The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunciata is the beautiful Cathedral of Vicenza, located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza del Duomo. The church, dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.
Studies carried out in the second half of the 20th century attest to the presence in the 3rd century AD of a Christian place of worship, housed in a pre-existing Roman building of the 1st century. After the Edict of Constantine of 313, a small church was built here, which was rebuilt later, in the second half of the 5th century.
Around the year 600, the first bishop of Vicenza, Oronzio, replaced this church with a larger, rectangular one with three naves. Around the year 1000, the church, now the cathedral of the city, was enriched by a complex of three apses. The church was damaged by the terrible earthquake of 1117, and it was once again replaced by a larger one with five naves supported by pillars and arches.
The cathedral was damaged again in 1236, this time during the sacking of Vicenza by the troops of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. The bishop Bartolomeo da Breganze initiated a new intervention, which brought the church back to three aisles supported by vaults.
The current appearance of the cathedral dates back to the middle of the 15th century. The Gothic facade was built between 1444 and 1467, and the existing chapels and apse were repaired around the same time.
The construction of the new apse began in 1482 on a project by Lorenzo da Bologna, and a temporary roof was built in 1540. Around 1530, the northern portal and the dome were built by the architect Andrea Palladio.
During the Second World War, the cathedral was heavily hit by bombing, which destroyed the dome, much of the nave and severely damaged the facade and the southern chapels. The reconstruction began immediately after the conflict, but was completed only in 2002.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The Gothic facade of the cathedral is attributed to Domenico da Venezia. The facade is divided into four sectors, the lower with five deep arches, the second with pilasters, the third smooth and the fourth decorated with five statues and two pinnacles added in 1948.
The interior of the cathedral is also in Gothic style, with a single nave covered by a cross vault, on which various side chapels open.
The apse corresponds to the central nave, on which there is a raised presbytery. The wall of the apse, with the main altar in the center, is decorated with the fine Paramento Civran, consisting of various canvases placed inside a stucco, surmounted by statues of angels.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunciata is located about 650 meters from the Vicenza railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza Castello 27, about 180 meters away, on the bus Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 17, 18, 101, 121, 123, 124, 125, 129, 133, 134 and 142. To find the cathedral on foot, use the map below.