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. Discover below one of the most important churches .

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    Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri

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

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    Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno

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

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    Church of Santa Maria della Spina

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

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    Church of Santa Maria di Loreto

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

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    Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli

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

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    Oratorio dei Santi Rocco e Sebastiano

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

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    Church of San Pietro

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

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    Church of San Lorenzo

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

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    Church of the Immaculate Conception

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

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    Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth

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

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    Church of San Giovanni Battista

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

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    Church of Saints Peter and Paul

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

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    Church of San Giuseppe

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

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    Church of the Holy Spirit

    The Church of the Holy Spirit (Chiesa dello Spirito Santo) is a beautiful church located on the seafront of the Ortygia island, in Syracuse.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1727, during the Spanish domination of Sicily, by the architect Pompeo Picherali. The church stands on the site of the ancient First Church of Syracuse, built in the 4th century by the Bishop Germano and affected by the earthquakes of 1542 and 1693.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, built in Baroque style, has three orders separated by scrolls and marked by pilasters, surmounted by a three-mullioned window. The whole facade from white limestone is a continuous play of shapes, rich in decorations, with Corinthian elements. The church is the only one in Syracuse with an external dome. The dome has a diameter of 8 meters and is also in Baroque style The interior of the church has a Latin cross plan with three aisles. The vaults are decorated with frescoes and stucco. Unfortunately, today, the church is in poor condition, due to the numerous water infiltrations from the roof. The majestic pipe organ is in complete abandon and the stuccos and frescoes on the roof are Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia

    The Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia is a church dedicated to the patron saint of Syracuse, Saint Lucia, located in Piazza Duomo, on the beautiful island of Ortygia, in Syracuse. The church is the place where is held, every year in May, the Feast of Santa Lucia delle Quaglie, to celebrate the miracle of 1646 which occurred right here.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built between 1695 and 1703 after a project by the architect Luciano Caracciolo, on the site of a monastery from the 15th century, which was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Originally, the facade overlooked the street Via Picherali, but now it’s facing the main square of the city, Piazza Duomo. The structure of the church was heavily damaged during the Second World War, and a restoration took place in the 20th century. The flooring of the nave was replaced in 1970, as it was severely damaged due to humidity.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade is entirely built of light limestone and is divided in two orders by a wrought iron balcony. The balcony is not the original one, which was dismantled during the Second World War. The sumptuous portal of the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni Battista

    The Church of San Giovanni Battista is a church located in the upper part of the historical center of Riomaggiore.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1340, as stated by a plaque on the facade, at the behest of the bishop of the diocese of Luni, Antonio Fieschi. Due to a collapse of the church, an important restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1871. The extension of the complex and the reconstruction of the facade in the neo-gothic style preserved, however, the 14th-century rose window in white Carrara marble.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the left side of the church, are still visible today the single-lancet windows and the two entrances in Gothic style decorated with zoomorphic and anthropomorphic elements. The interior has a basilica plan and is divided into three naves, with ogival arches. Among the preserved works of art inside the church are a triptych in the right aisle, attributed to the master Benedetto Antelami, a painting depicting the Preaching of John the Baptist, work of the painter Domenico Fiasella, a wooden crucifix by Anton Maria Maragliano and a marble pulpit of 1663.   HOW TO GET THERE The Church of San Giovanni Battista is Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia

    The Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia is located in the seaside village of Vernazza, near the main square of the town, Piazza Guglielmo Marconi.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that a first church in Romanesque style was built on this place in the 11th century. Two centuries later, the current church was raised on the foundations of the previous one, of which only the apse remained. The new building is mentioned for the first time in a document from 1318. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, the structure was considerably enlarged, however, destroying the medieval facade. In the 18th century, the church underwent a new renovation, with the interior being redecorated in Baroque style. From the 19th century, the access to the church is made from the square, through a door built in the apse area. Between 1964 and 1970, new restorations were made: the wooden roof was replaced, the bell tower was elevated and the interior was again redecorated in Romanesque style.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a 40-meter-high octagonal bell-tower, crowned with arches and with an ogival dome on top. Inside, there are two paintings from the 17th century, a processional crate and a wooden crucifix, Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Assunta

