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Churches in Florence

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Florence Cathedral
Florence's cathedral stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, with the baptistery right across. The cathedral named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore is a vast Gothic structure built on the site of the 7th century church of Santa Reparata, the remains of which can be seen in the crypt. The exterior is covered in a decorative mix of pink, white and green marble. The interior, by contrast, is pretty stark and plain but quite enjoyable on warm summer days since the temperature inside tends to be cooler. Please note the clock above the entrance on the inside of the church. It was designed in 1443 by Paolo Uccello in accordance with the ora italica, where the 24th hour of the day ended at sunset... and it still works!
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The Medici Chapels
The Medici Chapels form part of the monumental complex of San Lorenzo. The church of San Lorenzo was the official church of the Medici from their period as private residents in their palace in Via Larga (now via Cavour), becoming their mausoleum up to the time of the extinction of the line.
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The Duomo in Siena
The Duomo in Siena lies in a piazza above the Piazza del Campo, a great Gothic building filled with treasures by Pisano, Donatello and Michelangelo as well as frescoes by Pinturicchio.
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The Certosa di Calci
As you exit the main highway at Cascina on the east to west road called the FI-PI-LI and start to drive towards the Apuane Alps, you slowly shake off the busy industrial sensations and start to ease yourself into the quiet and tranquility that first drew the Carthusian monks to this area.
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Knights Square
The Knights’ Square or Piazza dei Cavalieri, lined with splendidly decorated buildings, has for centuries been the political heart of Pisa and is the second most important square after The Square of Miracles. A visit to the Renaissance church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri will give you a real insight in the colourful maritime history of the city. The Knights’ Square – what can you see there? - Palazzo dei Cavalieri was also known as “della Carovana” (Palace of the Convoy). This name derives from the three-year training period undertaken by the initiates of the Order, called “la Carovana”. Vasari embellished it with exquisite sgrafitti, that represent allegorical figures and signs of the zodiac, and the busts of the Grandukes of Tuscany. In front of it stands the huge statue of a victorious Cosimo I proudly ‘squashing’ the head of a dolphin, as a symbol of his naval victories. Today the palace hosts the Normale di Pisa University. The Church of the Knights of the Holy and Military Order of St. Stephen was also designed by Vasari (1565–1569). It contains Ottoman and Saracen naval banners captured by the Knights of St. Stephen. The ceiling shows off paintings with historical episodes involving the order, like the “Return of the Fleet” from the Battle of Lepanto.
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Pisa Cathedral
Pisa Cathedral is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Founded in 1064 and consecrated with great pomp on September 26th 1118, the Cathedral was built in two stages, one by architect Buscheto, who created the original layout with the basilican body with four aisles and one nave, a transept with one nave and two aisles, and the dome on the cross vault, and one by Rainaldo, who extended the building and the façade. The outer facing of the Cathedral is decorated in alternating black and white shades in stripes of Arab influence and a massive use of reused materials from Roman monuments that emphasised the greatness of the city of Pisa, “altera Roma”. Inside, the nave is edged by two rows of monolithic columns made of granite from the Isle of Elba, flanked by four aisles separated by smaller colonnades with large womenís galleries on top, covered by cross vaults and looking out onto the nave through some double-lancet and four-lancet windows. The nave is covered by a wooden coffered ceiling that in the XVII century replaced the original exposed trusses.
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Santa Maria della Spina
The exuberant Santa Maria della Spina Church in Pisa, Italy, is a beautiful work of Gothic fantasy rendered in miniature, that sits on the banks of the Lungarno Gambacorti. The eye-catching Santa Maria della Spina was originally a simple oratory for seamen, who would come here to pray for a safe return. The church was originally closer to the river bank. The church needed to reflect the value of the relic that it contained, so the best artists of the time went to work on it. These included Lupo di Francesco, Andrea Pisano with his sons Nino and Tommaso, and Giovanni di Balduccio. The “Madonna and the child with two angels” in the tabernacle on the façade is attributed to Giovanni Pisano, an important master who also worked at the Cathedral. The sumptuous decorations on the right side and in the tabernacles were made in the workshops of the Giovanni Pisano school. In contrast with the outside, the interior is quite ostentatious. It’s essentially one open space, at one end of which stands the “Madonna of the Rose” by Andrea and Nino Pisano, one of the most notable achievements of Gothic sculpture.
