Religious sites in Italy

San Lazzaro Monastery

San Lazzaro degli Armeni is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon. Settled in the 9th century, it was a leper colony during the Middle Ages. It was later abandoned. In 1717 San Lazzaro was ceded by the Republic of Venice to Mkhitar Sebastatsi (Mechitar) and his followers who established an Armenian Catholic monastery. The monastery currently contains a church with a campanile (bell tower), residential quarters, library, ...
Founded: 1717 | Location: Venice, Italy

Matris Domini Monastery

The Matris Domini Monastery was an enclosed female monastery. It houses a museum featuring several medieval frescoes with religious themes. The monastery was founded during the second half of the 13th century by the Dominican Order to house a community of nuns. There is no certain date for the foundation, probably during the rule of Bishop Algiso da Rosate or that of Erbordo Ungano. Its church was consecrated on 25 M ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bergamo, Italy

Viboldone Abbey

The Abbey of Viboldone was founded in 1176 and completed in 1348 by the Humiliati, an order of monks, nuns and lay people who worked in the abbey producing wool cloths and cultivated the nearby fields with innovative techniques. After the suppression of the Humiliati by Pope Pius V (1571), the abbey went to the Olivetan Benedictines, who were forced to leave the abbey in 1773, when Lombardy fell in Austrian hand ...
Founded: 1176 | Location: Viboldone, Italy

San Lorenzo Church

San Lorenzo is a Romanesque-style church located in Lodi. Construction of the church began by 1159. The brick facade has two pilasters and a central round window (oculus), above which is an aedicule with a statue of St Lawrence. The cornice has a false arcade. The apse has 16th-century stucco decorations by Abbondio da Ascona; the hemicycle of the apse has a fresco of a Resurrected Christ by Callisto Piazza.
Founded: 1159 | Location: Lodi, Italy

Astino Abbey

Astino Abbey was founded around 1070 by a group of members of the Vallumbrosan Order led by John Gualbert during a time in which, through reforms, clerics were trying to revive the Catholic Church"s position. The Romanesque church and the first conventual buildings were built by Bertario, the first abbot, who supervised the abbey for 21 years until 1128. The monastery was suppressed on 4 July 1797 by the ciil ...
Founded: 1070 | Location: Bergamo, Italy

Mirasole Abbey

Mirasole Abbey was founded as a monastery of the Humiliati in the first half of the 13th century. Its economy was based on the working of wool and the production of woollen cloth. The Humiliati were abolished in 1571, and the abbey became the property of the Collegio Elvetico in Milan, which was taken over for the use of the Austrian administration in 1786 (the building is now the Palazzo del Senato); its spiritual lif ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Milan, Italy

San Teodoro Church

San Teodoro is a Romanesque-style church in Pavia, Italy. A church at the site is documented since the year 752. The parish is cited in documents from the mid-13th-century. Initially the church was dedicated to Saint Agnes, but by the year 1000, it was dedicated to San Teodoro, bishop of Pavia who died in 778. The body of the saint, who is the protector of fisherman and those working in the River Ticino, is housed in t ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Pavia, Italy

Franciscan Monastery

The Franciscan order arrived in Brescia around 1220, after a visit to the city by the founder himself. Construction of the convent structures began around 1254 and continued for over a century. The cloister of the adjacent Convent, designed by Guglielmo da Frisone, was completed in 1394. In the 14th century, it is likely the entire walls and ceilings were frescoed, but the creation of chapels and other restorations co ...
Founded: 1254 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Thiene Cathedral

Thiene Cathedral replaced a previous church of the Assumption which apparently dated from before 1166. Construction was completed by 1314. It was rebuilt in 1625, and was substantially altered in the late 18th century by architect Ottone Calderari. The dome was not added till the 1930s. The nave ceiling is decorated with 15 paintings by Baroque Venetian painters, including Giulio Carpioni and Giovanni Battista Pittoni. N ...
Founded: 1314 | Location: Thiene, Italy

Rotonda di San Tomè

The Rotonda di San Tomè has a circular plan and is in the Lombard-Romanesque style, dating from the early 12th century, and dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle. History The church was built in the district known in ancient times as Lemine. The date of its construction is uncertain, as well as the existence of other churches on the same site, as it is known a reconstruction was carried on between the end of the 11th ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Almenno San Bartolomeo, Italy

San Zeno Church

Church of San Zeno (mid-9th century) has one of the few Carolingian edifices in Italy. It has traces of original fresco decorations. The interior has a Latin cross structure, with important decorations, unfortunately lost during the years.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Bardolino, Italy

