Religious sites in Italy

San Domenico Maggiore

San Domenico Maggiore is a Gothic church and monastery, founded by the friars of the Dominican Order. The church incorporates a smaller, original church built on this site in the 10th century, San Michele Arcangelo a Morfisa. Charles II of Naples began the rebuilding that produced the gothic structure that comprises the present church. The work was done between 1283 and 1324, but the church has undergone modificat ...
Founded: 1283-1324 | Location: Naples, Italy

San Crisogono Church

San Crisogono in Trastevere is dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus. It was probably built in the 4th century under Pope Silvester I (314–335), rebuilt in the 12th century by John of Crema, and again by Giovanni Battista Soria, funded by Scipione Borghese, in the early 17th century. The bell tower dates from the 12th century rebuilding. The interior of the church was rebuilt in the 1620s on the site of a 12th-cent ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Alghero Cathedral

Alghero was designated as a diocesan seat in 1503 but construction work on the cathedral did not begin until 1567. It was inaugurated in 1593 but was not finished. After several restorations it was consecrated in 1730. The church was originally in Catalan-Gothic style, as can be seen in the five chapels and ambulatory of the presbytery, which also includes the octagonal base of the bell tower. The nave and the two ai ...
Founded: 1567 | Location: Alghero, Italy

San Donato Church

San Donato dates from the 12th century and is in Romanesque style. It became a parish under archbishop Siro il Porcello, and was consecrated on May 1, 1189. After the bombardment of 1684 it was restored several times, being again consecrated on December 4, 1892. Other restorations in 1946-1951 have kept its Romanesque appearance. The interior contains a Madonna by the 14th-century painter Nicolò da Voltri; a St ...
Founded: 1189 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Venetian Ghetto

The Venetian Ghetto was the area of Venice in which Jews were compelled to live under the Venetian Republic. The English word 'ghetto' is derived from the Jewish ghetto in Venice, originating from the Venetian ghèto and Italian ghetto. The Venetian Ghetto was instituted on 29 March 1516, though political restrictions on Jewish rights and residences existed before that date. In 1797 the French army of Italy, com ...
Founded: 1516 | Location: Venice, Italy

St. Peter Church

The Church of St. Peter was officially consecrated in 1198. The part in white and black bands dating from the 13th century (probably made between 1256 and 1277), and was restored between 1931 and 1935. This part was derived from an older body, which consists of the early church, but left the bell tower is based on the chapel left of the presbytery. The original church dates from the 5th century, in Syriac type, with rect ...
Founded: 1198 | Location: Porto Venere, Italy

San Lorenzo in Lucina

The Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence in Lucina is dedicated to St. Lawrence of Rome, deacon and martyr. The name 'Lucina' derives from that of the Roman matron of the AD 4th century who permitted Christians to erect a church on the site. Putatively, Pope Marcellus I hid on the site during the persecutions of Roman Emperor Maxentius, and Pope Damasus I was elected there in AD 366. Pope Sixtus III consecrated a church on the ...
Founded: 440 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Basilica of Superga

The Basilica of Superga was built from 1717 to 1731 for Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, designed by Filippo Juvarra, at the top of the hill of Superga. This fulfilled a vow the duke (and future King of Sardinia) had made during the Battle of Turin, after defeating the besieging French army in the War of the Spanish Succession. The architect alluded to earlier styles while adding a baroque touch. The church contains the tombs ...
Founded: 1717-1731 | Location: Turin, Italy

Certosa di San Martino

The Certosa di San Martino is a former monastery complex and now a museum. Along with Castel Sant"Elmo that stands beside it, this is the most visible landmark of the city, perched atop the Vomero hill that commands the gulf. A Carthusian monastery, it was finished and inaugurated under the rule of Queen Joan I in 1368. It was dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. During the first half of the 16th century it wa ...
Founded: 1368 | Location: Naples, Italy

Cremona Cathedral

Cremona Cathedral bell tower is the famous Torrazzo, symbol of the city and tallest pre-modern tower in Italy. Also adjoining is the baptistery, another important medieval monument. Originally built in Romanesque style, the cathedral has been restored and extended several times, with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. Construction began in 1107, but the works were damaged and halted after an earthquake in 1117. ...
Founded: 1107 | Location: Cremona, Italy