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Baptistery
The Baptistery of San Giovanni was founded on 15 August 1152. It is here that the Sacrament of Baptism is administered and the Christian embarks upon the path of Faith. The reason that such a fascinating and enigmatic building was constructed was certainly the wish to endow the cathedral with a worthy adjunct: a Baptistery that, in terms of position, size, materials and style, would be in harmony with the majestic building that already stood opposite.
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Cattedrale Matropolitana di San Pietro
Cattedrale Matropolitana di San Pietro is the cathedral of Bologna, entitled “Metropolitana” in 1582 by Pope Gregorio XIII, who also turned the diocese of Bologna into an archdiocese. In the past, there was a baptistery in front of the façade and the origins of the building may be traced back to the beginning of the Christian era (even though it is said that the church already existed during the 10th century).
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Tempio Malatestiano
The Tempio Malatestiano, or the church of San Francesco as it was correctly known up until the nineteenth century, is perhaps the most important monument in Rimini, and certainly one of the best preserved.
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The Cathedral of Grosseto
Bishop Rolando, who supported Innocent II during the schism of Anacletus, obtained authorisation to transfer the seat of the See of Rosellana to Grosseto from Innocent II on 9 April 1138. During the 12 C, the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta was the cathedral of Grosseto. It was located more or less in the position the apse of the current cathedral which was finished in 1294, as shown by two dated stone in the façade and inside of the church, one dated 1294 and the other 1295. The present Cathedral of Grosseto is dedicated to San Lorenzo and was built under the supervision of the Siennese Sozzo da Rustichino. The belfry tower was added in 1402 during a period of Siennese domination. (It was restored and modified in 1911.) The façade has lost its original appearance, having been completely rebuilt between 1816 and 1855, but some evidence of the original cathedral has been preserved, notably the symbols of the Evangelists. Between 1859 and 1865, another major restoration gave to the inside of the cathedral a "neo-gothic" appearance that it did not have previously. The major art works are a Baptism Font and the altar of the Madonna of the Graces, both the work of Antonio di Paolo Ghini from between 1470 and 1474, the marvelous Madonna of the Graces by Matteo di Giovanni, also from 1470, and the right side of the cathedral which is in the Siennese style.
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Cathedral of San Lorenzo
Built in the XV Century as a replacement for the earlier Romanesque cathedral, is situated in an area considered sacred since the archaic age, as testified in the several layers recently came to light.
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The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four Papal basilicas of Rome, together with Saint Peter, Saint John in the Lateran and Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
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The Praglia Abbey
As the abbey of Santa Giustina, to which was added in the fifteenth century, the Praglia Abbey has enjoyed various events. Founded in the eleventh century, it was built in fief by Emperor Frederick II in the thirteenth century. Subsequently independent, then in, and finally added to Santa Giustina until 1810 when Napoleon suppressed.
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Basilica of San Zeno
A Romanesque basilica rebuilt after the earthquake in 1117 round a nucleus dating from the 4th or 5th century.Note on the outside the façade with the large rose window called the “Wheel of Fortune”, the marble bas-reliefs on either side of the porch, the famous bronze doors, the bell-tower and the Abbey Tower
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Church of the Sant Annunziata
Not to be missed is a place which preserve the memory of the ancient State of the Pallavicini and precious architectures of the 15th century,Church of the Sant’Annunziata.
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The Cathedral of Vicenza
The construction of the apse in the Cathedral of Vicenza had begun in 1482 to the design of Lorenzo da Bologna, but in 1531 it was still unfinished. Early, temporary, roofing was erected in 1540, as a result of the possibility that Vicenza might host the Church Council which in the end was held at Trent.
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Saint Mark's Square
Saint Mark’s Square is surely a place that can’t be missed, an exhibition of rare and unique beauty appear on a 360° view in front of the visitors, the Saint Mark’s Church, the bell tower, the “procuratie” and the Napoleonic wing, the clock tower and the two blacks. The Church, a Romanic Byzantine style was born initially as a mausoleum of the Patron Saint, it has 5 domes, marbles and mosaics to embellish the façade, inside, decorations and wall of golden leaf mosaics represents tales of the Patron Saint. The bell tower is the highest point of the city, 98.6 meters tall, from the top there is a unique and breathtaking view of the isle, it was originally built as a watchtower and a lighthouse in the IX century. Finally the clock tower, also a renaissance style palace, its arcade allow to enter into the square from the “Mercerie” so called because during the Republic there where many shops selling precious merchandise coming from distant ports. Today the Mercerie are site for various commercial activities, mostly murano glass shops and most modern cloth and gift shops.
