The Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare, also known as the Duomo di Verona, is the cathedral of Verona, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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 pink marble, and the upper part in tuff. The lower part has spiral columns supporting an arch, while the upper part has an arch surmounted by a tympanum, resting on two griffins and eight columns.
On the facade, there are two large double-arched windows and a central rose window surrounded by a blind loggia. Above the rose window, there is a coat of arms of Cardinal Agostino Valier, bishop of Verona for three decades.
The portal, work of the sculptor Niccolò, is carved with images of biblical prophets and of real and fantastic animals taken from medieval bestiaries. The lateral portal, on which the bell tower rises, presents two orders of columns with highly decorated capitals, bas-reliefs and remains of frescoes from the 14th century.
The interior of the church is divided into three naves by tall pillars, in red Verona marble, which support Gothic arches. The central nave is completed by the main chapel and was designed by the architect Michele Sanmicheli. The side chapels are enriched by numerous sculptures and paintings, the most famous being the painting of the Assumption of the Virgin by Tiziano Vecellio.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Cathedral of Verona is located about 2.6 kilometers from the Verona Porta Nuova railway station. The closest bus stop is near the church, in Piazza Duomo, on the bus Lines 70, 96 and 97.