Religious sites in Italy

Padua Synagogue

The Italian Synagogue of Padua is the only synagogue in city still in use from the Renaissance through World War II. It was built in 1584 and restored in 1581, 1631, 1830, and 1865. It was closed in 1892 when the community built a modern synagogue, but reopened after the war because in 1943 fascists burned the modern synagogue. The synagogue is located in the historic ghetto. The baroque synagogue measures 18 by 7 met ...
Founded: 1584 | Location: Padua, Italy

Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio

The Basilica of Sant"Eustorgio was for centuries an important stop for pilgrims on their journey to Rome or to the Holy Land, because it was said to contain the tomb of the Biblical Magi or Three Kings. Probably founded in the 4th century, its name refers to Eustorgius I, the bishop of Milan to whom is attributed the translation of the supposed relics of the Magi to the city from Constantinople in 34 ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Milan, Italy

Brescia New Cathedral

Construction of the Brescia New Cathedral, Duomo Nuovo, was begun in 1604 at the site where the paleo-Christian 5th-6th century basilica of San Pietro de Dom was located. The original commission was given to Andrea Palladio, but the commission was subsequently granted to the architect Giovanni Battista Lantana. He was aided by Pietro Maria Bagnadore. Work was interrupted during a season of plague around 1630. Work s ...
Founded: 1604 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Trieste Cathedral

Trieste Cathedral (Basilica cattedrale di San Giusto Martire), dedicated to Saint Justus, is the seat of the Bishop of Trieste. The first religious edifice on the site was built in the 6th century, using part of the existing structure. Perhaps the entrance to a monument, this was commonly known as the Capitoline Temple, as a pyramidal altar with the symbols of the Capitoline Triad (Jupiter, Juno and Minerva) had been foun ...
Founded: 1320 | Location: Trieste, Italy

Brescia Old Cathedral

The Duomo Vecchio or Old Cathedral (also called La Rotonda because of its round layout) is a rustic circular Romanesque co-cathedral standing next to the Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral) of Brescia. It is one of the most important examples of Romanesque round church in Italy. While some claims for an earlier construction exist, the earliest documents state the cathedral was built in the 11th century on the site of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

Basilica of Saint Clement

The Basilica of Saint Clement, dedicated to Pope Clement I, is especially notable for its three historical layers. The 12th-century basilica is built on top of a well-preserved 4th-century church (with many frescoes), which was built next to a 3rd-century Mithraic Temple. For an admission fee, it is possible to explore the excavations of the lower two levels, which is a fascinating journey into the history of Rome. This ...
Founded: 300-400 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Sorrento Cathedral

Sorrento Cathedral, dedicated to Saints Philip and James, was first built around the 11th century and was rebuilt in the 15th century in Romanesque style. The cathedral bell tower has three storeys, and is decorated with a clock. The base of the bell tower dates to the time of the Roman Empire. The façade dates from 1924. The main doors are of the 11th century from Constantinople. The interior, on a Latin cro ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Sorrento, Italy

Santi Nereo e Achilleo

Santi Nereo e Achilleo is a fourth-century basilica church facing the main entrance to the Baths of Caracalla. This same building is recorded as titulus Sanctorum Nerei et Achillei in 595; therefore the dedications to Saints Nereus and Achilleus, two soldiers and martyrs of the 4th century, must date to the sixth century. In 814, Pope Leo III rebuilt the old church. In the 13th century the relics of the two martyrs were ...
Founded: c. 337 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Santo Stefano Church

Santo Stefano church is one of the most outstanding examples of Romanesque architecture in Genoa. It was founded in the Middle Ages as part of an abbey, in the place where previously a 6th-century small church, entitled to St. Michael Archangel, was located. The most ancient document mentioning Santo Stefano dates from 965, although some scholars attribute its foundation in 972 to the then bishop of Genoa, Theodulf, who r ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Genoa, Italy

Basilica of San Zeno

The Basilica di San Zeno name rests partly on its architecture and partly upon the tradition that its crypt was the place of the marriage of Shakespeare"s Romeo and Juliet. It stands adjacent to a Benedictine abbey, both dedicated to St Zeno of Verona. St. Zeno died in 380. According to legend, at a site above his tomb along the Via Gallica, the first small church was erected by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostr ...
Founded: 9th century | Location: Verona, Italy