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St. Mark s Basilica
If you are in Venice you cannot miss the opportunity to visit St Mark’s Church, the famous San Marco Basilica. It is one of the most valuable treasures of history, art and faith in the world, located in St Mark's Square, the so-called ‘drawing room of Europe’. When you visit St Mark’s Cathedral you cannot avoid gazing at the vast amount of decorations, mosaics, architectonic structures, precious objects and sacred and allegorical images that adorn the church inside and outside. To face all this in the best way before delving into the details, it is important to let oneself be swept away by this abundance, which changes time after time depending on the lighting, one’s stance and many other details that all together turn San Marco Basilica into a constantly new and deep experience to live in Italy. A visit of St Mark’s Basilica means entering into an intricate world imbued with religion, art and sacred images that narrate in detail the history of Venice: the beauty of this place is nonetheless blindingly evident and one does not need to decipher it in order to appreciate it.
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Basilica of St. Peter
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest temples for Christendom and one of the largest churches in the world. Besides, it is where the Pope presides many liturgies all year round. The construction of the new basilica began in 1506, when the old basilica had been torn down, and was finished in 1626. It was consecrated on 18 November, 1626. Several renowned architects designed the temple, highlighting the works of Bramante, Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno. The basilica was called St Peter’s after one of Jesus’s twelve disciples known as Saint Peter, who became one of the founders of the Catholic Church and was executed in Rome and buried where the Basilica now stands. Visiting St Peter’s Basilica is an unforgettable experience when staying in Rome. Visitors mustn’t miss out on climbing to the top of the dome, where a stunning view of St Peter’s Square, and if the day is clear of most of the city, awaits them.
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Church of St. Euphemia
A small church of St. George used to be situated where the Church of St. Euphemia is located today. When St. Euphemia's sarcophagus was brought to Rovinj, the Church of St. George became too small for all the pilgrims. In the 10th century, the people of Rovinj started building a new, bigger church. It was a three-nave church with three projected apses and wooden statues of St. George and St. Euphemia. At the beginning of the 17th century, a new gold-plated stone statue was erected which until this day remains on the altar of the Saint. The church itself required with time more and more reparations, and the town population grew so that the people of Rovinj decided to build an even bigger church. The building process started in 1725 and lasted until 1736. Three main altars were built in 1741, and the organ was installed in 1754. The façade was designed and built in the second half of the 19th century. Many altars and paintings enrich and embellish the church from within.
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Franciscan Monastery Rovinj
Rovinj represented an exception among the cities on the west coast by the lack of a Franciscan monastery during the first period of the existence of the order. Only at the end of the fifteenth century, the Diocese of San Geronimo decided to build one on the island of St. Andrew (Red Island) near Rovinj, upon the site of the Benedictine hospice and the church from the sixth century. According to tradition, the monastery was founded by St. John of Capistrano, a famous missionary engaged in the fight against the Turks. His body is kept in the Franciscan monastery of Ilok, in eastern Croatia. In 1807, after nearly four centuries after its foundation, the monastery of Saint Andrew was closed by Napoleonic authorities. In the early eighteenth century, the St. Anthony's Franciscan reformers built a new monastery in the north, in the continental part of the city, which was not yet connected to the mainland. In 1696 the City Council invited the Franciscans to come to Rovinj to erect a new hospice. The approval of the Doge Alvise Mocenigo arrived in 1700 and two years later, in 1702 the construction of the church and hospice began. On that occasion, for the first time explosive was used in Rovinj to derive rock tanks for rainwater.
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Chapel of St. Maria Formosa
It is one of the two chapels built in the 6th century as part of a large Benedictine abbey demolished in the 16th century. The floor and walls were decorated with mosaics, some of which are now in the Archaeological Museum of Istria. It was built in the style of Ravenna churches, the only difference being the use of stone instead of brick. Due to its dimensions, method of construction and good state of preservation, the Chapel represents an extraordinary architectural masterpiece of its time.
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Church of St.Thomas Rovinj
St. Thomas church is situated 4 kilometres north of Rovinj, next to the old railway line that led from Rovinj to a small place Kanfanar. This edifice has a cross ground plan lately completed by a church tower placed on its north side. There is a six metres high apse, semicircular on the inside part and polygonal on the outside part. Lateral windows are enriched by semi-circular apses as well, although being constructed of smaller size. These apses are connected with the central nave by a high semi-circular passage. In the north part of the church, the original paving was discovered along with the preserved stand of shrine partition with several niches for pilasters. Above the central part, the remains of arches that upheld the retracted construction high above the roofing are still visible. A radical constructional intervention was undertaken on the church in the 16th century, changing completely its original form. Since the lateral arches were walled in the whole edifice got one nave. The west part of the edifice was significantly shortened and altered by a new forepart with two square windows.
