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 1669, the monastery was sold to the nuns of Santa Maria in Reggio to finance the war in Candia.
With the closure of the convent in 1807, the parish of San Giorgio also disappeared and assumed the role of an oratory dependent on the Church of Santo Stefano, located about 300 meters away.
Under the Austrian domination, with the construction of the new fortifications in 1837, a large part of the complex was demolished.
On March 2, 1874, after a decision of the Holy See, San Giorgio in Braida became an autonomous parish again, while in 1938 it underwent a cycle of restoration work which led to the partial reconstruction of the 16th-century cloister.
The facade, in Renaissance style, with some elements of Baroque architecture, can be divided into two architectural orders. The lower one, dating back to the 16th century, is enriched by the presence of Ionic pillars. The higher order, on the other hand, probably from the following century, is decorated with pillars of the Corinthian order.
The material used for the facade is white marble, unlike the rest of the church, which is almost entirely in terracotta. Two side niches on the facade house the statues of San Giorgio and San Lorenzo Giustiniani.
The imposing dome of the church was designed by the Veronese architect Michele Sanmicheli. The dome has a diameter of 14 meters, while its oculus is placed at a height of 34 meters above the floor.
The design of the bell tower, remained unfinished, is also attributed to the Veronese architect Michele Sanmicheli, but was built, in fact, by his disciple, Bernardino Brugnoli.
The interior of the church, completed between 1536 and 1543, has a single nave with four chapels on each side. The nave ends in an apse, which contains the presbytery.
Numerous and important works of art are kept in the church. The side chapels are embellished with works by artists such as Giovan Francesco Caroto, Felice Brusasorzi, Pasquale Ottino, Girolamo dai Libri, Sigismondo de Stefani and Francesco Montemezzano.
Above the main door, there is the Baptism of Christ by Tintoretto, while in the presbytery we can find two canvases painted by Paolo Farinati and Domenico Brusasorzi, the Multiplication of the loaves and, respectively, The manna in the desert. Hanging in the apse is the Martyrdom of Saint George, a work of Paolo Veronese, dating back to 1564.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of San Giorgio in Braida is located about 2.8 kilometers away from the Verona Porta Nuova railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazzetta San Giorgio, near the church, on the bus Lines 31, 32, 33 and 91.
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