Oratory of San Lorenzo

The Oratory of Saint Lawrence was founded in the late 16th century. The building was given to the Conventual Franciscans in order to spread the cult of the saints Francis and Lawrence. In 1699 Giacomo Serpotta realized a sumptuous stucco decoration. The oratory is particularly famous because of the masterpiece altarpiece Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (1600 or 1609) by Caravaggio. This important pai ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Palermo, Italy

San Domenico Church

The Church of Saint Dominic hosts the burials of many figures of Sicilian history and culture. For this reason it is known as the 'Pantheon of illustrious Sicilians'. The origin of the building dates back to the Middle Ages. A first Dominican church was built on this site between 1280 and 1285. The church was in Norman–Gothic style and it was also fitted with a convent and a cloister that represented a s ...
Founded: 1640 | Location: Palermo, Italy

Basilica of Corpus Domini

The Basilica of Corpus Domini was built to celebrate the 'Miracle of the Eucharist' which, according to various sources, occurred in 1453 during the war between the Duchy of Savoy and France. The event which led to the construction of the church occurred on 6 June 1453 during the war between Louis of Savoy and France. A group of French soldiers had plundered the main church in Exilles, a town in the Val di Sus ...
Founded: 1607 | Location: Turin, Italy

San Domenico Church

The Church and Convent of Saint Dominic (Chiesa e Convento di San Domenico) is a Roman Catholic church located in the city of Turin. Throughout its history it has served as a church, as inquisition tribunal, and as a masonic lodge. The church was built during the first half of the 13th century by Dominican friars, in gothic style. The adjacent convent was built in 1260 by Father John of Turin, who also established a libr ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Turin, Italy

Messina Cathedral

Messina Cathedral dates back to the 12th century, but it was thoroughly restored between 1919-1920 due to the earthquake that had caused serious damage in 1908. During the Second World War when the Allied dropped bombs on the city, a fire destroyed part of the cathedral which was rebuilt in 1943. The apsidal area has its original Norman structure and the three outstandingly decorated portals of the façade built followin ...
Founded: 1197 | Location: Messina, Italy

Saint Francis of Assisi Church

The history of the Saint Francis of Assisi Church starts with the arrival of the first Franciscans in Sicily. In 1224 the chronicler Vadingo reported the groundwork of the first Franciscan convent near the Walls of Palermo. However, shortly after, the local clergy with the support of the Saracens chased the friars out from the city. The friars went to Viterbo and appealed to the Pope Gregory IX. The pontiff ordered Lando ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Palermo, Italy

Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato

The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato construction was begun by the Franciscans in 1520 in a site previously occupied by the small church of Santa Maria del Prato, belonging to the Humiliati. Works were however halted in 1537, and in 1591 the Lomellini family continued the reconstruction, directed by Taddeo Carlone. In the early 17th century the rich Baroque decoration was executed, with Andrea Ansal ...
Founded: 1520 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Mantua Cathedral

Mantua Cathedral (Duomo di Mantova) is the seat of the Bishop of Mantua. An initial structure probably existed on the site in the Early Christian era, which was followed by a building destroyed by a fire in 894. The current church was rebuilt in 1395–1401 with the addition of side chapels and a Gothic west front, which can still be seen in a sketch by Domenico Morone (preserved in the Palazzo Ducale of Mant ...
Founded: 1395-1401 | Location: Mantua, Italy

San Giacomo Church

Bellagio"s most interesting Romanesque church is the Basilica of San Giacomo, built in the early 12th century by master builders from Como. It is one of the best examples of Lombardian Romanesque style.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bellagio, Italy

Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica di Santa Croce is a Baroque style church that was completed in 1695 in Lecce, Apulia. Walter VI, Count of Brienne, had founded in the current church"s location a monastery in the 14th century. In 1549, a new church was begun, using, among the others, houses from Jews who had been ousted from Lecce in 1510. The construction dragged on for two centuries; by 1582, the lower façade had been finished, while the ...
Founded: 1549-1695 | Location: Lecce, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.