration project of the entire cathedral began in 1956 and was carried out on several steps, also by demolishing some surrounding buildings. Inside, the decoration of the dome of the transept was brought to light. Between 1965 and 1975, the floor was restored, under which some tombstones were found. On this occasion, the roof of the nave was rehabilitated following the original construction schemes. After the 1976 Friuli earthquake, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco

    The Church of San Francesco is one of the oldest churches in Udine, now deconsecrated and used for temporary exhibitions. The church is located in Piazza Girolamo Venerio, about 160 meters away from the Cathedral of Udine and about 350 meters away from the Loggia del Lionello.   SHORT HISTORY The presence of the first Franciscan convent in Udine is documented in 1259. The consecration of the Church of San Francesco, built nearby, dates back to July 1266, and was celebrated by Alberto da Colle, the bishop of Concordia. In 1769, the Municipality of Udine acquired the convent with the intention of turning it into a hospital. The convent was used as a hospital until 1920s, while the Church of San Francesco was used as a deposit. The church was heavily damaged by the bombing of the Second World War, then restored. In the last few decades, the church was used for temporary exhibitions, especially by local artists. The convent, on the other hand, was first used as a history museum and, after a long and heavy restoration, it became the Court of Udine.   ARCHITECTURE The church is a simple Romanesque construction, following the strict Franciscan rules – gabled Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giacomo

    The Church of San Giacomo is a church in Udine, located in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, about 230 meters away from Piazza della Libertà and Loggia del Lionello.   SHORT HISTORY The structure was built in 1378, initially as a chapel, which was later enlarged. The facade of the church dates back to 1525, and was built by the architect and sculptor Bernardino da Morcote.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the facade, above the main portal of the church, there is a balcony and two mullioned windows. Above the balcony, we can find the clock, surmounted by the belfry. The interior of the church was heavily transformed during the Baroque period. The ceiling was decorated by Pietro Venier with Stories of Saint James. Inside, we can find beautiful works of art. Placed on the first altar on the right, there is The Virgin with Saints Apollonia and Agata by Fulvio Griffoni, dating back to the 17th century. On the second altar on the right, there is San Fabio interceding for souls in purgatory, a work by Pietro Venier dating back to the 18th century. On the first altar on the left, we can find The Virgin surrounded by saints by Antonio Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata is the cathedral of Udine. The church is located in Piazza del Duomo, about 150 meters away from Piazza della Libertà and Loggia del Lionello.   SHORT HISTORY The works on the cathedral began in 1236, at the behest of the patriarch of Aquileia, Bertoldo of Andechs-Merania. At first, the church was dedicated to Saint Odoric. In 1257, the building was already open for worship. In 1335, it was consecrated with the title of Santa Maria Maggiore. The disastrous earthquake of 1348 caused serious damage to the cathedral, but did not stop its religious activity. Only in 1368, the Venetian architect Pierpaolo dalle Masegne was called for the restoration of the church. He strengthened the walls, rebuilt the roof and made changes to the facade, including the replacement of the central rose window. Also, the two minor rose windows, corresponding to the side aisles, were modified, by inserting a fake loggia decoration between them. In the 18th century, the cathedral was almost completely transformed by the architect Domenico Rossi. In 1735, when the works were completed, the patriarch Daniele Delfino rededicated the church to Santa Maria Annunziata.   ARCHITECTURE The main portal, called the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

    The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, also known as the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a church in Trieste, located at the foot of the San Giusto Hill.   SHORT HISTORY The history of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is closely linked to that of the Jesuit congregation of Trieste. In 1619, two Jesuits, Giuseppe Mezler and Gregorio Salateo, arrived in Trieste. Thanks to its good relationship with the government of the time, the Jesuit order developed rapidly. The congregation commissioned the construction of a school, which is now located next to the current Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Shortly after, it was decided to build the church, dedicated to the Madonna, which became the largest church in the city at that time. The first stone was laid on October 10, 1627, by the bishop Rinaldo Scarlicchio. However, the completion of the church took decades. When the church was consecrated on October 11, 1682, by the bishop Giacomo Ferdinando Gorizutti, the roof of the building was still partially uncovered. In November of the same year, the church’s wooden dome was destroyed by a fire that broke out in a nearby oil mill. When Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Giusto

