Religious sites in Italy

Santi Quattro Coronati

Santi Quattro Coronati is an ancient basilica in Rome. The church dates back to the 4th (or 5th) century, and is devoted to four anonymous saints and martyrs. The complex of the basilica with its two courtyards, the fortified Cardinal Palace with the Saint Silvester Chapel, and the monastery with its cosmatesque cloister is built in a silent and green part of Rome, between the Colosseum and San Giovanni in Laterano. Trad ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Marco Church

According to tradition, the church was dedicated to St. Mark, patron of Venice, after the help given by that city in the war against Frederick Barbarossa in the 12th century. However, the first mention of the church dates from 1254 when the Augustinians built a Gothic style edifice with a nave and two aisles re-using pre-existing constructions. The structure was heavily modified in the Baroque style during the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Milan, Italy

Erice Cathedral

Erice Cathedral (Chiesa Madre or Duomo dell"Assunta) was built in the 14th century by King Frederick of Aragon for defensive purposes, because from the bell tower it was possible to monitor the surrounding area and the plains at the foot of Mount Erice.The original forms were in 14th century Gothic style with decorative mosaics and frescoes.In 1856 the church was restored or rather rebuilt, so the mosaics and frescoe ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Erice, Italy

Sant'Ignazio all'Olivella

The Church of Saint Ignatius is located in the ancient neighbourhood of the Olivella, within the historic centre of Palermo. The church belongs to the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri and was built starting in 1598. It is located near the former house of the congregation, now Regional Archeological Museum Antonio Salinas, and the Saint Catherine Oratory. It is believed that during 12th century Saint ...
Founded: 1598 | Location: Palermo, Italy

I Gesuiti Church

The church of Santa Maria Assunta, known as I Gesuiti was built in 1715-1728 by Jesuits. Saint Ignatius of Loyola visited the city of Venice for the first time in 1523 to embark on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He returned to I Gesuiti in 1535 with a group of friends, who already called themselves the Society of Jesus (members of which are referred to as Jesuits - Gesuiti in Italian), and here they were ordained as priests. ...
Founded: 1715-1728 | Location: Venice, Italy

San Giuliano Church

The church of San Giuliano is one of the oldest places of worship in Erice, dedicated to San Giuliano, martyred in 254 AD. Its construction was commissioned, according to tradition, by the Norman Grand Count Roger in the 11th century, but it has been a place of worship already during the first centuries of Christianity. It was rebuilt between 1612 and 1615, more imposing and with three naves. In 1927 it was closed due to ...
Founded: 1070 | Location: Erice, Italy

Trapani Cathedral

Trapani Cathedral was built by order of Alfonso the Magnanimous in 1421 and was elevated to a parish in the second half of the fifteenth century. In 1844, when the Diocese of Trapani was created, the church was made its episcopal seat. Over the following centuries, the building was modified several times and its current appearance dates from the restoration of the eighteenth century by the architect Giovanni Biagio Ami ...
Founded: 1421 | Location: Trapani, Italy

Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei

Bartolo Longo started restoring a The Pontifical Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary church in disrepair in October 1873. In 1875, Longo obtained a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary from a convent in Naples and raised funds to restore the image so as to locate it in the church. Miracles began to be reported and pilgrims began flocking in droves to the church. Three hundred people of the area pledged a penny a m ...
Founded: 1891 | Location: Pompei, Italy

Basilica di Santo Stefano Maggiore

Basilica di Santo Stefano Maggiore was established in the 5th century. Originally dedicated to both Saint Zechariah and Saint Stephen, it was later dedicated to Saint Stephen only. Throughout its history, has undergone several reconstructions, expansion and restoration. The original church building was built around the year 417 on the initiative of the future bishop Martinianus. It was destroyed by fire in 1070 and i ...
Founded: 1075 | Location: Milan, Italy

San Giovanni del Toro

Consecrated in the 11th century, the San Giovanni del Toro church was restored in 1715 after damage caused by an earthquake, and it was restored again in the 1990s. The church is named for John the Apostle and for 'Il Toro', the former name of the old aristocratic quarter in which it was built. It is especially noted for its pulpit, dating from around the 13th century. The pulpit is notable for its mosaics, ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Ravello, Italy