    Along with the sea, the beach and the colorful buildings, the back of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta completes the superb painting of this beautiful seaside town named Camogli.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built, according to historical sources, in the 12th century, on a rock in the immediate vicinity of the marina. Over the years, the structure has undergone various interventions and extensions, especially in the 16th century and in the 19th century. In 1970, in the three niches of the facade facing the small Isola square, the statues of the saints Prospero, Fortunato and the Madonna del Boschetto were placed. The building was consecrated in 1826 by the Archbishop of Genoa, Monsignor Luigi Lambruschini, and again, in 1847, by Monsignor Placido Maria Tadini.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The interior, decorated in Baroque style, consists of three naves and is entirely covered with fine stuccos in gold and polychrome marble. In the vault, frescoes of the late 19th century are preserved, made by the painters Nicolò Barabino and Francesco Semino. The high altar was made by the sculptor Andrea Casareggio, while in the sacristy we can find a painting by Luca Cambiaso. The chapels of the right Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giorgio

    The Church of San Giorgio is a small Catholic church in Portofino, located on an elevated position, enjoying a panoramic view of the Marina di Portofino.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in Romanesque style in 1154. The structure was revised and modified in 1691 and, at the same time, the road of Salita San Giorgio was widened, allowing to reach the church from the main square of the village. A further restoration took place in 1760. During the second war, the church was completely destroyed by a bomb. The reconstruction work started in 1950, and the church was rebuilt following the plans from 1760. Inside the church, there are the relics of St. George, the patron saint of Portofino, brought by the sailors returning from the Crusades.   HOW TO GET THERE You can get to the Church of San Giorgio after a short climb of about 200 meters. Passing by the Church, you can reach Castello Brown after another 200 meters.

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    Assisi Cathedral of San Rufino

    The Cathedral of San Rufino, known also as the Duomo of Assisi, is the main Catholic church in Assisi, located in the homonymous square. The Cathedral was built on a terrace that probably was the place of the ancient Roman forum of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The body of San Rufino was probably brought to Assisi in the 8th century and a first church was built on this place around the same time. Ugone, Bishop of Assisi from 1028, moved the episcopal seat from the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore to the Church of San Rufino, and made the latter a Cathedral in 1036. In 1134, it was decided to demolish the Ugonian Basilica and to build a new and more imposing cathedral. The work for the new church, on a project by Giovanni da Gubbio, was started in 1140, but the construction lasted for several decades. In 1228, Pope Gregory IX consecrated the high altar and, in 1253, the whole church was consecrated by Innocent IV. In 1571, the interior of the cathedral was renovated according to a project by Galeazzo Alessi.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Cathedral is one of the most significant works of the Read more [...]

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    Cefalù Cathedral

    Cefalù Cathedral, or Duomo di Cefalù, is a beautiful church built in Norman architectural style in Cefalù, dominating the skyline of the medieval town with its fortress-like appearance.   SHORT HISTORY The Cathedral of Cefalù was built by Roger II of Altavilla, King of Sicily, Puglia and Calabria, in the year 1131. According to the legend, the king, traveling by ship from Salerno to Palermo, came across a storm, and vowed to build a church there, after he landed safe on the city’s beach. The work began with the laying of the foundation stone on Sunday, June 7, the day of Pentecost, in the year 1131. The king was present at the ceremony, along with the Archbishop of Messina Ugone and the Sicilian nobility. In 1145, the church was established as the mausoleum of the royal family of Altavilla, but the will of Roger II was never fulfilled, because he died suddenly on February 28, 1154, in Palermo, and was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral of Palermo, where he is still resting. At the death of Roger II, only the presbytery area of the church had been completed, and in the following years, the interest moved to the Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Francesco di Paola

    Basilica of San Francesco di Paola is an impressive church in Piazza del Plebiscito, in Naples, one of the most important examples of neoclassical architecture in Italy.   SHORT HISTORY Joachim Murat, Napoleon’s brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815, started a project of urban renewal of the city during his reign. This affected the suburban area, which later became Piazza del Plebiscito, home to numerous convents and gardens, as well as a place frequented by criminals. The French general ordered the demolition of the buildings and the construction of a square that was supposed to take the name of Foro Gioacchino. The works began in 1809, but were never completed due to the ousting of Joachim Murat from Naples and the restoration of the Bourbon crown. Back to the throne, Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies decided to build a church in the square, and the competition was won by the architect Pietro Bianchi, who had partly rediscovered the old project of Murat. Domenico Barbaia became responsible for building the church and the first stone was laid on 17 June 1816. The facade was finished in 1824, the interior Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Frediano