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Milan Cathedral
The construction of the Duomo di Milano initiated in 1386 on the site of the ancient basilicas of Santa Tecla and Santa Maria Maggiore, which were then demolished at a later date. Dedicated to Maria Nascente, the cathedral was commissioned by Gian Galeazzo Visconti and had a dual purpose: the plan was to replace the sites of worship in the heart of Milan with an imposing edifice and it was also intended to celebrate the Visconti Signoria and its ambitious expansion policy. It is the largest and most complex Gothic building in Italy, made of pink-veined white marble from the Candoglia quarries, in the Val d'Ossola. It is 157 metres in length and covers an area of 11,700 m2. The highest spire measures 108.5 and, in October 1774, the golden 4,16 metre-high statue of the Madonna by the sculptor Giuseppe Perego was placed on its pinnacle. The construction works were prolonged over five centuries and, during this extensive period, local and European architects, sculptors, artists and workers all proceeded in turn to work in the Fabbrica del Duomo. The result of all their labour is a unique style of architecture, a fusion of European Gothic style and Lombard tradition.
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Santegidio in Fontanella Abbey
Visiting this enchanting abbey, established one thousand years ago, you will experience the very same atmosphere of knights, crusades and religious mysteries. Surrounded by the lush forests of the mount Canto, this church kept its charming and austere Romanesque architecture, decorated by the fragments of ancient frescoes, which used to cover its walls
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The church of SantEvasio
The church of Sant’Evasio was founded in the first half of the 8th century, at the time of the Lombard King Liutprand, who wished to honour the saint by erecting a great basilica over the little church of San Lorenzo, built by Evasius himself.
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The Baroque Church
The main historic site is the Baroque church of the village which has a tall square bell tower and inside there are some frescos and paintings by Paul Mathieu Novellini in a style which is typically Corsican.
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The Comos Cathedral
Como, the Duomo (Cathedral) seen from the eastern side of the piazza, where in only a single block, the Duomo, the Broletto and the city tower are located. Como's Duomo is the last of the Gothic cathedrals built in Lombardy: it was begun in 1396, ten years after the foundation of Milan 's Duomo.
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Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation
This interesting neo-Romanesque building with three naves and a noticeable green dome dates from 1906. Its construction, to the designs of the architect Karl Seidl, was begun by the Austrians and continued by the Italians.
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St. Francis and the Basilica
The World Heritage Committee included on its list the Basilica and other sites important to the Franciscan Order, due to the fact that they represent an amalgamation of masterpieces stemming from creative human genius
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Badia di Ganna
The San Gemolo Abbey in Ganna is an architectural complex formed by the church (consecrated in 1160), the bell tower, the cloister and the monks' homes. The abbey is located in the municipality of Valganna and is a place of worship dedicated to the memory of San Gemolo. According to the legend, the Saint walked to the abbey to be buried, bringing his own head in the hand. The cloister hosts the Museum of the Abbey with heterogeneous material, from prehistoric finds to nineteenth-century laces and embroideries.
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St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus’ Cathedral is the only Baroque rotunda of monumental proportions built on Croatian soil. The construction of this church, designed by the Jesuit architect G. Briano, began in 1638. It was made on the model of the famous Venetian church of Santa Maria della Salute.
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Monaco Cathedral
Built with the stark white stones from La Turbie in 1875, this Roman-Byzantine-style building houses the burial places of past sovereigns, including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.
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Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat
The Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat is the largest pilgrimage centre of Western Croatia. Its foundation is reported to be, according to tradition, related to the miraculous transport of the Nazareth Barn, and its stay on Trsat (1291 – 1294). Shortly after the relocation of the Mother of God’s house to Loreto, Prince Nikola I of Krk built the first small church on the place where the barn stood on Trsat. Marija`s Trsat became a pilgrimage point of convergence, the reputation of which was strengthened by the astounding painting of the Lady of Trsat, which was a gift given to the inconsolable Croats in 1367 by Pope Urban V for the loss of the Holy Barn. In the XV century, the Sanctuary was taken over by Franciscans, who have remained its guardians to the present day. On 8 June 2003, Pope John Paul II attended a long pilgrimage procession.