Santissimo Salvatore Church

The Church of Most Holy Saviour (Santissimo Salvatore) was built starting in 1682 in the area of an ancient female Basilian monastery founded by Robert Guiscard in 1072. The building was designed by the architect Paolo Amato, but also Giacomo Amato and Angelo Italia were involved in the construction. It was said that Constance, Queen of Sicily (1154-1198) had been confined to the church as a nun since childho ...
Founded: 1682 | Location: Palermo, Italy

Santa Maria di Castello

Santa Maria di Castello is a church and religious complex located in the Castello hill of the city, where in the Middle Ages a bishop"s fortified castle existed. The church is flanked by the large Tower of the Embriaci. The church, in Romanesque style, was erected before 900 AD. It houses many artworks commissioned by the main noble families of Genoa, by artists such as Francesco Maria Schiaffino, Lorenzo Fas ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Genoa, Italy

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta

Aquileia, one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Early Roman Empire, was destroyed by Attila in the mid-5th century. The patriarchal basilica, an outstanding building with an exceptional mosaic pavement, played a key role in the evangelization of a large region of central Europe. The architectural development of the Basilica of Aquileia, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the saints Hermagora and Fortunatus, start ...
Founded: c. 313 AD | Location: Aquileia, Italy

Torcello Cathedral

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is a basilica church on the island of Torcello. It is a notable example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture, one of the most ancient religious edifices in the Veneto, and containing the earliest mosaics in the area of Venice. According to an ancient inscription, it was founded by the exarch Isaac of Ravenna in 639, when Torcello was still a rival to the young nearby settlement at Venic ...
Founded: 639 AD | Location: Venice, Italy

San Giacomo Monastery

Certosa di San Giacomo is a Carthusian monastery on the island of Capri. Count Giacomo Arcucci, a secretary to Joan I of Naples, established the charterhouse in 1371. He later became a monk himself in 1386. In 1553 the monastery was restored and fortified and a tower was erected which collapsed in the 18th century. There was often conflict between the islanders and the monks, who owned land as well as grazing and h ...
Founded: 1371 | Location: Capri, Italy

Santa Maria della Passione

Santa Maria della Passione was initially built in 1496 for the Order of Canons Lateran. The church plan as we see today was based on initial designs of Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, but realized as a centralized greek cross design by Giovanni Battagio. The architect Cristoforo Lombardo designed the large dome to replace the prior crumbling structure. By the late 16th century, under the design of Martino Bassi, the nave ...
Founded: 1496 | Location: Milan, Italy

Sant'Anna la Misericordia

The complex of Sant"Anna, including the church and a convent, was built in a zone formerly occupied by an unhealthy inlet, circumscribed by cliffs and filled by alluvial deposits of the Kemonia, one of the rivers of the ancient and medieval Palermo. In the period of the Sicilian Vespers the area housed the residence of Joanne De Saint Remy, collaborator of Charles of Anjou. In the 16th century a chapel dedicated to ...
Founded: 1606-1632 | Location: Palermo, Italy

Cividale del Friuli Cathedral

The Cathedral (Duomo) of Cividale del Friuli was built in the 15th century over a pre-existing construction built in the 8th century. It is a Venetian Gothic building, finished in the 16th century by architect Pietro Lombardo, featuring interventions from the 18th century also. The interior houses an altar dedicated to the Madonna, in the right aisle, and the altarpiece of patriarch Pellegrino II (1195−1204), a silver r ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Cividale del Friuli, Italy

Albenga Cathedral

Albenga Cathedral  is the seat of the Diocese of Albenga-Imperia. A church has occupied the site since the turn of the 4th to the 5th century, but the present structure is medieval, built in about 1100, with a major rebuilding in the second half of the 12th century, and another in 1582. A restoration project in the 1970s largely returned the building to the medieval structure. The campanile was rebuilt in its present f ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Albenga, Italy

Scrovegni Chapel

The Scrovegni Chapel contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, completed about 1305 and considered to be an important masterpiece of Italian and European art. The fresco cycle details the life of the Virgin Mary and has been acknowledged by many to be one of the most important fresco cycles in the world. The church was dedicated to Santa Maria della Carità at the Feast of the Annunciation, 1303, and consecrated in 1305. D ...
Founded: 1303-1305 | Location: Padua, 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.