    The Cathedral of San Giusto is the cathedral of Trieste, dedicated to Saint Justus of Trieste. The church is located on the top of the homonymous hill, overlooking the city, only a few meters from the San Giusto Castle. Saint Justus of Trieste is a Roman Catholic saint, martyred on November 2, 293. Because he refused to worship the Roman gods, he was found guilty of sacrilege and sentenced to death by drowning. SHORT HISTORY Two churches were erected on this site between the 9th and 11th century – one dedicated to Saint Mary of the Assumption, and the other to San Giusto. Between 1302 and 1320, Bishop Rodolfo Pedrazzani joined the two existing churches under one roof, also building a simple asymmetrical facade. Between 1337 and 1343, the bell tower of the former church of Santa Maria was restored, being covered with a thick wall, but the works on the church were completed at the end of the century. The bell tower was originally higher, but in 1422 it was struck by lightning and was reduced to its current height. On November 27, 1385, the first German bishop of Trieste, Enrico de Wildenstein, consecrated the main altar of the Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo

    The Church of Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo, commonly known as the Church of Sant’Antonio Nuovo, is the largest Catholic church in Trieste. The church, dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, is located on the square with the same name, at the end of the Grand Canal of Trieste.   SHORT HISTORY A private chapel dedicated to the Annunciation stood on this place until the middle of the 18th century. After the chapel was opened to the public, the structure became insufficient for worshippers, so it was decided to raise a larger church dedicated to Sant’Antonio Nuovo. Around 1771, the church was completed, but soon the new structure became also inadequate for the large number of believers who attended the services. Therefore, in 1808, a competition was held for a new church dedicated to Saint Anthony. The same year, the Neoclassical project of the Swiss architect Pietro Nobile won the competition. However, the work began only in 1825, and the consecration of the imposing church took place only in 1849. In 1958, the two pipe organs of the church were built by the Mascioni company, both with electric transmission.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is characterized by a majestic Read more [...]

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    Church of San Zaccaria

    The Church of San Zaccaria is a beautiful church in Venice, located in the sestiere (district) of Castello, in Campo San Zaccaria, not far from the St. Mark’s Square. The church is dedicated to Saint Zechariah, father of Saint John the Baptist.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this site in 827 by Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio to accommodate the remains of San Zaccaria, who were donated by the Byzantine Emperor Leo V the Armenian to the city of Venice. An adjacent convent was built around the same time. In 1105, a terrible fire destroyed the ancient church and the convent, and it is said that more than a hundred nuns, who took refuge in the basement, died asphyxiated. The current church was started in 1444 by the architect Antonio Gambello, and completed after his death, in 1504, by the architect Mauro Codussi. The church was consecrated in 1543.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The superb facade of the church, in Istrian stone, is divided in five orders. The lower two orders, work of Gambello, are in late-Gothic style, and the upper orders, by Codussi, in Renaissance style. The facade, with many mullioned windows, is dominated by a large Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli

    The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a beautiful church in Venice, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built between 1481 and 1489, at the behest of the Lombard merchant Angelo Amadi, who desired a proper shrine for a painting depicting the Virgin, inherited from his uncle, Francesco Amadi. The painting, dating back to the beginning of the 15th century, was considered miraculous by the inhabitants of the area. The project was entrusted to the architect Pietro Lombardo who, with the help of his sons, Tullio and Antonio, designed and built this small church. One of the first Renaissance-style churches built in Venice, it was renovated during the 16th century, without changing its external appearance. In 1997, the church was the subject of a careful restoration, which allowed the locals and tourists alike to fully enjoy its artistic beauty.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade, divided into five sectors by pillars, has two orders. The lower order, with pillars with Corinthian capitals, is architraved, while the upper one, with pillars in Ionic style, is composed of 5 blind arches. Above the facade, there is a large semicircular pediment, decorated with a rose window, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Simeone Piccolo