    One of the oldest churches in Lucca, Basilica of San Frediano is built in Romanesque style in the square with the same name, Piazza San Frediano. Every year, on the evening of September 13, the candlelit procession of Luminara di Santa Croce, part of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, starts here.   SHORT HISTORY An ancient church was built in this place in the 6th century, dedicated to the three holy Levites Vincenzo, Stefano and Lorenzo. The construction of this church is owed to San Frediano, an Irish pilgrim who was bishop of Lucca between 560 and 588. During the Longobard domination, the church was enlarged. At the end of the 8th century, a crypt was built for the body of San Frediano. In 1112, it began the rebuilding of the church, that will be consecrated in 1147 by Pope Eugene III. The project included a church with three naves and an apse, with the facade facing east, unlike the Augustinian rule that oriented it to the west. In the 12th century, the church was lower than we see today. The raising of the central nave and the construction of the wooden ceiling dates back to Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Michele in Foro

    Basilica of San Michele in Foro is a beautiful church in Lucca, located in the square with the same name, Piazza San Michele.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, at the center of the ancient Roman forum, a church dedicated to San Michele (Archangel Michael) was built, together with a monastery and a hospital. Around 1070, by the will of Pope Alessandro II, the reconstruction of the church began, and ended much later, in the 14th century. The new church will have three naves, Corinthian columns with capitals and an apse. The bell-tower was built around the same period, but was later cut off by Giovanni dell’Agnello, Doge of Pisa from 1364 to 1368, because the sound of its bells could be heard from Pisa. During the medieval period, access to the church was made by crossing a wooden bridge, called Ponte al Foro, which passed over the canal Fossa Natali. At the beginning of the 13th century, the works were carried out by the architect Guidetto.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE San Michele in Foro is a church with a Latin cross plan, built in Romanesque style. The facade is adorned with four levels of loggias and surmounted by Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giacomo di Rialto

    Only a few meters away from the Rialto Bridge and the Rialto Market, there is a church considered to be the oldest in Venice, the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, or San Giacometto.   SHORT HISTORY It is believed that the church was consacrated on March 25, 421, but the studies have shown that it was built much later. In a document from 1097, the place is mentioned, but without the church, and the first certain information dates back to 1152. It seems that the church was consecrated in 1177 by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani. In 1513, the church escaped the serious fire that devastated the nearby market. In 1531, it underwent a restoration, and again in 1601, after an order of the Doge Marino Grimani, with the floor being raised to face the high water. Currently, the Church of San Giacomo is a rectorial church, dependent on the parish of San Silvestro.   ARCHITECTURE Interesting are the exterior with the bell tower, the large clock and the Gothic porch, one of the last examples of this kind left in the city. The clock, added to the church in 1410, was restored in 1749, and the entire facade was Read more [...]

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    Church of San Barnaba

    The Church of San Barnaba is a beautiful church in Dorsoduro, in Venice, with a facade inspired by a Greek temple, known by many for being featured in a few scenes of the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.   SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in 936, on the place of a previous church, San Lorenzo, which would probably have been built at beginning of the 9th century. Because of the numerous fires, the Church of San Barnaba underwent several reconstructions, until it was consecrated on December 6, 1350. The current appearance dates back to 1779, when it was completed the renovation work begun in 1749, on a project by the architect Lorenzo Boschetti. In 1810, in full Napoleonic rule, the parish was suppressed and the church was deconsecrated.   ARCHITECTURE The façade of the church, designed by Lorenzo Boschetti, was built in 1749 in a classical style, with Corinthian style columns. The interior has a single-nave structure, with six side altars, three on the right and three on the left, all decorated with paintings, except one, and a presbytery with a square plan. The bell-tower, built in Romanesque style, stands detached from the church. The bell-tower, with Read more [...]

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    Church of San Rocco

    The Church of San Rocco is one of the four plague churches in Venice, along with San Giobbe, San Sebastiano and the Salute. The church was built for the Confraternity of San Rocco, founded in the plague year 1478, with the mission to help the poor and the sick, particularly the people suffering from the disease. San Rocco is the only Venetian church designed as a sacrarium for the remains of its titular saint, St. Roch, whose body is preserved within the high altar.   SHORT HISTORY A church was standing on this place before 1485. The new church was built after a design by the architect Pietro Bon, starting with 1489. In March, 1490, the left side-chapel of the presbytery was finished and ready to receive the remains of St. Roch, which were to be brought from San Silvestro. A competition for the construction of the high altar was won in 1517 by Venturino Fantoni, who designed a reliquary-altar, developed in Venice by the sculptor-architects Pietro and Tullio Lombardo. After 1680, the church was almost entirely demolished and rebuilt between 1726 and 1733 by the architect Giovanni Scalfarotto, who kept only the fifteenth century chancel and the ground-plan of Read more [...]