Santi Apostoli Church

Santi Apostoli, with the adjacent Romanesque chapel of the Sante Teuteria e Tosca, is an ancient Roman Catholic church in front of a piazza off Corso Cavour. A church at this site of the Chiesetta was consecrated in 751 on an earlier fifth-century structure, but reconstructed in the 12th-century. Reconstruction of this and Santi Apostoli were pursued across the centuries including major ones in the 18th and 20th-centuries ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Verona, Italy

San Vittore al Corpo

The church and monastery of San Vittore al Corpo was built by the Olivetan order in the early 16th century. The site once had a 4th-century basilica and mausoleum that once held the burials of the emperors Gratian and Valentinian III. The basilica was enlarged in the 8th century to house the relics of the saints Vittore and Satiro. A Benedictine monastery soon was attached to the church. In 1507, the monastery was ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Milan, Italy

San Giorgio Church

San Giorgio Church at the site is documented since 775. In 1218, Franciscan friars erected a nearby monastery and were in possession of the church. But by 1254, they had moved to the convent and church of San Francesco. By 1429, this parish church was in a dilapidated state, and a major restoration, including present facade occurred in 1639. An inventory of works in 1826 noted to right of nave an oil painting depicting a ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Brescia, Italy

Basilica of Saints John and Paul

The Basilica of Saints John and Paul on the Caelian Hill was built in 398 AD over the home of two Roman soldiers, John and Paul, martyred under the emperor Julian in 362. The church was thus called the Titulus Pammachii and is recorded as such in the acts of the synod held by Pope Symmachus in 499. The church was damaged during the sack by Alaric I (410) and because of an earthquake (442), restored by Pope Paschal I (824) ...
Founded: 398 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Giovanni degli Eremiti

The San Giovanni degli Eremiti church dates back to the 6th century. After the establishment of the Norman domination of southern Italy, it was returned to the Christians by Roger II of Sicily who, around 1136, entrusted it to the Benedictine monks of Saint William of Vercelli. The church was extensively modified during the following centuries. A restoration held around 1880 attempted to restore its original medieval app ...
Founded: 12 | Location: Palermo, Italy

San Giorgio Cathedral

The Duomo of San Giorgio is a Baroque church located in Ragusa Ibla, old part of Ragusa. Its construction began in 1738 and ended in 1775. The church is one of the greatest expressions of Baroque style and religious architecture in Ragusa. It was designed by Rosario Gagliardi of Noto, an architect and a prominent figure of the then artistic movement. It stands on top of a monumental staircase and its angled position poi ...
Founded: 1738-1775 | Location: Ragusa, Italy

Basilica di San Fedele

The Basilica of San Fedele in Como is located in the city center and is dedicated to Saint Fidelis martyr. It derives from an earlier Christian church, dating from the seventh century, dedicated to Euphemia. The present church dates from 1120, the building is Romanesque and not just the original three naves irregular grafted onto a central plant, also irregular due to the smaller size compared to the two main apse of the ...
Founded: 1120 | Location: Como, Italy

Santa Maria della Pietà Church

The Church of Saint Mary of Pity (Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà) is a Baroque church localted in the quarter of the Kalsa, within the historic centre of Palermo. In 1495 the noble Francesco Abatellis, captain at the service of King Ferdinand II of Aragon, in the absence of heirs, staged the construction of a Benedictine monastery under the name of Santa Maria della Pietà. In 1526 the monastery was founded, but ...
Founded: 1678 | Location: Palermo, Italy

Santa Maria della Catena

Santa Maria della Catena church was built in 1490-1520 and designed by Matteo Carnilivari. The name derives from the presence, on one of the walls, of a chain (catena) which closed the Cala port. The work mixes late Renaissance style and Gothic-Catalan style, the latter especially visible in the three-part arcaded loggia located at the top of a staircase (added in 1845). The interior is also late Gothic, and includes ...
Founded: 1490-1520 | Location: Palermo, Italy

San Benedetto Church

Dedicated to St. Benedict of Nursia, the church of San Benedetto was built from April 1334, then it was destroyed by 1693 Sicily earthquake. The church and the monastery were rebuilt between 1708 and 1763 and Giovanni Battista Vaccarini was one of the main architects. The church was also damaged by bombing in World War II and later restored by the architect Armand Dillon. Its most famous feature is the Angel"s Stai ...
Founded: 1708-1763 | Location: Catania, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.