    The Church of San Simeone Piccolo, also known as Santi Simeone e Giuda (Saints Simon and Judas), is a church in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of Santa Croce, in front of the Santa Lucia railway station.   SHORT HISTORY The original church was founded in the 9th century by the noble families of Adoldi and Briosi, and was consecrated on June 21, 1271. The ancient church probably had a basilica plan with three naves and was built parallel to the Grand Canal. In 1718, the rebuilding of the church began under the direction of the architect Giovanni Antonio Scalfarotto. The works were completed 20 years later, and the religious building was consecrated on April 27, 1738, being one of the last churches built in Venice. Today, the Church of San Simeone Piccolo is the only church in Venice where the Mass is celebrated in Latin.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church is modeled on the Pantheon of Rome, with a cylindrical body, a copper-clad dome and a Corinthian pronaos. The pronaos set against a circular plan is a solution already adopted in the twin churches of Piazza del Popolo in Rome. It is surmounted by Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, is the cathedral of Padua, located in the Piazza Duomo, in the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the first cathedral of Padua was built after the Edict of Milan from 313. Originally, the church was dedicated to Saint Justina, but following one of its reconstructions, from 462 or 602, it was dedicated to Saint Mary. In 1075, Bishop Olderico consecrated a new cathedral, built on the ruins of the previous one. This basilica was destroyed by the famous earthquake of January 3, 1117. Following the earthquake of 1117, a new cathedral was built on the project of the architect Macillo. The cathedral was consecrated on April 24, 1180. The new church stood in the area of the current cathedral, having the same orientation. In 1227, the bell tower was rebuilt and, between 1399 and 1400, the bishop Stefano da Carrara carried out some restoration works and built the cross vaults. On January, 1551, the church approved the project of the illustrious Michelangelo Buonarroti for a new presbitery. The Michelangelo project was completed and inaugurated by the bishop Federico Cornaro on April 14, Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Giustina

    Basilica of Santa Giustina, dedicated to Saint Justina of Padua, is an important Catholic church in Padua, located in the square of Prato della Valle.   SHORT HISTORY In the 6th century, the praetorian prefect Venanzio Opilione built a basilica on the site of the tomb of Saint Justina of Padua, martyred in 304. The basilica, which in the meantime was flanked by an important Benedictine monastery, collapsed due to the earthquake of 1117. The church was rebuilt in the following years, reusing what remained of the previous construction. Between the 14th and the 16th centuries, the choir, the sacristy and the Chapel of San Luca were built. In this period, the adjacent monastery was also rebuilt. Starting with 1501, a new construction was begun on the project of Girolamo da Brescia. After abandoning the da Brescia project, the monks entrusted the work to Sebastiano da Lugano and then to Andrea Briosco. After the death of the latter, the direction of the work passed to Andrea Moroni and then to Andrea da Valle. The huge construction site lasted for more than a century. The basilica was solemnly consecrated on March 14, 1606. Following the Napoleonic ecclesiastical laws, the abbey was Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Carmine

    The Church of Santa Maria del Carmine is a beautiful church in Milan, located in Piazza del Carmine, in the Brera district.   SHORT HISTORY In 1268, the Carmelites settled near the Castello Sforzesco, where, starting from the 14th century, they began to build their convent and an adjoining church, which was destroyed by fire in 1330. The current church was built beginning with 1339 on a project by Fra Bernardo from Venice. The works were completed in 1446 by the architect Pietro Antonio Solari. As soon as it was finished, the vault of the church collapsed and, only three years later, the restoration work began. In the 17th century, the presbytery was radically restored in Baroque style and assumed its current conformation. The current facade, built in 1880, is the work of Carlo Maciachini.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church overlooks the square of the same name. Built in 1880 in a rich neo-Gothic style, it is the work of Carlo Maciachini, famous also for the design of the Monumental Cemetery of Milan. The facade is divided by large pilasters, each surmounted by a Gothic canopy. Above the central portal, there is a mosaic lunette with Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore

    Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is one of the oldest churches in Milan, and together with the Columns of San Lorenzo, located a few meters away, is considered an important Roman monumental complex. The church is dedicated to Saint Lawrence, one of the seven deacons of Rome, who was martyred in 258 during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman Emperor Valerian.   SHORT HISTORY The church dates back to a period between the end of the 3rd century and the beginning of the 5th century, and was built on the remains of a temple dedicated to Hercules by the Emperor Maximian. The church was damaged by fire in 1071 and 1072, its dome collapsed in 1103, and it was destroyed again by fire in 1124. The church was then rebuilt in Romanesque style, maintaining the original internal layout. During the Middle Ages, the basilica remained a symbol of the Roman heritage of Milan, and a privileged burial place for the city’s bishops. In 1573, the dome of the church collapsed once again during a liturgical celebration. Given the importance of the building, Cardinal Carlo Borromeo comissioned the architect Martino Bassi to rebuilt the dome according to the tastes Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