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    Church of San Stae

    The Church of San Stae stands on the right bank of the Grand Canal, as you come from Piazzale Roma, heading to Piazza San Marco, between Palazzo Vendramin Calergi and Ca d’Oro, at an equal distance. Its external facade, characterized by rich decorations, faces the Canal Grande, and you can not pass beside it on a vaporetto without at least one admirative look.   SHORT STORY The church is said to have been built in 966 and dedicated to Sant’Eustacchio (San Stae, in the Venetian dialect). St. Eustacchio was the commander of Trajan’s army, who would have seen a crucifix between the antlers of a deer, while hunting. The first reference is in a document from 1127, where the church is remembered as a filial parish of San Pietro. This original church, rebuilt in the 12th century following a fire, was demolished in 1678. The current church was built by Giovanni Grassi, who realigned it to face the Grand Canal.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade, which has the form of a temple, with an imposing triangular pediment, supported by columns resting on high pedestals, was built by Domenico Rossi in 1709, whose design was the winner of a competition. Read more [...]

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    Church of San Geremia e Santa Lucia

    The Church of San Geremia e Santa Lucia is a church in Venice, located on the left bank of the Grand Canal, as you are heading to Piazza San Marco, right before its confluence with Canale di Cannaregio.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Geremia was founded in the 11th century by Mauro Tosello, who used it to house the arm of St. Bartholomew brought from Apulia in 1043. The church was dedicated to the prophet Jeremiah, an old testament figure. The church was rebuilt in 1174 by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani and reconsecrated in 1292. Later, the church was demolished and rebuilt again in 1753, by Carlo Corbellini, a Brescian priest and architect. The first mass was celebrated on April 27th, 1760, during the final works of reconstruction. Following the damage made by the Austrian bombardment from 1849, two facades were built in the second half of the 18th century, one facing Campo San Geremia (St. Jeremiah Square), and the other one oriented towards Cannaregio Canal. A chapel built in 1863 contains the relics of the Sicilian Santa Lucia, stolen by Enrico Dandolo during the Sack of Constantinople, which, in 1204, marked the end of the Fourth Crusade. Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria e San Donato

    Also known as the Duomo di Murano, the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato is one of the oldest buildings in the Venetian lagoon. Of byzantine conception, the church preserves the relics of Saint Donatus of Arezzo, martyred in the 4th century after Christ, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Iulianus.   SHORT HISTORY A document from the year 999 shows that the church had been built in the 7th century, when many refugees from the continent arrived on the Murano Island. Initially, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and later, in 1125, when the relics of St. Donatus were brought from Cephalonia, it received a second patronage. The church, apparently, has been rebuilt at that time, in a Byzantine style, in the form that resisted, to a large extent, until today. The mosaic inside is marked with the year 1141, when these reconstruction works were completed. In the 18th century, the church was redecorated in Baroque style and later, between 1858 and 1873, a return to its original style was attempted. This development of the building was condemned by several voices, because the result was a hybrid between the 12th century style and the Read more [...]

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    Le Zitelle

    Most of the tourists who arrive on Giudecca Island are attracted by Il Redentore, the famous creation of Andrea Palladio, and only a few know that the island hosts another church attributed to the great architect, the Church of Santa Maria della Presentazione, also known as Chiesa delle Zitelle or, simply, Le Zitelle.   SHORT HISTORY Le Zitelle is part of an ecclesiastical complex set up by the Jesuit Benedetto Palmi, to provide shelter to beautiful young girls (zitelle) from poor families who otherwise would become prostitutes. Poor virgins were taken in and trained in lace and music making. They were protected until the age of 18, when they could choose between marriage or becoming nuns. If they chose the marriage, a husband will be found and a dowry will be provided. The church was built between 1581 and 1588 by the architect Jacopo Bozzetto, after a project belonging to Andrea Palladio, which was initially intended for another location. The assignment of the church to Andrea Palladio is somehow controversial. Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio argues that in the absence of the documents that would link Palladio to this creation and because Palladian style is not very Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino

    The Church of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino (Chiesa dei Santi Lorentino e Pergentino) is a small church located along the former ancient Roman road which connected Chiusi, through Arezzo, to Florence.   SHORT HISTORY Some historians cite the ancient Passion of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino, dating back to the VI-VII century, to identify the church as the place of the burial of two Christian martyrs, Lorentino and Pergentino, beheaded on 3 June 250 by the Emperor Decius. Little information exists regarding what happened with the church between the burial of the martyrs and the Middle Ages. A document from 1135 shows that the church belonged to the Benedictine abbey of Saints Flora and Lucilla. In the year 1204, the parish was given to the monks of Camaldoli, to compensate the sale of their church of San Pier Piccolo. They took care of the church from 1252 until the sixteenth century. In 1663, it seems that, of the entire complex, only the church remained. Later, the church was also abandoned and reduced to a barn. This process of continuous decay up to the loss of the entire western part, that of the façade, and the near construction of numerous huts and Read more [...]

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    San Miniato al Monte

    San Miniato al Monte is a beautiful church which stands on one of the highest points in Florence, overseeing the city from above for nearly 1000 years.   SHORT HISTORY St. Miniato was an Armenian soldier, who was killed in the year 250 AD by the Roman soldiers of Emperor Decius, because he converted to Christianity, and Christians were persecuted at that time. He is considered the first martyr of the city and his remains are supposedly kept today in the crypt of St. Miniato al Monte. The oldest historical evidence of a church dedicated to San Miniato dates back to the year 783. The building was neglected and unsafe, and the Florentine bishop Ildebrando began to build a new one on April 27, 1018. The church was finished two hundred years later, in the 13th century. In 1373, the Olivetan monks arrived in Florence, called by the Pope Gregorio XI, and settled in the monastery, where you can still find them today. The Chapel dedicated to the Cardinal Giacomo di Coimbra (Cardinal of Portugal) was built between 1461 and 1466 by Antonio Manetti and finished by Antonio Rossellino, after his death. During the 16th century, with the emergence of Read more [...]

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    Santa Maria Novella

    Santa Maria Novella is a wonderful Dominican church located in the square with the same name, near the train station with the same name, in the beautiful city of Florence.   SHORT HISTORY In 1219, twelve Dominicans arrived in Florence from Bologna, led by Fra’ Giovanni. In 1221, they obtained the small church of Santa Maria delle Vigne, so called for the agricultural land that surrounded it. In 1242, the Dominicans decided to start work on a new and larger church. On October 18, 1279, during the feast of San Luca, the Laying of the First Stone was celebrated, with the blessing of Cardinal Latino Malabranca Orsini. The construction was finished around the middle of the 14th century, but it was consecrated only in 1420, by Pope Martino V. Leon Battista Alberti designed the large central portal and the upper part of the façade, in white and dark green marble, which was completed in 1470. After the Council of Trento, between 1565 and 1571, the interior of the church was redesigned by Giorgio Vasari, with the removal of the choir enclosure and the reconstruction of the side altars, which led to the shortening of the Gothic windows. Between 1575 and Read more [...]

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    Church of the Maestà delle Volte

    The Church of the Maestà delle Volte was a church in Perugia, from which today only the facade has remained. The church is now a clothing store on via Maestà delle Volte, but it still retains its architecture and some of the original frescoes.   SHORT HISTORY In 1297, on the street that passes under the Palazzo del Podesta, was placed a fresco known as Maestà delle Volte, which most likely portrayed Madonna with the Child. An oratory was built in 1335 to house the fresco, that was replaced by a larger church, between 1440 and 1470. Probably, Agostino di Duccio decorated the church in 1475. The church was damaged in 1534, when Ridolfo Baglioni conquered Perugia and set fire to the adjacent palace. Restorations took place in 1538 and between 1557 and 1558. In 1566, when the church became part of the Episcopal Seminary, Bishop Fulvio della Corgna initiated further renovations. The church was a meeting place for the Compagnia della Morte until the end of the 16th century, after which it moved to its own church, Church of Compagnia della Buona Morte. At the end of the 16th century, the facade of the church was built after a Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Domenico

    Basilica of San Domenico, one of the most important churches in Perugia, overlooks a small square, Piazza Giordano Bruno, and can be seen from all over the city, thanks to the 126 meters high tower.   SHORT HISTORY The Dominicans arrived in Perugia around 1230 and, between 1231 and 1260, they built a primitive church where the Basilica of San Domenico stands today. In the years to come, the Dominican order will become important and, in 1304, the construction of a new, larger church will begin. The church will be consecrated by Pope Pio II Piccolomini in 1459. At the start of the 17th century, the nave collapsed and the church was entirely rebuilt following Carlo Maderno’s design, between 1629 and 1632.   ARCHITECTURE The church has an impressive facade, which opens at the top to a stairway with a double ramp. Inside, it has the layout of a Latin cross and is characterised by simplicity. The austerity of the nave contrasts the Gothic style of the glass windows, dated from 1411 and signed by Bartolomeo di Pietro and by Mariotto di Nardo. The top window, 23 meters high, is the largest of the era after the Duomo of Milan. Read more [...]

