The largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is more than just the most important building in Christendom. It is a jewel within Vatican City from where Popes have spread the word of God throughout the world. The Basilica is a focal point of millions of pilgrims each year, but it is also a true cultural, historical and architectural landmark. The classic Renaissance structure holds within itself treasures from millennia including paintings, sculptures, artefacts and the art decorated on the walls. A visit to St. Peter’s Basilica is a treat to the senses and the soul!
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.
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.
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.
Near the Gesú Nuovo church, there is the monumental complex of Santa Chiara, one of the most important buildings commissioned by the French Kingdom of Anjou for the Franciscan order. Built in 1340, it is a rare example of Medieval architecture in Napoli. The convent was to accommodate both monks and nuns in two separate buildings but at the same time depending on the same church. The church was then built in a simple Gothic style, with the typical Neapolitan yellow tufa. Unfortunately, the church has been reconstructed changing the original features into the Baroque style with marbles, polychrome stuccos and exorbitant decorative elements by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro between 1742 and 1769. Sadly, in 1943 the church was partially bombed during the second world war. It was decided that it would be rebuilt in its original Gothic style. It was reopened in 1953. Most of the antiques sculptures have returned to their original location, including the splendid tombs of the member of the Anjou family, like the monumental tomb of Robert of Anjou dated 1343, the tomb of Mary Valois, second wife of Robert, and his son's tomb. A small part of a fresco still remains from the medieval decoration attributed to Giotto (who stayed in Napoli between 1328 and 1333) and his workshop.
The fine cloister outside the church is richly decorated with majolica tiles and it is a pure gem of the eighteenth century, designed by Domenico Antionio Vaccaro. He left the original medieval plan of the cloister but redesigning parts of it, adding two wide paths in the middle, the fine majolica decorations on the pillars with motif of vine shoots and wisteria twisting up, flowers, lemons while the seats are decorated with scenes of the city and country life in the eighteenth century.
Built in the 11th century with support from the Rufolo family, the Duomo is a combination of Baroque and Romanesque styles. Dedicated to St. Pantaleone, the church has undergone extensive modifications and restorations over the past 900 years. The Duomo’s shining white façade dates back to the last major restoration in 1931. The Duomo’s bell tower, which dates back to the 13th century, shows Moorish and Byzantine influence.
Today, the Duomo is primarily remembered for five attractions:
The first is the bronze door, which was temporarily removed for restoration in 2010. Constructed in 1179 by Barisano da Trani, the door is of special interest because fewer than two dozen bronze church doors are still extant in Italy, three of them by Trani.
The second item of special note is the pulpit, which is supported by six spiraled columns sitting atop marble lions. Across from the pulpit, to the left, is the Ambo of the Epistles that boasts two wonderful mosaics of Jonah and the Whale.
The fourth area of special interest is the Chapel of St. Pantaleone the Healer, a 3rd century physician who was beheaded, on orders of the Emperor Diocletian, after he converted to Christianity. The Chapel has a small ampoule of the saint’s blood, which is said to liquefy every year on July 27th, the anniversary of his martyrdom. The chapel also has a silver bust of the town’s venerated saint.
The final attraction is the cathedral's museum, which is accessible through a side entrance on the Via Richard Wagner.
Amalfi Cathedral is a 9th-century Roman Catholic structure in the Piazza del Duomo, Amalfi, Italy. It is dedicated to the Apostle Saint Andrew. Predominantly of Arab-Norman Romanesque architectural style, it has been remodelled several times, adding Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, and Baroque elements. The cathedral includes the adjoining 9th-century Basilica of the Crucifix. Leading from the basilica are steps into the Crypt of St. Andrew.
A wooden 13th-century Crucifix hangs in the liturgical area. Another crucifix, made of mother-of-pearl, was brought from the Holy Land and is located to the right of the back door. The High Altar in the central nave is formed from the sarcophagus of the Archbishop Pietro Capuano (died in 1214). Above the altar is a painting by Andrea dell'Asta of The Martyrdom of St. Andrew.
The front facade was rebuilt in 1891 after the original one collapsed. It is of striped marble and stone with open arches that have lace detailing not commonly found in Italian sacred architecture while the tiled cupola is quite common amongst churches of the area. The tympanum's mosaics portray “The triumph of Christ” in a work created by Domenico Morelli and whose original designs are retained in the Town Hall.
Cattedrale di San Matteo—the cathedral of Salerno—houses ancient Greek columns, Roman sarcophagi, medieval pulpits, and the body of St. Matthew the Evangelist
Although World War II bombs devastated most of medieval Salerno, the Duomo's lovely 11th-century atrium courtyard was spared. It contains 28 antique columns pilfered from the ancient Greek ruins of Paestum. Behind them are Roman sarcophagi recycled in the Middle Ages as the tombs for local grandees.
The cathedral was founded in 1081 by Hauteville Norman adventurer Robert Guiscard who by then had conquered his way to becoming Duke of Apulia and Calabria (which, at the time, covered pretty much all of southern Italy; the neighbouring Dutchy of Naples was confined just the sliver of land around the Bay of Naples itself). Robert was, for good measure, also Duke of Sicily.
An earthquake in 1688 caused most of the cathedral to be rebuilt along baroque lines, though from the older church remain a fabulous pair of inlaid ambones (pulpits) similar to those at Ravello.