    The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church in Milan, located in the square of the same name. The church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for housing Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which is located in the refectory of the convent.   SHORT HISTORY In 1460, the Congregation of Dominicans in Milan received a piece of land from Count Gaspare Vimercati. On this land, there was a small chapel dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace), where the Dominicans decided to built a new church. On September 10, 1463, the first stone was laid, and the work began under the supervision of the architect Guiniforte Solari. Thanks to the patronage of the Vimercati, the convent was completed in 1469. Simultaneously with the construction of the convent, the building of the church began. The project was for a basilica with 3 naves, with ogival vaults and a gabled facade. Terracotta was used for the walls, while granite was used for the columns and capitals. In 1492, the new Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, also known as il Moro (the Moor), decided to rebuilt the cloister and the apse of the church. The apse is Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunciata

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunciata is the beautiful Cathedral of Vicenza, located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza del Duomo. The church, dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.   SHORT HISTORY Studies carried out in the second half of the 20th century attest to the presence in the 3rd century AD of a Christian place of worship, housed in a pre-existing Roman building of the 1st century. After the Edict of Constantine of 313, a small church was built here, which was rebuilt later, in the second half of the 5th century. Around the year 600, the first bishop of Vicenza, Oronzio, replaced this church with a larger, rectangular one with three naves. Around the year 1000, the church, now the cathedral of the city, was enriched by a complex of three apses. The church was damaged by the terrible earthquake of 1117, and it was once again replaced by a larger one with five naves supported by pillars and arches. The cathedral was damaged again in 1236, this time during the sacking of Vicenza by Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria in Araceli

    The Church of Santa Maria in Araceli is a Baroque church in Vicenza, located in Piazza Araceli, in the eastern part of the Querini Park.   SHORT HISTORY The first information about a small church dedicated to Santa Maria dates back to 1214, near which, in 1244, the community of Sancta Maria Mater Domini of Longare bought a piece of land and built a modest monastery. In 1277, the monastery passed to the Clarisse nuns of San Francesco. In the 15th century, the monastery was in a state of serious decline, due both to economic reasons and to the isolation in which it found itself after the construction of the Scaliger walls. The ancient Church of Santa Maria was demolished in 1675 and rebuilt in Baroque style by the architect Guarino Guarini. The works were completed in 1680, but the consecration of the church took place only on November 17, 1743, by the bishop of Vicenza, Antonio Maria Priuli. In 1797, the nuns were expelled by the French army, which used the rooms to house the troops. They returned there in 1799, but were definitively removed from the property in 1810, by virtue of the Napoleonic law of suppression of Read more [...]

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    Church of San Lorenzo

    The Church of San Lorenzo is a Gothic church in Vicenza, located in the central Piazza San Lorenzo, along Corso Antonio Fogazzaro.   SHORT HISTORY The presence of the Conventual Franciscans in Vicenza dates back to the beginning of the 13th century, more precisely to the year 1216. In 1280, they received the old Church of San Francesco Vecchio, together with a piece of land in the area. Starting with 1280, a new larger church was built on this site, with a large churchyard in front of the facade. The church was completed around the year 1300. Throughout the 14th century, changes and external additions were made, such as the Oratory of the Conception on the western side, the portal, and the restructuring of the apses. In the following centuries, the interior was embellished with numerous works of art, donated by patrician families of Vicenza. Following the Napoleonic invasion, the church and the adjacent convent were looted and used first as a military hospital, then as a barracks for the troops. With the decree of Compiègne of 1810, which dissolved the religious orders, the few Franciscans left in Vicenza were dispersed. The buildings remained in a state of neglect, until Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Croce in San Giacomo Maggiore

