Religious sites in Italy

Cremona Baptistery

The Cremona Baptistery is annexed to the city's Cathedral. Built in 1167, it is characterized by an octagonal plan, a reference to the cult of St. Ambrose of Milan, symbolizing the Eight Day of Resurrection and, thenceforth, the Baptism. The edifice mixes Romanesque and Lombard-Gothic styles, the latter evident in the preference for bare brickwork walls. To the 16th century restorations belong the marble cover of s ...
Founded: 1167 | Location: Cremona, Italy

Sant'Agnello Maggiore Church

According to tradition, Agnello of Naples, now co-patron (compatrono) of the city of Naples, is buried in the Sant"Agnello Maggiore. Agnello was a 6th-century Neapolitan bishop, who defended the city against the besieging Lombards. Supposedly the church had been founded and devoted to the Virgin, by Agnello"s parents. Recent studies have shown that the church was built atop an Ancient Roman Acropolis from the ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Naples, Italy

Santa Chiara Church

The church of Santa Chiara is located in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, next to the former Benedictine monastery of the Holy Crucifix.The church was designed by Rosario Gagliardi around 1730, it was completed in 1758 and later annexed to the monastery belonged the Benedictine nuns (which is now a museum). It represents an important example of baroque architecture.The façade of the church was originally located in Corso Vittor ...
Founded: 1730-1758 | Location: Noto, Italy

Trento Cathedral

Trento Cathedral (Duomo di Trento) was built in 1212 over a pre-existing 6th-century church devoted to Saint Vigilius, patron saint of the city. Bishop Federico Wanga commissioned the architect Adamo d'Arogno to construct the new Lombard-Romanesque church. Works continued for more than a hundred years, with the Gothic style becoming increasingly evident. The façade has a large rose window including The Wheel of Fortune. ...
Founded: 1212 | Location: Trento, Italy

Naples Cathedral

The present Naples cathedral was commissioned by King Charles I of Anjou. Construction continued during the reign of his successor, Charles II (1285-1309) and was completed in the early 14th century under Robert of Anjou. It was built on the foundations of two palaeo-Christian basilicas, whose traces can still be clearly seen. Underneath the building excavations have revealed Greek and Roman artifacts. The Archbish ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Naples, Italy

Cappella Sansevero

The Cappella Sansevero contains works of art by some of the leading Italian artists of the 18th century. Its origin dates to 1590 when John Francesco di Sangro, Duke of Torremaggiore, after recovering from a serious illness, had a private chapel built in what were then the gardens of the nearby Sansevero family residence, the Palazzo Sansevero. The building was converted into a family burial chapel by Alessandro di Sa ...
Founded: 1590 | Location: Naples, Italy

Santa Sabina Church

The Basilica of Saint Sabina is a titular minor basilica and mother church of the Dominicans. Santa Sabina is the oldest extant Roman basilica in Rome that preserves its original colonnaded rectangular plan and architectural style. Its decorations have been restored to their original restrained design. Other basilicas, such as Santa Maria Maggiore, are often heavily and gaudily decorated. Because of its simplicity, the Sa ...
Founded: 422-432 | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

The Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls (Basilica Papale di San Paolo fuori le Mura), is one of Rome's four ancient major basilicas. The Basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of St. Paul, where it was said that, after the Apostle's execution, his followers erected a memorial, called a cella memoriae. In 386, Emperor Theodosius I began erecting a much larger and more beaut ...
Founded: 386 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santa Maria delle Vigne

Santa Maria delle Vigne is a Roman Catholic basilica church in Genoa, northern Italy. It is known from the 10th century. The main altar was completed in 1730 by Giacomo Antonio Ponsonelli. The church is also the final resting place of the leading early Italian composer Alessandro Stradella, who was murdered in 1682.
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Genoa, Italy

Basilica of San Lorenzo

The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore was originally built in Roman times and is one of the oldest churches in Milan. The basilica was built between the late fourth and early fifth centuries. The exact date is uncertain, as are the name of who commissioned it and the circumstances of its foundation. What is certain is that at the time of its construction the basilica was the largest, centrally planned building in the Wes ...
Founded: c. 364 AD | Location: Milan, Italy

