Inspired by the Muscovite style, it has a very richly decorated interior with many icons, murals and carved woodwork as well as an iconostasis of embossed metal. The primary vocation of this site being a place of worship, certain rules must be respected.
Situated on the island of Saint Honorat off the coast of Cannes, the Notre Dame de Lérins Abbey is a Cistercian monastery.
The abbey was founded around 410AD when Saint Honorat came here with the intention of living as a hermit but was soon joined by his disciples. Together they formed a community that became “an immense monastery” around the year 427. According to legend, Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, studied here in the 5th century.
Today, open or guided tours are offered. The visitor can discover the fortified monastery with the main church dedicated to Saint Honorat in its centre and the Sainte-Marie church to the north. Also the 11th/12th century cloisters that border the common rooms such as the chapter room and refectory. The chapels, numbering seven, are distributed over the island. Finally, the hot shot furnaces remind us that the island and even the monastery had the role of defending the French coast.
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
Dating from the 17th century, bought by the municipality in 1993, this listed monument is one of the most visited historical and cultural sites in the Var.
This monument is composed of a hexagonal dungeon, an entrance with adjoining curtain and bastions.
The village of Cucuron dates from before the 11th century. You can admire its medieval ramparts with their gates and towers, including a belfry from the 12th to 16th centuries, the Notre-Dame-de-Beaulieu Church (13th century).
The Church of Lourmarin (eleventh century), part of the diocese of Avignon, was first linked to the history of the famous priory of Saint-André-de Villeneuve les Avignon. It was then without a chapel choir made up of two bays only.
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.
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.
The archaeological dig carried out in several batches between 1976 and 1999, allowed for the building’s constructive stages to be rediscovered. The digs involved an area which used to be part of a large extra-urban necropolis, where, at the beginning of the 5th century, there was an early-Christian complex which also included the cruciform church of S. Lorenzo. At the centre of the south nave, the basement of a funeral building was found, it may be dated to some time between the 4th and 5th centuries A.D.; the primitive church, which was erected to the north of this mausoleum, consisted of a simple apsidal hall surrounded by a portico destined for use as privileged burial grounds.
In the 9th century, the church was completely rebuilt and enlarged, moving the general axis of the building southwards, the eastern extremity has three apses, while the facade was rebuilt to the west of the early-Christian one. In the year 989, a bell tower was added to the facade, the remains of which are still visible up to a height of approximately 15 m.
The archeological dig of the choir of the church of S. Orso allowed for a square-shaped floor mosaic to be brought back to the surface, it was unknown and not mentioned by the sources, it was made with black and white tiles with some inserts of light brown coloured tiles. A series of six circles inscribed in the square, acts as a frame for the central decorations. In the central medallion there is an elegant representation of Samson killing the lion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clinging to a sheer rock overhanging one of the deepest parts of Lake Maggiore, the hermitage is a monastery made up of three buildings dating back to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It offers a wonderful blend of art and history set against one of the most charming natural canvases on Lake Maggiore, in which the rock appears to almost form a balcony leaning out towards the Borromean Islands. The hermitage can be easily accessed via a short walk from the lake or a picturesque staircase with 268 steps from a large square above, and a lift has recently been installed.
Built between 1922 and 1930, the Basilique de la Visitation is the chapel at the Visitation monastery and the place housing the tombs of Francois de Sales (1567-1622) and Jeanne de Chantal (1572-1641), co-founders of the religious order.
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.
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.
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
The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is a vital part of the Lyon cityscape and you’d be a fool not to go up there. Mr Mayor, Gérard Collomb, even calls it a “treasure of humanity”. With one of the best views over the entire city, it understandably draws in busloads, who all load off to celebrate Mary and the paraphernalia of Christianity.
Then you have those who hike up there for a brisk morning walk to lord it over the panoramic view and feel regal.
The beautiful white Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, known by locals as the upside-down elephant, sits on the top of Fourvière hill, aka the ‘praying hill’, in Lyon’s 5th district, where the world of Catholics rubs shoulders with vestiges of Ancient Rome.
From its dominant position, looming over the city below with vantage points aplenty, Fourvière has become a symbol of Lyon, attracting over 2 million visitors annually. Designed by Pierre Bossan, Fourvière basilica draws from both Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, two non-Gothic models that were unusual choices at the time. It’s actually one church on top of another.
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.
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!
The Puy-en-Velay Cathedral, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, ranks as the 2nd favorite monument of the French in the show presented on France 2 by Stéphane Bern in 2015.
After a first church built in the fifth century, the cathedral was built on Mount Anis. In the twelfth century, the influx of pilgrims led to sit four spans above a vaulted porch, to compensate for the slope of Mount Anis. The entrance was made by a staircase which opened in the middle of the central nave.
In the nineteenth century, the building was considerably transformed, but the six cupolas and beautiful painted decorations were preserved. From 1994 to 1999, an overall restoration allowed the restoration of the central staircase closed in the eighteenth century, the repair of interior facing and the winding of the organ with its double-sided buffet of the seventeenth century.
A new altar was placed at the crossing of the transept, while the altar of the "pilgrims", against the wall, carries the "Black Virgin" who replaced the primitive statue, burned to the Revolution.
North of the town of Le Puy-en-Velay, Aiguilhe is famous for its rock (a dormant volcanic pipe) with an astonishing and magnificent chapel dedicated to St Michael built in the 10th century.
This is one of the most important pre-Romanesque and Romanesque monuments in Auvergne.
Prosper Mérimée included the building in the first list of Historic Monuments drawn up in 1840. More recently, it came fourth in the list of French people’s favourite monuments in 2014.
Godescalc, the Bishop of Puy, and Truannus, the dean of the chapter of Puy Cathedral, commissioned work on a chapel devoted to St Michael in 961. Godescalc was also the first French pilgrim to follow the Way of St James in about 950, inaugurating the "Via Podiensis" trail to Santiago de Compostela.
The original oratory in this imposing structure was limited to today’s choir area. It was enveloped in a larger monument in the 12th century, built to follow the outlines of the rock’s summit. The extended chapel was built without foundations, and contains a nave, an ambulatory and a tribune, along with a remarkable polychrome and trefoil-shaped facade.
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.
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).