    The Church of Santa Croce in San Giacomo Maggiore, also known as the Church of the Carmelites (Chiesa dei Carmini) is a church in Vicenza, located in Piazza dei Carmini, near the end of Corso Antonio Fogazzaro.   SHORT HISTORY In 1372, while the Scaligeri were enclosing the village of Porta Nova within the new western walls of Vicenza, the bishop Giovanni de Surdis started to build a new church in the center of the area, dedicated at first to San Giacomo Apostolo (Saint James the Apostle), and later to San Giacomo Maggiore (Saint James the Great). Around the same time, the bishop entrusted the religious building to the Carmelite friars, and the church was commonly called Santa Maria dei Carmini (Saint Mary of Carmel). To adapt to the needs of the developing village, the church was completely rebuilt in Gothic style, with three naves, between 1420 and 1425. Between 1720 and 1730, the church was restored again and brought back to a single nave. The Carmelites remained in the convent until 1806, when, after the Napoleonic decree suppressing the religious orders, they were expelled from Vicenza. The parish was merged with the neighboring one of Santa Croce. In the Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare, also known as the Duomo di Verona, is the cathedral of Verona, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.   SHORT HISTORY The first Christian church in Verona was built in the 4th century on the site of the current cathedral. This ancient church had three naves with a raised presbytery and a baptistery. In the 5th century, the primitive church was flanked by a second, larger. Both of these structures were razed to the ground by the earthquake of 1117. The construction of a new cathedral was begun in 1120, and was completed in the year 1187. On September 13 of the same year, the church was solemnly consecrated by Pope Urban III. Over the centuries, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries, the church undergone several alterations. The facade dates back to the 16th century. The bell tower was raised up to 30 meters by the architect Michele Sanmicheli and brought to its present height, of about 75 meters, only in the early 20th century.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the cathedral is divided into three parts. In the center, there is a porch with the lower part in white and Read more [...]

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    Church of San Fermo Maggiore

    The Church of San Fermo Maggiore is a church located in the historical center of Verona, dedicated to Saint Fermus, a Christian martyr under Emperor Maximian.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, Saints Fermus and Rusticus were martyred in Verona in 304 AD, and the locals built a church in their honor in the 5th or 6th century. However, the first traces of this church date back to the 8th century. In 755, the bishop of Verona, Annone, who is now venerated as a saint, received the relics of Saints Fermus and Rusticus and placed them under the altar of the church dedicated to them. Between 1065 and 1143, the Benedictines completely restructured the complex and built two churches in Romanesque style: the lower one to preserve the relics, and the upper one for the daily celebrations. They also started the construction of the bell tower, which was completed only in the 13th century. In 1261, the Franciscans took the place of the Benedictines and rebuilt the upper church. The work was completed around 1350. In the following centuries, inside the church were added chapels, altars and funeral monuments. In 1759, the relics were placed in the altar of the Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Anastasia

    Basilica of Santa Anastasia is an important Catholic church in Verona, located in the northern area of the historical center of the city, in Piazza Santa Anastasia. Although the church is named after the Dominican Saint Peter Martyr, it is better known as Santa Anastasia due to an ancient Arian cult building which stood on this place, dedicated to Anastasia of Sirmium.   SHORT HISTORY The origins of the Church of Santa Anastasia are very ancient. It is believed that already in the Longobard era, where the current building stands, there were two Christian churches that, according to tradition, were built at the behest of the Ostrogoth King Theodoric. One was dedicated to Saint Remigius of Reims and the other to Saint Anastasia, a Christian martyr under Diocletian, whose cult spread from Constantinople to Verona around the 8th century. The oldest information about this structure is contained in a diploma dated October 2, 890, issued by the King of Italy Berengario I. A second mention of the church is found in a document dated May 12, 1082. Subsequently, a decree of 1087 lists the numerous possessions of the church. The Dominican friars arrived in Verona around 1220, and settled outside Read more [...]

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    Church of San Zeno al Foro

    The Church of San Zeno al Foro is a church in Brescia, located in Piazza del Foro, along Via dei Musei, near the Capitolium. The church is dedicated to San Zeno, the eighth bishop of Verona during the second half of the 4th century.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this site in the Middle Ages, probably during the 12th century. The church was rebuilt in Baroque style at the behest of the young parish priest Giovanni Pietro Dolfin, a noble Venetian patrician, who later also rebuilt the Church of San Lorenzo. The new structure was completed in 1745.   ARCHITECTURE The Church of San Zeno al Foro is a very coherent example of Baroque structure in Brescia. The building is preceded by a short churchyard bordered by a Baroque iron gate with marble pillars surmounted by cherubs and pairs of twisted dolphins. The facade, very simple, is divided in two architectural orders of Composite pilasters, crowned by a curvilinear tympanum. Today, only the polygonal Romanesque apse in terracotta, decorated with small arches, remains of the original medieval structure. The church has a longitudinal layout, with a single nave without a transept, and two chapels on each Read more [...]