Proof that the city of Salerno was once a much bigger deal than it is today: The cathedral crypt, lavishly decorated with precious marbles in the 17th century (and restructured in the 1960s), houses the bones of St. Matthew the Evangelist.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The devotion towards the patron martyr is expressed in the participation of the faithful in the period preceding the festivities, with the development of the novena at the Basilica dedicated to the Saint, and with the expectation of the same throughout the year.
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).
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.
Church of St.Donat is round pre-Romanesque church which was called the Church of the Holy Trinity until the 15th c., and from that time on carries the name of Saint Donat, by the bishop who had it built.
The Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik is one of the most significant and most beautiful architectural achievements in Croatia and was included on the UNESCO Cultural World Heritage List in 2000. It was built in a stretch of more than a hundred years, during the 15th and 16th century, and is unique for it is entirely built of stone. The most important builders of the Cathedral were Juraj Dalmatinac (Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus) and Nikola Firentinac (Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino). The Cathedral was first built in Gothic, and completed in Renaissance style
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.
If you visit Hvar, all the streets will lead you to Hvarska pjaca (Hvar's square), the centre of the city's public and social life and the largest square in Dalmatia. The eastern side of the square is surrounded by the Cathedral of St. Stephen that was built on the foundations of an early-Christian church from the 6th century and that acquired its present appearance in the 16th and 17thcentury. The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Stephen, a pope and martyr, the protector of the Diocese and the city of Hvar.
The renaissance bell-tower of the Cathedral and Hvar's other bell towers (St. Mark, Franciscan and the ruined one of St. Venerande) are considered to be the nicest ones in Dalmatia. Hvar's Cathedral preserves many valuable items and paintings of famous painters like Stefano Celesti, Palma Junior and the Spanish painter Juan Boschettus, but the most renowned painting is definitely Madonna, an example of the proto-Venetian art and one of the oldest in Dalmatia originating back in 1220. In the Episcopal Palace standing next to the Cathedral, a collection of objects of art, sacred vessels, archival documents, old books and liturgical vestments was founded in 1963.
During structural repairs to the foundations of the bell tower in 1903, an altar consecrated to Hera was found, which might well warrant the assumption that there was once, on the site of today's cathedral, a shrine from at least the Greek and Roman period.
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.
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.
The Church and the Monastery of St Francis, located on the Western part of the Riva, were built on the old early Christian site, by the grave and a small Church of St Felix, martyr from the time of Diocletian. In the 13th century, the Little brothers of St Francis inhabit the Church. From the Churche's artwork, the most valuable is the Gothic Crucifix painting by Blaž Juraj of Trogir from the beginning of the 15th century, and the sarcophagus depicting the Crossing over the Red sea, part of the sacral artwork from the Roman times. Next to the Church is a Franciscan monastery with a 13th-century cloister and an opulent library with over 3000 books, among which even some from 16th century. In the Church and the Monastery are tombs of prominent citizens of Split, like the father of Croatian literature Marko Marulić and one of the greatest Croatian politicians Ante Trumbić whose sarcophagus is the work of Ivan Meštrović.
Among the European cathedrals the one in Split finds its seat in the oldest building - the Mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Inside the cathedral, at the end of the second millennium, the history reconciles ancient pagan, Christian Medieval and modern heritage.
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.
One of the most significant monuments of the island of Hvar is definitely the Church – fort erected in 1571, after the Turkish attack on the location of an older church that originated in 1465.
The church has the shape of a fort with an observation post and a loop-hole and from its top, there is a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding places and fields. The church preserves valuable works of Stefan Celesti ('Lady of Mount Carmel'), Antonio Sciuri ('Mary's Childbirth'), Giuseppe Alabardi ('Resurrection' and 'Placing into the tomb') Marko Rašica ('Lady of Mount Carmel') and Celestin Medović ('Homage of the Three Kings').
Today's parish church, the Church of the Assumption was erected on the foundation of the early gothic church and was expanded and fortified in 1535. The church vestry preserved valuable liturgical vestments and several crosses of artistic value and the painting of "Mother of God and the torture of Fabian and Sebastian" of the Flemish-Venetian painter Pietera de Costera is especially valuable. 15th of August, the day of Vela Gospa (The fiesta of the Assumption) there is a fiesta in Jelsa when people from the surrounding places visit Jelsa.
On the night of Good Thursday from Jelsa starts the procession Za Križem (Procession of the Cross) towards Pitve then further on towards Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj and Vrboska. After a 22 km long journey, with the first rays of the morning sun, the procession returns to the parent church. This unique tradition which has been going on for 500 years is on a representative UNESCO list of non-material cultural heritage of the world.
“Alghero Vecchia” is the charming old town, surrounded by seven great towers and the old walls that still stand at the sea edge and which date back to the Catalan-Aragonese conquests in the sixteenth century. The narrow cobbled streets and alleys of the Old Town are abuzz with people and activities until late at night. Summer and spring are the peak seasons when the whole city comes to life. The car-free zone of this historic centre is perfect for enjoying a leisurely stroll where you can find perfect gifts in the many small shops, sample local produce in the bars and restaurants and visit the old churches. The fifteenth century palaces, the Civic Theatre with its neoclassic façade, the cathedral and the sixteenth century bell tower of Santa Maria are all representative of a long Sardinian legacy and even the houses of the centre of Alghero stood through the bombings of the Second World War. The outer wall of the Old Town is part of a long walkway which stretches from one end of Alghero to another and provides a fabulous panorama of the Riviera which is most appreciated at sunset when you can admire the silhouette of the headland of Capo Caccia