Religious sites in Italy

Chiaravalle Abbey

Chiaravalle abbey was founded in 1135 as a daughterhouse of Clairvaux; it is one of the first examples of Gothic architecture in Italy, although maintaining some late Romanesque influences.  After a series of temporary buildings had been constructed, the construction of the permanent church was begun around 1150–1160; it was consecrated on 2 May 1221. Works continued in the 13th century with the first cloister, s ...
Founded: 1135 | Location: Chiaravalle, Italy

Sant'Angelo

Sant"Angelo was constructed in the mid-16th century by the Spanish general and Governor Milan Ferrante Gonzaga, over an edifice already existing in 1418, in replacement of the eponymous one, which had been destroyed to build the new walls. The design was by Domenico Giunti. The small bell tower was added in 1607, while the façade was finished only in 1630, in late-Mannerist or early-Baroque style. The church is ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Milan, Italy

Monte Berico Church

The Church of St. Mary of Mount Berico  is a minor basilica standing at the top of a hill which overlooks the city of Vicenza. According to the legend, the Blessed Virgin appeared on the hill twice to a peasant worker named Vincenza Pasini in 1426 and 1428. At this time in the Veneto, the people and economy had been suffering from a terrible plague for years. The Madonna promised that if the people of Vicenza built a ch ...
Founded: 1435 | Location: Vicenza, Italy

Belluno Cathedral

Belluno Cathedral (Duomo di Belluno) stands on the site of a palaeo-Christian church. A subsequent church dedicated to Saint Martin and built in around in 850 is documented. The present building was built between 1517 and 1624, to plans by the architect Tullio Lombardo, in the style of the Renaissance. The cupola was completed only in 1756. The campanile dates from the 18th century and is by Filippo Juvarra. The unfinish ...
Founded: 1517-1624 | Location: Belluno, Italy

San Nicolò Church

The Basilica of San Nicolò is a Roman Catholic minor basilica church located in the town of Lecco. A church at the site was present by the 11th century. It has undergone a cycle of damage and reconstruction until the 17th century, when it garnered Baroque elements and decoration. Between 1831 and 1862, the architect Giuseppe Bovara altered the facade and decoration to the Neoclassical tastes. The imposing, neo-gothic be ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lecco, Italy

Piazza Armerina Cathedral

Piazza Armerina Cathedral is dedicated to Mary of the Victories (Maria Santissima delle Vittorie). It is the seat of the Bishops of Piazza Armerina. Built on the foundations of an earlier church of the 15th century and based on a design by architect Orazio Torriani, its construction began in 1604 and ended in 1719, while the dome was added in 1768. It became the seat of the Diocese of Piazza (later Piazza Armerina) when ...
Founded: 1604-1719 | Location: Piazza Armerina, Italy

Santa Bibiana

Santa Bibiana is a small Baroque style church. The church façade was designed and built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who also produced a sculpture of the saint holding the palm leaf of martyrs. According to an ancient, not documented tradition, the church was built in 363 by Roman matron Olimpina on the house where, during the supposed persecution of emperor Julian (361-363), Bibiana, her mother Dafrosa and her sister Demet ...
Founded: 467 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Giorgio in Braida

San Giorgio in Braida church was built in the 16th century in the medieval quarter of Veronetta. The 12th-century bell tower is what remains of a monastery built in the 11th century. The facade is marble white with two rows of pillars. The statues of St. George and St. Lorenzo Giustiniani are on sides. The interior has a single nave built between 1536 and 1543, and contains key works of art. Above the main door is a Tinto ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Verona, Italy

San Marco Evangelista Church

San Marco Evangelista is a Romanesque-style church located at the end of via Laura Cereto in central Brescia. This small church was erected at the end of the 13th century as a family chapel for the Avogadro family, who owned the nearby Palazzo Avogadro. The church was damaged by a bombing raid during World War II. A frieze of earthenware arches intertwining under the cornice that goes all round the building. On the faça ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

San Vincenzo Church

San Vincenzo church is located in the historic part of the town, in front of Tolomeo Gallio square, a few steps away from the lake. We can date the origin of the church back to 1150, a pastoral visit of Bishop Niguarda that took place in 1593, described the building as small and modest. The Romanesque church was rebuilt between 1758 and 1775 and consecrated by Bishop Mugiasca. The red and white facade in Baroque style was ...
Founded: 1758-1775 | Location: Cernobbio, Italy