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    Church of San Lorenzo

    Rich in pictorial and sculptural works of art, the Church of San Lorenzo, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, is one of the most important churches in Brescia.   SHORT HISTORY The first mention of the church can be found in a document dating back to the 11th century, but the place of worship was probably built long before this time. The first important interventions on the ancient structure took place at the end of the 15th century, at the behest of the provost Bernardino Fabio. At the beginning of the 16th century, Girolamo Romani, better known as Romanino, was commissioned to paint the Lamentation over the Dead Christ for the Chapel of the Passion. The painting remained in the chapel until 1871, and then was sold and transferred to various private collections in Italy and England. Today, the work is found in Venice, in Gallerie dell’Accademia. From this moment on, many other artists worked in the church, including Callisto Piazza, Lattanzio Gambara, Pietro Marone and Prospero Rabaglio. In the 17th century, with the spread of the cult of Saint Carlo Borromeo, the church was enriched with an altar dedicated to him, decorated with an altarpiece by Francesco Giugno. The other two Read more [...]

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    Winter Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Winter Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as Duomo Vecchio (Old Cathedral) or La Rotonda because of its round layout, is a Romanesque church in Brescia. The Old Cathedral is located near the New Cathedral (Duomo Nuovo), in Piazza Paolo VI.   SHORT HISTORY The history of the Old Cathedral begins with the demolition of the ancient Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore de Dom, an early Christian structure built perhaps in the 7th century. The construction of the Cathedral began in the 11th century and was completed in the first half of the 12th century. Towards the end of the 13th century, Berardo Maggi, bishop of Brescia, made an enlargement of the presbytery and had the interiors decorated. Between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the architect Bernardino da Martinengo extended the presbytery to the east, covering it with cross vaults in Gothic style. Around the same time, the transept was also added, completed with the Chapel of the Holy Crosses on the left side. In this phase of construction, Filippo Grassi, the future architect of Palazzo della Loggia, also participated. The keystones are the work of the sculptor Gasparo Cairano, Read more [...]

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    Summer Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Summer Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral), is the main church of Brescia, located in Piazza Paolo VI.   SHORT HISTORY In 1603, the architect Agostino Avanzo demolished the ancient Basilica of San Pietro de Dom, to make room for the construction of a new cathedral, more suited to the new architectural needs dictated by the Counter-Reformation. Avanzo presented a first project for the cathedral, with a Latin cross plan, with three naves and a transept, protruding side altars and a large central dome. The architect Giovanni Battista Lantana presented a similar project, but more modern and with greater structural attention. Both ideas, however, were rejected. Lantana presented a new project, with a Greek cross plan, a large central dome surrounded by four minor domes and a protruding apse, but this was also rejected. Finally, Lantana proposed a third project, with some modifications compared to the second, which was approved. The first stone of the cathedral was laid in 1604, but the controversy, however, didn’t diminished. The architect Pier Maria Bagnadore proposed an alternative project, practically a copy of the definitive one of Lantana, with the only addition of a span towards the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi is a church in Brescia, dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. The church, located in the homonymous street, is flanked by an ancient Franciscan convent dating back to the 14th century.   SHORT HISTORY The church was completed in 1265, but it was not frescoed until the early 14th century. In the 15th century, the church was enriched with 5 altars, two of which painted by Moretto (Alessandro Bonvicino) and Romanino (Girolamo Romani), great masters of the early Renaissance in Brescia. In the 16th century, in the left nave of the church, the Chapel of the Immaculate was built in Renaissance style. With the advent of the French in 1797, the church and the adjoining convent underwent a phase of decadence in which archives were destroyed and many rooms were ruined. Only in 1839, thanks to the architect Rodolfo Vantini, the church was the subject of renovation work, taking on some Neoclassical elements. In 1928, the Friars Minor returned to live in both the convent and the church, and thanks to various restorations, they were able to recover a part of the ancient artistic heritage.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Andrea

