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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    Basilica of San Miniato al Monte

    The Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is a Romanesque church in Florence, located on one of the highest points in the city, in Via delle Porte Sante. San Miniato (Saint Minias) 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 San Miniato al Monte.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

    The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is a wonderful Dominican church located in Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 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 surrounding agricultural land. 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 completed around the middle of the 14th century, but the church was consecrated only in 1420, by Pope Martino V. Leon Battista Alberti designed the large central portal and the upper part of the facade, in white and dark green marble, which was completed in 1470. After the Council of Trent, 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 1577, the Gaddi Chapel (Cappella Gaddi) was Read more [...]

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    Il Redentore

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

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    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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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

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

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    Basilica of Saint 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 [...]

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    Santa Maria della Salute

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