Aosta Cathedral

Aosta Cathedral was originally built in the 4th century. In the 11th century the Palaeo-Christian structure was replaced by a new one, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist. The architecture of the cathedral was modified during the 15th and 16th century. The present façade, in Neoclassical style, was built between 1846 and 1848. The structures remaining from the Romanesque per ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Aosta, Italy

Basilica of Santa Lucia

Basilica of Santa Lucia Extra moenia is a Byzantine church built (after Norman rebuilt), according to tradition, in the same place of the martyrdom of the saint in 303 AD. The current appearance is from the 15th–16th centuries. The most ancient parts still preserved include the portal, the three half-circular apses and the first two orders of the belfry. Under the church are the Catacombs of St. Lucy. For this church  ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Polirone Abbey

The Abbey of San Benedetto in Polirone is a large complex of Benedictine order monastic buildings, including a church and cloisters. The complex, now belonging to the city, houses offices, a museum, and is open to visitors. The abbey was founded in 1007 by Tedald, count of Canossa, the paternal grandfather of Matilda of Canossa, countess of Tuscany, with a grant to the Benedictine monks, of half his land lying be ...
Founded: 1007 | Location: San Benedetto Po, Italy

Basilica and Catacombs of St. John

The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist was built in the 6th century by the Byzantines on a crypt dating from the 1st century AD. It is of great importance both for its architectural aspect (as it was the largest building built in Syracuse) and because its memory is related to the origins of the Christianity in the city. For a long time this church was identified with the ancient cathedral of the city and here were built ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Sanctuary of Tindari

The Sanctuary of Tindari was built on the ruins of the Tindari Castle in 1953 and contains the famous statue of the Black Madonna. This statue of Byzantine origins is dated back to 800 AD, and was carved from a rare Turkish cedar wood. The legends tell that the ship carrying this Madonna was driven onto the Tindari bay after a violent storm. According to popular belief, the Black Madonna has a miraculous power which prot ...
Founded: 1953 | Location: Tindari, Italy

San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro

San Pietro in Ciel d"Oro (Italian for 'Saint Peter in Golden Sky') name refers to the mosaics of gold leaf behind glass tesserae that decorates the ceiling of the apse.  A church of Saint Peter is recorded in Pavia in 604; it was renovated by Liutprand, King of the Lombards (who is buried here) between 720 and 725. The present Romanesque church was consecrated by Pope Innocent II in 1132. The chu ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Pavia, Italy

Santi Cosma e Damiano Church

Santi Cosma e Damiano was originally a Roman Catholic church affiliated with an Augustinian convent, it is now Greek Orthodox church. Of the 12th-century Romanesque construction, only the bell-tower remains; the present facade and interiors mainly date to a reconstruction in the 18th century. The main altar (18th century) in polychrome marble has statues by Antonio Callegari and altarpiece by Giambettino Cignaroli  ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

Santa Maria Annunziata Church

The construction of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Annunziata (dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary) was begun in 1453 by the architect Filippo delle Vacche of Caravaggio. It is built in the Late Gothic style to replace the previous edifice that stood at the site. Its façade remains unfinished. The church preserves within it paintings by Romanino, Moretto da Brescia, Zenone Veronese and Paolo Veneziano. The ...
Founded: 1453 | Location: Salò, Italy

Crema Cathedral

The first cathedral in Crema was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa in 1160. A new building was begun in 1185, but construction was halted in 1212, not to begin again until 1284 but in Gothic style. The church was finished in 1340, with the addition in 1385 of a lengthened apse and a crypt. The façade is in typical Lombard Gothic style, with a single portal surmounted, in the lunette, by sculptures of the Madonna and ...
Founded: 1185 | Location: Crema, Italy

Piona Abbey

Piona Abbey is a religious complex on the bank of Lake Como. The abbey is set at the top of a small peninsula, the Olgiasca, which points into the lake, creating an inlet. The original church of Saint Justina was founded in the 7th century; the ruins of an apse behind the current church of San Nicola belong to this original edifice. A new church was added some centuries later, though before 1138, as testified by an inscr ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Colico, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bamberg Historic City Centre

Bamberg is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main. Its historic city center is a listed UNESCO world heritage site.

Bamberg is a good example of a central European town with a basically early medieval plan and many surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings of the medieval period. When Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 he made Bamberg the seat of a bishopric, intended to become a 'second Rome'. Of particular interest is the way in which the present town illustrates the link between agriculture (market gardens and vineyards) and the urban distribution centre.

From the 10th century onwards, Bamberg became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of this town strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century Bamberg was the centre of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and E.T.A. Hoffmann living there.

Bamberg extends over seven hills, each crowned by a beautiful church. This has led to Bamberg being called the 'Franconian Rome'.