    The Church of Sant’Andrea is a church in Bergamo, located in Via Porta Dipinta 39, in the upper part of the city, known as Città Alta.   SHORT HISTORY In the State Archive of Bergamo, there is a notarial deed dated back to 785, which certifies the existence of a proto-Christian basilica on this place, called Basilica Sancti Andreae. Due to the damage caused by the construction of the Venetian Walls between 1561 and 1588, the old basilica obtained compensation of 300 scudi from the Venetian Republic, thanks to which it was renovated and reconsecrated in 1592. A subsequent reconstruction of the church dates back to 1689, with the laying of the foundation stone on June 23 by Bishop Daniele Giustiniani. In 1805, by a decree of Napoleon Bonaparte, the adjacent parish of San Michele al Pozzo Bianco was suppressed and its territory was annexed to the parish of Sant’Andrea. The ancient church was thus too small for this new territory and for a rather large population, and in in 1829 the architect Giacomo Romilli was commissioned to plan its complete renovation. Giacomo Romilli’s project included a neoclassical building, with a facade marked by pilasters and a tympanum, a small Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located near the eastern walls of the Città Alta and the homonymous gate of the city. Since 2015, the church houses the Aula Magna of the University of Bergamo.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of Sant’Agostino was built starting with 1290, on the site of a pre-existing church dedicated to Saints Philip and James. The new church was dedicated to Saints Philip, James and Augustine, and was consecrated on February 11, 1347, by the bishop Bernardo Bernardi. In the early 15th century, the church and the adjacent monastery were in a serious state of decay, and the complex was completely abandoned in 1441. Around the middle of the 15th century, the friar Giovanni da Novara obtained permission to sell some properties of the church, and used the money thus obtained to repair some of the buildings of the monastic complex. During the 15th century, seven chapels were built on each side of the church, for important families of Bergamo, who, in turn, donated the funds needed to repair the buildings. Jacopo Filippo Foresti was the friar responsible for the reconstruction of the church, with the contributions obtained from the families. Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located in the historical part of the city – Città Alta, in the small Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY According to popular tradition, in 1133, the local people promised to built a church dedicated to the Madonna, if the city will be spared by the plague that threatened the northern Italy. The church was built in 1137 on the site of another church from the 8th century, which in turn was built on a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Clementia. The exterior of the church testifies its construction in two different phases: in the first phase, were built the apsidal area, the northern arm of the transept and the lower part of the southern arm in gray sandstone, with square ashlars, while the remaining parts were built in the second phase, in light ocher sandstone, with rather small ashlars. With the central apse and the transept built, the high altar was consecrated in 1185, and the presbytery and apses on the east side of the transept were completed in 1187. Work slowed down during the 13th century due to economic difficulties. However, the blind facade and the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie

    The Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located on Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, near the Porta Nuova.   SHORT HISTORY Saint Bernardino of Siena came to Bergamo in 1419 for the second time to quell the feuds that divided the Guelph and Ghibelline families of the city. Pietro Ondei, influenced by his preaching, gave the saint a piece of land to build a church and a convent for the Franciscan friars. The church was founded on April 27, 1422, by the bishop Francesco Aregazzi. The project of urban reorganization of the city from the 19th century included the construction of a large avenue – Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, which connected the railway station to Porta Sant’Agostino, one of the entrances to the upper part of the city, Bergamo Alta. For this reason, the monastic order was suppressed in 1810, the church was demolished in 1856 and then rebuilt a little further from the original place. The ancient church was dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie, but with the dogmatic proclamation of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854, the bishop of Bergamo, Pietro Luigi Speranza, renamed the church to Santa Maria Immacolata delle Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen

    The Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located in the modern part of the city, known as Città Bassa, along the famous Sentierone, one of the most important avenues of the town.   SHORT HISTORY A former church dedicated to Saint Stephen was demolished on November 11, 1561, for the construction of the Venetian walls which surrounds the Città Alta. From the numerous friars who lived in the convent, only eight remained as guests in the Church of San Bernardino. On August 14, 1572, the friars moved to the small Church of San Bartolomeo, given to them by the Pope Pius V. The Church of Saint Bartholomew was rebuilt in the first half of the 17th century, more precisely between 1603 and 1642, on a project by the architect Anton Maria Caneva of Como. The church was consecrated on January 19, 1782, by the bishop of Bergamo, Giovanni Paolo Dolfin.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a simple structure, but at the same time elegant and grandiose, measuring 60 meters in lenght and 14 meters in width, without the chapels. The facade, completed at the end of the 19th century by the architect Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Susanna alle Terme di Diocleziano

