Religious sites in Italy

Chiostro del Paradiso

The Chiostro del Paradiso ('Cloister of Paradise') was built by Filippo Augustariccio between 1266 and 1268 and was used as a burial ground for noble families of Amalfi. The white columns and pointed arches reflect the clear influence that the Arab world had on Amalfi, similar to those found in the courts of the palaces of the Middle East. It is a true open-air museum, with Roman and medieval pillars, sarcop ...
Founded: 1266 | Location: Amalfi, Italy

Cathedral of Monreale

The Cathedral of Monreale is one of the greatest existent examples of Norman architecture. The construction of Monreale, started in 1172, was approved by Pope Alexander III with a bull on 30 December 1174. Works, including an annexed abbey, were completed only in 1267 and the church consecrated at the presence of Pope Clement IV. In 1178 Pope Lucius III established the archdiocese of Monreale and the abbey church was elev ...
Founded: 1172-1267 | Location: Monreale, Italy

Santa Maria in Trastevere

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.  The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, a ...
Founded: 340 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio Church

The Church of St. Mary of the Admiral (Santa Maria dell"Ammiraglio) is a Co-cathedral to the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi of the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church, a diocese which includes the Italo-Albanian (Arbëreshë) communities in Sicily who officiate the liturgy according to the Byzantine Rite in the ancient Greek language and Albanian language. The name Ammiraglio ('admiral') derives from the foun ...
Founded: 1143 | Location: Palermo, Italy

Catania Cathedral

Catania Cathedral has been destroyed and rebuilt several times because of earthquakes and eruptions of the nearby Mount Etna. It was originally constructed in 1078-1093, on the ruins of the ancient Roman Achillean Baths, by order of Roger I of Sicily, who had conquered the city from the Islamic emirate of Sicily. At the time it had the appearance of a fortified church. In 1169 it was almost entirely destroyed by an eart ...
Founded: 1711 | Location: Catania, Italy

Santa Cristina Church

Santa Cristina is a Baroque style, Roman Catholic church located in Turin. It mirrors the adjacent church of San Carlo and faces the Piazza San Carlo. The arrangement recalls the twin churches (chiese gemelle) of Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1681) and Santa Maria in Montesanto (1679) facing the Piazza del Popolo in Rome. The original layout was designed in 1620 by the architect Carlo di Castellamonte, and construction pursu ...
Founded: 1620 | Location: Turin, Italy

San Carlo Borromeo

San Carlo Borromeo is a Baroque style church located in Turin. It mirrors the adjacent church of Santa Cristina and faces the Piazza San Carlo. The church was commissioned in 1619 by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, who had met the archbishop, and later saint, after which the church is named. The main designer is uncertain; the work has been attributed to both Baron Maurizio Valperga, and the engineer Galleani di Vent ...
Founded: 1619 | Location: Turin, Italy

Cathedral of Syracuse

The Cathedral of Syracuse (Duomo di Siracusa) origins on this site date to prehistory. The great Greek Temple of Athena was built in the 5th century BC. The temple was a Doric edifice with six columns on the short sides and 14 on the long sides. Plato and Athenaeus mention the temple, and the looting of its ornament is mentioned by Cicero, in 70 BC, as one of the crimes of the governor Verres. The present cathedral was ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

the basilica of Saint John Lateran was built under pope Melchiade (311-314). It is the oldest surviving church in the world. Due to the fact that the pope is also the bishop of Rome, Saint John in Lateran is also Rome's Cathedral. The present structure of the Basilica resembles the Saint Peter's basilica. The original plan had already five aisles. The ancient church was residence of the popes until the coming back from t ...
Founded: 311-314 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Bergamo Cathedral

Since the 9th century there were two cathedrals in Bergamo: one was the basilica of Saint Alexander, which stood on the site believed to be that of his martyrdom, and the other was dedicated to Saint Vincent, construction of which apparently began in the Lombard era, on the site of the present cathedral. Bishop Giovanni Barozzi commissioned the re-building of the cathedral of St. Vincent in the mid-15th century, for th ...
Founded: 1697 | Location: Bergamo, Italy

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, usually just called the Frari, is one of the greatest churches in Venice. The Franciscans were granted land to build a church in 1250, but the building was not completed until 1338. Work almost immediately began on its much larger replacement, the current church, which took over a century to build. The campanile, the second tallest in the city after that of San Marco, was c ...
Founded: 1338 | Location: Venice, Italy

Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral was erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil (or Walter of the Mill), the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and King William II"s minister, on the area of an earlier Byzantine basilica. By all accounts this earlier church was founded by Pope Gregory I and was later turned into a mosque by the Saracens after their conquest of the city in the 9th century. Ophamil is buried in a sarcophagus in the ch ...
Founded: 1185 | Location: Palermo, Italy

San Giorgio Maggiore Church

San Giorgio Maggiore is a 16th-century Benedictine church on the island of the same name in Venice, designed by Andrea Palladio, and built between 1566 and 1610. The church is a basilica in the classical renaissance style and its brilliant white marble gleams above the blue water of the lagoon opposite the Piazzetta and forms the focal point of the view from every part of the Riva degli Schiavoni. The first church on the ...
Founded: 1565 | Location: Venice, Italy

Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Maria Maggiore was founded in 1137 on the site of another church from the 8th century dedicated to St Mary, which had been in turn erected over a Roman temple of the Clemence. The high altar was consecrated in 1185 and in 1187 the presbytery and the transept wings were completed. Due to financial troubles, the works dragged for the whole 13th–14th centuries. The bell tower was built from 1436 (being completed aro ...
Founded: 1137 | Location: Bergamo, Italy

San Babila Church

San Babila was once considered the third most important in the city after the Duomo and the Basilica di Sant"Ambrogio. It is dedicated to saint Babylas of Antioch. At the beginning of the 5th century, Marolus, the bishop of Milan, brought from Antioch to Milan relics of saints Babylas of Antioch and Romanus of Caesarea. Marolus founded the Basilica Concilia Sanctorum or church of San Romano, which stood until the 19 ...
Founded: 1095 | Location: Milan, Italy

Tempietto di Santa Croce

The Tempietto di Santa Croce is a small octagonal Romanesque chapel found in the upper city of Bergamo, near the Santa Maria Maggiore. The original building was constructed in the first half of the 11th century, though first documentation of the structure dates to 1133.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bergamo, Italy

San Teodoro Church

San Teodoro is a 6th-century church in Rome. It was dedicated to Theodore of Amasea and given to the Orthodox community of Rome by Pope John Paul II in 2004. It and is located on an ancient road between the Roman Forum and Forum Boarium, along the north-western foot of the Palatine Hill. However, there is no definitive evidence of the church"s existence before the 9th century. As the dedication to an eastern saint s ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Maria Formosa

Santa Maria Formosa was erected in 1492 under the design by Renaissance architect Mauro Codussi. It lies on the site of a former church dating from the 7th century, which, according to tradition, was one of the eight founded by San Magno, bishop of Oderzo. The name 'formosa' relates to an alleged appearance of the Holy Virgin disguised as a voluptuous woman. The plan is on the Latin cross, with a nave and two aisles. The ...
Founded: 1492 | Location: Venice, Italy

Santo Stefano Church

Santo Stefano is the third largest monastery church in Venice. Built by the Augustinian Hermits in the 13th century, it was re-structured a century later, and subsequent embellishments made it into one of the finest examples of Venetian Flamboyant Gothic architectures. On the fourteenth-century façade in brick, the superb marble portal is highly underlined, work by Bartolomeo Bon. The church was reconsecrated in 1374. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Venice, Italy

Convent of Monterosso al Mare

The Convent of Monterosso al Mare, property of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor of the province of Genoa, has always been a landmark both for the local community and for visitors to the Cinque Terre. From the history of Monterosso, it is clear how the Capuchin Friars have always been part of the community and a reliable spiritual reference. The Monterosso population has always loved and respected the Convent, which ...
Founded: 1618 | Location: Monterosso al Mare, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls

The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum (Lyon). The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône.

Excavations have revealed a basement of three elliptical walls linked by cross-walls and a channel surrounding the oval central arena. The arena was slightly sloped, with the building"s south part supported by a now-vanished vault. The arena"s dimensions are 67,6m by 42m. This phase of the amphitheatre housed games which accompanied the imperial cult, with its low capacity (1,800 seats) being enough for delegations from the 60 Gallic tribes.

The amphitheatre was expanded at the start of the 2nd century. Two galleries were added around the old amphitheatre, raising its width from 25 metres to 105 metres and its capacity to about 20,000 seats. In so doing it made it a building open to the whole population of Lugdunum and its environs.