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Renaissance royal castle in Niepołomice near Kraków. 
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Renaissance royal castle in Niepołomice near Kraków.
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Inside the Basilica of Sant’Andrea, a Roman Catholic co-cathedral and minor basilica in Mantua, Lombardy (Italy). 
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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).

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The Basilica of Sant’Andrea, Mantua
On a bridge leading to the famous Renaissance church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice. 
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On a bridge leading to the famous Renaissance church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice.
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Inside the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, Italy. 
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Inside the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, Italy.

"Langdon and Vittoria dashed to the main entrance of the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria and found the wooden door locked. Vittoria fired three shots from Olivetti’s semi-automatic into the ancient bolt, and it shattered.
The church had no anteroom, so the entirety of the sanctuary spread out in one gasping sweep as Langdon and Vittoria threw open the main door. The scene before them was so unexpected, so bizarre, that Langdon had to close his eyes and reopen them before his mind could take it all in.
The church was lavish baroque...gilded walls and altars. Dead center of the sanctuary, beneath the main cupola, wooden pews had been stacked high and were now ablaze in some sort of epic funeral pyre. A bonfire shooting high into the dome. As Langdon’s eyes followed the inferno upward, the true horror of the scene descended like a bird of prey.
High overhead, from the left and right sides of the ceiling, hung two incensor cables — lines used for swinging frankincense vessels above the congregation. These lines, however, carried no incensors now. Nor were they swinging. They had been used for something else...
Suspended from the cables was a human being. A naked man. Each wrist had been connected to an opposing cable, and he had been hoisted almost to the point of being torn apart. His arms were outstretched in a spread–eagle as if he were nailed to some sort of invisible crucifix hovering within the house of God." (Dan Brown: Angels and Demons, 2000)

Wikipedia: "The church was begun in 1605 as a chapel dedicated to Saint Paul for the Discalced Carmelites. After the Catholic victory at the battle of White Mountain in 1620, which reversed the Reformation in Bohemia, the church was rededicated to the Virgin Mary. Turkish standards captured at the 1683 siege of Vienna hang in the church, as part of this theme of victory. The order itself funded the building work until the discovery in the excavations of the Borghese Hermaphroditus. Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, appropriated this sculpture but in return funded the rest of work on the facade and granted the order his architect Giovanni Battista Soria. These grants only came into effect in 1624, and work was completed two years later.

The church is the only structure designed and completed by the early Baroque architect Carlo Maderno, though the interior suffered a fire in 1833 and required restoration. Its façade, however, was erected by Giovanni Battista Soria during Maderno's lifetime, 1624–1626, showing the unmistakable influence of Maderno's Santa Susanna nearby.

Its interior has a single wide nave under a low segmental vault, with three interconnecting side chapels behind arches separated by colossal corinthian pilasters with gilded capitals that support an enriched entablature. Contrasting marble revetments are enriched with white and gilded stucco angels and putti in full relief. The interior was sequentially enriched after Maderno's death; its vault was frescoed in 1675 with triumphant themes within shaped compartments with feigned frames: The Virgin Mary Triumphing over Heresy and Fall of the Rebel Angels executed by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini.

The masterpiece in the Cornaro Chapel, to the left of the altar, is Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Scipione's favored sculptor, Bernini. The statues depict a moment described by Saint Teresa of Avila in her autobiography, where she had the vivid vision of an angel piercing her heart with a golden shaft, causing her both immense joy and pain. The flowing robes and contorted posture abandon classical restraint and repose to depict a more passionate, almost voluptuous trance".

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Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa"The church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
Inside the Santa Susanna church in Rome, Italy. 
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Inside the Santa Susanna church in Rome, Italy.

Wikipedia: "The Church of Saint Susanna at the baths of Diocletian (Italian: Chiesa di Santa Susanna alle Terme di Diocleziano) is a Roman Catholic parish church on the Quirinal Hill in Rome, with a titulus associated to its site that dates back to about 280. The modern church dedicated to Saint Susanna was rebuilt in 1585–1603.

In 1921, Pope Benedict XV authorized the Paulist Fathers to use Santa Susanna to create the national church in Rome of the United States of America. The first public Mass for the American community was celebrated by Cardinal William Henry O'Connell on February 26, 1922 and until today, the English–speaking Roman parish ministers to American Catholics living in or visiting Rome. [...]

The church consists of a single nave, with a circular apse forming two side-chapels. The frescoes of the central nave by Baldassare Croce represent six scenes from the life of Susanna found in the Book of Daniel. The frescoes on the curved side of the apse shows Saint Susanna being threatened by Maximian, but defended by the angel of God and to the right, Susanna refusing to worship the idol Jupiter. Nebbia's frescoes of the dome of the apse depict Santa Susanna flanked on either side by angels with musical instruments. Behind the high altar, the painting depicting the beheading of Santa Susanna is by Tommaso Laureti".

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Thursday, Nov 2, 2017: On the walls of Palácio da Pena in Sintra, Portugal
Palácio da Pena
Czy to już jest koniec? :( (widz)
© Szymon "Zbooy" Madej