    The Church of Saint Susanna at the Baths of Diocletian (Chiesa di Santa Susanna alle Terme di Diocleziano) is a beautiful church in Rome, located about 250 meters from the Piazza della Repubblica.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of Santa Susanna is one of the oldest churches in Rome. The original place of worship was built around the year 280 AD on the remains of three Roman villas, outside the wall of the Baths of Diocletian and the Servian Wall, the first wall built to defend the city. According to tradition, the church was built in Susanna’s House, where the Saint was martyred in 294 AD. Excavations made in the 19th century, actually brought to light the remains of a Roman house from the 3rd century, now visible through the glass paving of the sacristy. Other excavations from 1990 brought to light a Roman sarcophagus with fragments of painted plaster inside. Pope Sergius I restored the church at the end of the 7th century, Pope Leo III rebuilt it from the ground in 796 and later, in 1475, the church was rebuilt again by Pope Sixtus IV. The facade of the church was completed in Baroque style in 1603 by Read more [...]

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    Church of San Nicolò l’Arena

    The Church of San Nicolò l’Arena is a church in Catania, located in Piazza Dante Alighieri. The church, measuring 105 meters in length, about 71 meters in width in the transept area, with a maximum height of 66 meters at the dome, is the largest in Sicily. The first church erected by the Benedictines in Catania was entitled Sancti Nicolai de Arenis, after the Saint Nicholas of Bari and the red sandstone (rena rossa) of Nicolosi, a town in the province of Catania from which the monks arrived.   SHORT HISTORY The grandiose Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena was founded on November 28, 1558. The church was inaugurated in 1578, in the presence of the viceroy of Sicily, Juan de la Cerda. In 1669, the structure was destroyed by the Etna eruption that struck the western side of the city. Starting with 1687, the church was rebuilt further south than the original site, on a project by the Roman architect Giovanni Battista Contini. In 1693, the works were interrupted by the violent earthquake of Val di Noto, and for the next thirty years the monastery remained without a main church. In 1730, the construction of the church was resumed, and Read more [...]

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    Basilica della Collegiata

    Basilica della Collegiata, also known as Basilica Maria Santissima dell’Elemosina, is a Baroque church in Catania, located along Via Etnea, a short distance from the Palace of the University.   SHORT HISTORY In the early Christian centuries, a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Proserpina. In the Byzantine era, the church was dedicated to Madonna dell’Elemosina. The church was rebuilt in the early 18th century, like most of the city of Catania, destroyed by the terrible earthquake of 1693. In 1896, Giuseppe Sciuti frescoed the vault and the dome of the church with various paintings of the Blessed Virgin Mary, angels and saints.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The project of the church is attributed to Angelo Italia, an Italian architect who lived in the 17th century, who changed the orientation of the building, in order to have it facing Via Etnea. The facade, designed by Stefano Ittar, is a beautiful example of the Sicilian Baroque. The facade has two orders, with six stone columns on the first order, surmounted by a balustrade. On the second order, there is a central window and four large statues of Saint Read more [...]

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    Church of San Placido

    The Church of San Placido is a church in Catania, located in the square of the same name, about 120 meters from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY The original structure of the church dates back to 1409, and was built on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Bacchus. The church was razed to the ground by the catastrophic earthquake of 1693, which almost completely destroyed the city of Catania. On the initiative of three nuns who escaped the ruins of the church, the reconstruction, entrusted to the architect Stefano Ittar, began shortly after the earthquake. The new church was consecrated in 1723 and completed in 1769. In 1976, the church was closed due to structural problems and, after about three years of consolidation, it was reopened for worship in 1979.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, in Sicilian Baroque style, is made of white Taormina stone. On each side of the portal, there are the statues of saints Placido and Benedetto, and above, on the second order, smaller, those of the saints Scolastica and Geltrude, work of the sculptor Carmelo Distefano. The facade, concave in the center, is enclosed by a convex Read more [...]