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    Perugia Cathedral of San Lorenzo

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

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    Temple of Minerva

    In the central square of Assisi, there is an old roman temple from the first century of our era, Temple of Minerva, that was dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and peace from the pagan age. Today, the temple houses the church called Santa Maria sopra Minerva.   SHORT HISTORY Around the years 28-25 BC, in the time of Emperor Augustus, the Roman Forum in Assisi is structured, various temples rise and the city wall is completed. Abouth then, the Temple of Minerva is built. When the pagan cult ceased, the Temple of Minerva remained abandoned and silent for over a century, until the second half of the 5th century, when the Benedictine monks restored the building and used it. With an act of May 24, 1212, the Benedictines granted for rent, for a hundred years, all the rooms of the Temple to the city of Assisi. In 1539, Pope Paul III, visiting Assisi, ordered that the Temple of Minerva to be restored and dedicated to Saint Mary. The Temple takes the name of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. In 1613, the Bishop of Assisi, Marcello Crescenzi, also having the consent of the city council, donates the Temple to the Friars Read more [...]

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    Abbey of Saint Peter

    The Abbey of Saint Peter (Chiesa di San Pietro) is a church inhabited today by a community of monks from the Benedictine Cassinese Congregation, near the entrance in Assisi.   SHORT HISTORY The Abbey of Saint Peter was built at the end of the 10th century, outside the city walls of Assisi, near an ancient Roman necropolis. The presence of the monastery has been documented since 1029, through a manuscript preserved in the Archives of San Rufino. In the first half of the thirteenth century, the history of the community of St. Peter is intertwined with that of St. Francis. The blessed Peter, abbot of Assisi, whose name is mentioned in a document from 1209, gave to Saint Francis the silver chalice which is still preserved in the Chapel of the Relics of the Sacred Convent. Around 1252, after they lived in the monastery for over two centuries, the Benedictines abandoned the place, and in their place came the Cistercians, who completed the construction of the abbey and the church, which was consecrated in 1254 by Innocenzo IV. On the same occasion, the pontiff consecrated the Cathedral of San Rufino and the Basilica of San Francesco. In 1316, following the Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Sant’Eufemia

    The Basilica of Sant’Eufemia rises inside the Archbishop’s Palace, near the Piazza del Duomo, on a place that was once occupied by the palace of the Lombard Dukes of Spoleto.   SHORT HISTORY The first information about the monastery and the church of S. Eufemia dates back to the 10th century, when the Benedictine monk Giovanni Cassinese wrote about the life of S. Giovanni, Archbishop of Spoleto. In the 12th century, the church was encompassed by the Palazzo Vescovile (the Archbishop’s Palace). At the end of the 14th century, a painter was commissioned to paint the complex of the palace. At the middle of the 15th century, the Spoleto diocese was run by the Patriarch of Alexandria, the venetian Marco Condulmer, and the church seems to have changed its title from S. Eufemia to S. Lucia.   HOW TO GET THERE After you visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of Saint Mary, in Piazza del Duomo, you can easily get to the Church of Sant’Eufemia, only 100 meters away. If you need precise directions from anywhere in the city, use the map below.

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    Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels

    Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels (Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli) is a papal church in Assisi, outside city walls, about 4 kilometers from the historic centre. The Basilica shelters the Porziuncola, a small church where the Franciscan movement started and, at the same time, the most sacred place for the Franciscan order.   SHORT HISTORY Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels was built between 1565 and 1685, after a project by Galeazzo Alessi, an italian architect from Perugia. The construction has taken a long time due to constant lack of money, because the church was financed only from donations. After an earthquake on 15 March 1832, the church suffered major damage. The reconstruction of the basilica started in 1836 and was finished 4 years later, in 1840. The architect in charge for the reconstruction was Luigi Poletti. During reconstruction, the façade of the church was remodeled in a neoclassical style, but the architect Cesare Bazzani gave back, between 1924 and 1930, its original form.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The basilica was built in a Mannerist style and has a latin cross structure, 126 meters in lenght and 65 meters wide. The interior has three naves and Read more [...]