|Inside the Basilica di San Zeno in Verona, Northern Italy.
"Its fame rests partly on its architecture and partly upon the tradition that its crypt was the place of the marriage of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
. Together with the abbey which forms an annex, it is dedicated to St. Zeno of Verona.
St. Zeno died in 380. According to legend, over his tomb, along the Via Gallica, the first small church was erected by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. The history of the present basilican and the associated Benedictine monastery begins in the 9th century,when Bishop Ratoldus and King Pepin of Italy attended the translation of the saint's relics into the new church. This edifice was damaged or destroyed by a Magyar invasion in the early 10th century, at which time Zeno's body was moved to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare: it was soon moved back to its original site in what is now the crypt of the present church (May 21, 921).
In 967, a new Romanesque edifice was built by Bishop Raterius, with the financial assistance of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I. On January 3, 1117 the church was damaged by an earthquake, and as a result was restored and enlarged in 1138. The work was completed in 1398 with the reconstruction of the roof and of the Gothic-style apse. [...]
The interior of the church is on three levels with an extensive crypt on the lower level, the church proper and a raised presbytery. [...] The central church, known as Chiesa plebana, is of the Latin Cross shape with a nave, two aisles and transept. The aisles are divided by cruciform pilasters with alternating capitals with zoomorphic motifs and of Corinthian style. The walls above the colonnade are polychrome. The trefoil-arched wooden ceiling dates from the 14th century.".
• Added to the gallery on Nov 23, 2012
• File size: 4.4 MB
: 3154 (#2039
Inside the Basilica of Sant’Andrea, a Roman Catholic co-cathedral and minor basilica in Mantua, Lombardy (Italy).
"It is one of the major works of 15th century Renaissance architecture in Northern Italy. Commissioned by Ludovico II Gonzaga, the church was begun in 1462 according to designs by Leon Battista Alberti on a site occupied by a Benedictine monastery, of which the bell tower (1414) remains. The building, however, was finished only 328 years later. Though later changes and expansions altered Alberti’s design, the church is still considered to be one of Alberti’s most complete works.
The façade, built abutting a pre-existing bell tower (1414), is based on the scheme of the ancient Arch of Titus. It is largely a brick structure with hardened stucco used for the surface. It is defined by a large central arch, flanked by Corinthian pilasters. There are smaller openings to the right and left of the arch. A novel aspect of the design was the integration of a lower order, comprising the fluted Corinthian columns, with a giant order, comprising the taller, unfluted pilasters. The whole is surmounted by a pediment and above that a vaulted structure, the purpose of which is not exactly known, but presumably to shade the window opening into the church behind it.
An important aspect of Alberti’s design was the correspondence between the façade and the interior elevations, both elaborations of the triumphal arch motif. The nave of the interior is roofed by a barrel vault, one of the first times such a form was used in such a monumental scale since antiquity, and quite likely modeled on the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome. Alberti most likely had planned for the vault to be coffered, much like the smaller barrel vault in the entrance, but lack of funds led to the vault being constructed as a simple barrel vault with the coffers then being painted on. Originally, the building was planned without a transept, and possibly even without a dome. This phase of construction more or less ended in 1494.
In 1597, the lateral arms were added and the crypt finished. The massive dome (1732–1782) was designed by Filippo Juvarra, and the final decorations on the interior added under Paolo Pozzo and others in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The purpose of the new building was to contain the pilgrims who visited it during the feast of Ascension when a vial, that the faithful argue contains the Blood of Christ, is brought up from the crypt below through a hole in the floor directly under the dome. The relic, called Preziosissimo Sangue di Cristo ("Most Precious Blood of Christ"), is preserved in the Sacred Vessels, according to the tradition was brought to Mantua by the Roman centurion Longinus. It was highly venerated during the Renaissance. The shrines are displayed only on the Good Friday, to the faithful and then brought out along the streets of Mantua in a procession." (Text from Wikipedia).
• Added to the gallery on Mar 8, 2013
• File size: 4.7 MB
: 3060 (#2066
Inside the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Mantua, Lombardy (Italy).
"An initial structure probably existed on the site in the Early Christian era, which was followed by an edifice destroyed by a fire in 894. The current church was rebuilt in 1395-1401 with the addition of side chapels and a magnificent Gothic facade, which can still be seen in a sketch by Domenico Morone, which is preserved in the Palazzo Ducale of the city. [...] After another fire in the 16th century, Giulio Romano remade the interior but saved the facade. The latter was however replaced in 1756-1761 by the current one in the Baroque style, done in Carrara marble. Of the Renaissance edifice, its characteristics are the cusps, decorated with rose windows on the right side, which end with the Gothic bell tower." (Text from Wikipedia).
• Added to the gallery on Mar 10, 2013
• File size: 3.6 MB
: 2675 (#2229
Inside the St. Alexander's Cathedral in Bergamo, Italy. #
• Added to the gallery on Dec 17, 2011
• File size: 4.0 MB
: 3688 (#1864
Up on the roof of the Duomo in Milan, northern Italy.
"Here, springing from its broad marble flagstones, were the long files of spires, looking very tall close at hand, but diminishing in the distance like the pipes of an organ. We could see now that the statue on the top of each was the size of a large man, though they all looked like dolls from the street. We could see, also, that from the inside of each and every one of these hollow spires, from sixteen to thirty-one beautiful marble statues looked out upon the world below.
From the eaves to the comb of the roof stretched in endless succession great curved marble beams, like the fore-and-aft braces of a steamboat, and along each beam from end to end stood up a row of richly carved flowers and fruits—each separate and distinct in kind, and over 15,000 species represented. At a little distance these rows seem to close together like the ties of a railroad track, and then the mingling together of the buds and blossoms of this marble garden forms a picture that is very charming to the eye." (Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad, 1864).
• Added to the gallery on May 13, 2012
• File size: 2.5 MB
: 3358 (#1962