Praglia Abbey

Praglia Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1080. The first abbot of Praglia, Iselberto dei Tadi, who had become a monk in the monastery of San Benedetto Polirone in Mantua, is mentioned in a Papal Bull of Calixtus II in 1123. Until 1304 Praglia was under the direction of more powerful abbeys such as that of Polirone, the Abbey of Santa Giustina in Padua, and Cluny. By the 14th century the abbey had gained more a ...
Founded: 1080 | Location: Teolo, Italy

Basilica di San Vincenzo

The Basilica di San Vincenzo is an rare example of local Romanesque architecture, founded in 1007. Starting from the 2nd century, the worship of ancient gods such as Jupiter, Minerva and the Capitoline Triad was replaced by the Christian religion, in particular during the evangelization effort of Ambrose in the late 4th century. In the 5th century a Palaeo-Christian basilica, acting as the pieve of Cantù, existed in th ...
Founded: 1007 | Location: Cantù, Italy

Marienberg Abbey

Marienberg Abbey was founded in 1149 or 1150 by Ulrich von Tarasp and other nobles. It has maintained a long tradition of education and, at 1,340 m, it is Europe’s highest abbey. It retains a Baroque style with Romanesque elements, and has some well-maintained frescos. The history of the foundation goes back to Charlemagne, who established a Benedictine monastery between 780 and 786 near Taufers, a town which on the Vi ...
Founded: 1149 | Location: Mals, Italy

Santa Maria in Araceli

The church of Santa Maria in Araceli is a late-Baroque style church built in the late 17th century in Vicenza according to designs attributed to Guarino Guarini. Construction of the present church was begun during 1672-1680, a period during which the famous architect Guarino Guarini resided in Vicenza under the patronage of the Theatines. In 1965, designs for the church were found in the Vatican Library. Construction see ...
Founded: 1672 | Location: Vicenza, Italy

Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Following a plague that afflicted Brescia between 1480 and 1484, there were rumours that a votive fresco depicting the Madonna and Child in front of a house in the San Nazario quarter had developed miraculous powers. On the wave of popular religious fervour, the Catholic church began negotiations in 1486 for the purchase of the house. In 1488, the construction of the Santa Maria dei Miracoli began. The interior, but not ...
Founded: 1488 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Saint-Gilles Church

Tradition dates the foundation of the monastery in Verrès to the 10th century, however the canonicals of St. Egidio are mentioned for the first time in 1050. It was the location of the parish church, which includes buildings dating from the 11h and 18th centuries. The main building, in visible stone, and the adjacent, main bell-tower were built in 1512 by the Provost Charles of Challant. The current parish church of San ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Verrès, Italy

Säben Abbey

Säben Abbey was established in 1687, when it was first settled by the nuns of Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. Situated on the 'holy mountain', Säben was for centuries a centre of pilgrimage and controlled an extensive religious precinct. On the site of the present nunnery there was an earlier Roman settlement. Between the 6th century and about 960 there was a bishopric (episcopatus Sabiona) seated here. The church 'im Weinb ...
Founded: 1687 | Location: Chiusa, Italy

San Pietro and San Paolo Church

San Pietro e San Paolo is a Romanesque-style church built in the 9th to 10th century, although the present structure was heavily reconstructed in the 19th century. The façade is not decorated with three entrances, one for each nave. These are separated by columns from a prior temple. Under the presbytery is a crypt. Most of the frescoes of the church are lost, but the adjacent 9 sided baptistery will retains frescoes fro ...
Founded: 9th-10th century AD | Location: Agliate, Italy

Ossario di San Martino

The Ossario di San Martino is a small chapel that houses over 1,200 skulls and over 2,000 bones that belonged to fallen soldiers who fought in a key 19th-century European conflict. In 1859, during the Second Italian War of Independence, there was a great battle here, more commonly called the Battle of Solferino. It was fought out between Austrian and the Piedmontese army. Solferino was the largest battle since that at ...
Founded: 1870 | Location: Desenzano del Garda, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph.

Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decorative material incorporated earlier work from the time of the emperors Trajan (98-117), Hadrian (117-138) and Marcus Aurelius (161-180), and is thus a collage. The last of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, it is also the only one to make extensive use of spolia, reusing several major reliefs from 2nd century imperial monuments, which give a striking and famous stylistic contrast to the sculpture newly created for the arch.

The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep. Above the archways is placed the attic, composed of brickwork reveted (faced) with marble. A staircase within the arch is entered from a door at some height from the ground, on the west side, facing the Palatine Hill. The general design with a main part structured by detached columns and an attic with the main inscription above is modelled after the example of the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Roman Forum.