Basilica di Sant'Anastasia al Palatino

Sant"Anastasia curch was built between the late 3rd and early 4th century, possibly by a Roman woman named Anastasia. The church is listed under the titulus Anastasiae in the acts of the 499 synod. Later the church was entitled to the martyr with the same name, Anastasia of Sirmium. The church was restored several times: Pope Damasus I (366-383), Pope Hilarius (461-468), Pope John VII (705-707), Pope Leo III (795-81 ...
Founded: c. 300 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Siro Church

One of the oldest churches in Genoa, San Siro occupies the site of a former church originally dedicated to the apostles. In later centuries, the church was renamed after St Syrus of Genoa, a beatified bishop. Originally the cathedral of Genoa, it stood outside of the original walls, and was vulnerable to attacks from Saracen pirates; the title of Cathedral was transferred to San Lorenzo. There is another church dedicated ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Genoa, Italy

Basilica of Saint Nicholas

The Basilica of Saint Nicholas holds wide religious significance throughout Europe and the Christian world. The basilica is an important pilgrimage destination both for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. The basilica was built between 1087 and 1197, during the Italo-Norman domination of Apulia, the area previously occupied by the Byzantine Catapan of which Bari was the seat. Its foundation is related to the recover ...
Founded: 1087-1197 | Location: Bari, Italy

Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio

One of the most ancient churches in Milan, Basilica of Sant"Ambrogio was built by St. Ambrose in 379–386, in an area where numerous martyrs of the Roman persecutions had been buried. The first name of the church was in fact Basilica Martyrum. In the centuries after its construction, the edifice underwent several restorations and partial reconstructions, assuming the current appearance in the 12th Century, when ...
Founded: c. 1080 AD | Location: Milan, Italy

San Francesco di Paola

San Francesco di Paola church is located at the west side of Piazza del Plebiscito, the city"s main square. In the early 19th century, King Joachim Murat of Naples (Napoleon"s brother-in-law) planned the entire square and the large building with the colonnades as a tribute to the emperor. When Napoleon was finally dispatched, the Bourbons were restored to the throne of Naples. Ferdinand I continued the cons ...
Founded: 1816 | Location: Naples, Italy

Ostuni Cathedral

Ostuni Cathedral  was originally a church practising Orthodox rites prior to the year 1000. In 1228-1229, the present Romanesque church was erected by Frederick II of Swabia. The earthquake of 1456, strongly felt in Brindisi, damaged it. During 1469-1495 it was again rebuilt in a Gothic style. The façade acquired its elegant rose window in the 15th century. The church once had four such windows. One of the portals is d ...
Founded: 1228 | Location: Ostuni, Italy

Santa Maria delle Grazie

Santa Maria delle grazie ('Holy Mary of Grace') is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list. The church contains the mural of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, which is in the refectory of the convent. The refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan forms an integral part of this architectural complex, begun in 1463 and reworke ...
Founded: 1463 | Location: Milan, Italy

Santa Chiara

Santa Chiara is a religious complex that includes the Church of Santa Chiara, a monastery, tombs and an archeological museum.  Architecture The double monastic complex was built in 1313–1340 by Queen Sancha of Majorca and her husband King Robert of Naples, who is also buried in the complex. The original church was in traditional Provençal-Gothic style, but was decorated in the 17th century in Baroque style by ...
Founded: 1313-1340 | Location: Naples, Italy

Vigevano Cathedral

The initial structure on the site of Vigevano Cathedral was built before the year 1000 and is referred to in documents of as early as 963 and 967. The current structure was commissioned by Duke Francesco II Sforza in c. 1530 and is dedicated to Saint Ambrose. Construction on the cathedral, designed by Antonio da Lonate (c. 1456–1541), began in 1532 but was not completed until 1612. The edifice of the cathedral was comp ...
Founded: 1532-1612 | Location: Vigevano, Italy

San Pietro Church

Chiesa di San Pietro is one of the most remarkable Byzantine churches in Apulia. The square form church was built probably in the 9th-10th centuries and it was the basilica which was chosen as Ortohodox metropolis in 968. The church has beautiful Byzantine frescoes from the 10th-11th centuries. 
Founded: 9th | Location: Otranto, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château d'Olhain

The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.

The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.

The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.

During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.