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.
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 wall.
In the following centuries, there were various initiatives aimed at the restoration and conservation of the church in its original appearance.
The Church of Santo Stefano appears as a sum of architectural elements of different centuries and styles. The southern wall and the general layout date back to the ancient building of the 5th century, the crypt and the facade represent a clear example of Veronese Romanesque architecture, while the Varalli Chapel is exquisitely Baroque.
A separate mention must be made of the imposing lantern (tiburio) that rises at the intersection between the transept and the nave, the only one of its kind in Verona, but typical of the Lombard Romanesque style.
Another practically unique feature of its kind is the presence, in the apse area, of two overlapping ambulatories, perhaps used by pilgrims to approach the relics.
Inside the church, there are many works of art. On the walls, there are numerous frescoes ranging from the medieval ones by unknown authors, to those by Giacomo da Riva and Martino da Verona, and further to those by Domenico Brusasorzi, belonging to the Mannerist era.
Among the artists who contributed to the endowment of the church, we can also mention the painters Paolo Farinati, Marcantonio Bassetti, Pasquale Ottino, Alessandro Turchi and Giovanni Francesco Caroto.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of Santo Stefano is located about 3 kilometers away from the Verona Porta Nuova railway station. The closest bus stop is in Via Santo Stefano 14, near the church, on the bus Lines 31, 32, 33, 73, 91 and 104.
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