Religious sites in Italy

Abbey of Santa Giustina

The Abbey of Santa Giustina is attached to the basilica which was built in the 520s AD by the Prefect Opilius to house the remains of St. Justina of Padua and of other Christian martyrs of the city. By the 10th century the community has been under the Rule of St. Benedict. At that point the monastic community undertook renovations of the basilica. In 1110 the abbey was sacked by the troops of the future Holy Roman Empe ...
Founded: 520 AD | Location: Padua, Italy

Morimondo Abbey

Morimondo Abbey was founded in 1134 when a group of monks arrived from the mother house of Morimond in France. The monks settled in Coronate (now a frazione of Morimondo) and later chose the location for their monastery in Morimondo, about a mile away. Soon after its foundation the abbey acquired patrons and postulants from all social classes and the community of the monks had a rapid growth in the number of vocation ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Morimondo, Italy

Pozzuoli Cathedral

ThevPozzuoli Cathedral site probably originated as part of the town"s capitolium of the Greek or Samnite era, radically rebuilt in the Republican and Augustan eras. Between the end of the 5th and the start of the 6th century the inhabitants of the town decided to rededicate the temple as a church to Proculus of Pozzuoli. In 1538 it suffered major damage as Tripergole subsided and Monte Nuovo was formed. Bishop ...
Founded: 1538 | Location: Pozzuoli, Italy

Santi Apostoli Church

Santi Apostoli is a Baroque-style church in Naples. Legend holds that a church at the site was built atop a Temple of Mercury by Emperor Constantine. Restored by the Caracciolo Family, it was ceded in 1570 to the Theatine Order. By 1590, the adjacent cloister and monastery was designed by Francesco Grimaldi. In the early 17th century was reconstructed by Giacomo Conforti. In 1638, the work was continued by Bartol ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Naples, Italy

San Lorenzo Church

Abbazia di San Lorenzo was built by Benedictine monks between 1166 and 1183. In 1778 it was turned into a prison and during the 19th a hospital and finally a military warehouse. The convent and cloister were then demolished in the Fascist era and during the Second World War the bell tower and the church suffered considerable damage.
Founded: 1166-1183 | Location: Trento, Italy

Chiaravalle Abbey

Chiaravalle abbey was founded in 1135 as a daughterhouse of Clairvaux; it is one of the first examples of Gothic architecture in Italy, although maintaining some late Romanesque influences.  After a series of temporary buildings had been constructed, the construction of the permanent church was begun around 1150–1160; it was consecrated on 2 May 1221. Works continued in the 13th century with the first cloister, s ...
Founded: 1135 | Location: Chiaravalle, Italy

Sant'Angelo

Sant"Angelo was constructed in the mid-16th century by the Spanish general and Governor Milan Ferrante Gonzaga, over an edifice already existing in 1418, in replacement of the eponymous one, which had been destroyed to build the new walls. The design was by Domenico Giunti. The small bell tower was added in 1607, while the façade was finished only in 1630, in late-Mannerist or early-Baroque style. The church is ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Milan, Italy

Monte Berico Church

The Church of St. Mary of Mount Berico  is a minor basilica standing at the top of a hill which overlooks the city of Vicenza. According to the legend, the Blessed Virgin appeared on the hill twice to a peasant worker named Vincenza Pasini in 1426 and 1428. At this time in the Veneto, the people and economy had been suffering from a terrible plague for years. The Madonna promised that if the people of Vicenza built a ch ...
Founded: 1435 | Location: Vicenza, Italy

Belluno Cathedral

Belluno Cathedral (Duomo di Belluno) stands on the site of a palaeo-Christian church. A subsequent church dedicated to Saint Martin and built in around in 850 is documented. The present building was built between 1517 and 1624, to plans by the architect Tullio Lombardo, in the style of the Renaissance. The cupola was completed only in 1756. The campanile dates from the 18th century and is by Filippo Juvarra. The unfinish ...
Founded: 1517-1624 | Location: Belluno, Italy

San Nicolò Church

The Basilica of San Nicolò is a Roman Catholic minor basilica church located in the town of Lecco. A church at the site was present by the 11th century. It has undergone a cycle of damage and reconstruction until the 17th century, when it garnered Baroque elements and decoration. Between 1831 and 1862, the architect Giuseppe Bovara altered the facade and decoration to the Neoclassical tastes. The imposing, neo-gothic be ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lecco, Italy

Santa Bibiana

Santa Bibiana is a small Baroque style church. The church façade was designed and built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who also produced a sculpture of the saint holding the palm leaf of martyrs. According to an ancient, not documented tradition, the church was built in 363 by Roman matron Olimpina on the house where, during the supposed persecution of emperor Julian (361-363), Bibiana, her mother Dafrosa and her sister Demet ...
Founded: 467 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

San Giorgio in Braida

San Giorgio in Braida church was built in the 16th century in the medieval quarter of Veronetta. The 12th-century bell tower is what remains of a monastery built in the 11th century. The facade is marble white with two rows of pillars. The statues of St. George and St. Lorenzo Giustiniani are on sides. The interior has a single nave built between 1536 and 1543, and contains key works of art. Above the main door is a Tinto ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Verona, Italy

San Marco Evangelista Church

San Marco Evangelista is a Romanesque-style church located at the end of via Laura Cereto in central Brescia. This small church was erected at the end of the 13th century as a family chapel for the Avogadro family, who owned the nearby Palazzo Avogadro. The church was damaged by a bombing raid during World War II. A frieze of earthenware arches intertwining under the cornice that goes all round the building. On the faça ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

San Vincenzo Church

San Vincenzo church is located in the historic part of the town, in front of Tolomeo Gallio square, a few steps away from the lake. We can date the origin of the church back to 1150, a pastoral visit of Bishop Niguarda that took place in 1593, described the building as small and modest. The Romanesque church was rebuilt between 1758 and 1775 and consecrated by Bishop Mugiasca. The red and white facade in Baroque style was ...
Founded: 1758-1775 | Location: Cernobbio, Italy

Aosta Cathedral

Aosta Cathedral was originally built in the 4th century. In the 11th century the Palaeo-Christian structure was replaced by a new one, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist. The architecture of the cathedral was modified during the 15th and 16th century. The present façade, in Neoclassical style, was built between 1846 and 1848. The structures remaining from the Romanesque per ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Aosta, Italy

Polirone Abbey

The Abbey of San Benedetto in Polirone is a large complex of Benedictine order monastic buildings, including a church and cloisters. The complex, now belonging to the city, houses offices, a museum, and is open to visitors. The abbey was founded in 1007 by Tedald, count of Canossa, the paternal grandfather of Matilda of Canossa, countess of Tuscany, with a grant to the Benedictine monks, of half his land lying be ...
Founded: 1007 | Location: San Benedetto Po, Italy

San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro

San Pietro in Ciel d"Oro (Italian for 'Saint Peter in Golden Sky') name refers to the mosaics of gold leaf behind glass tesserae that decorates the ceiling of the apse.  A church of Saint Peter is recorded in Pavia in 604; it was renovated by Liutprand, King of the Lombards (who is buried here) between 720 and 725. The present Romanesque church was consecrated by Pope Innocent II in 1132. The chu ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Pavia, Italy

Santi Cosma e Damiano Church

Santi Cosma e Damiano was originally a Roman Catholic church affiliated with an Augustinian convent, it is now Greek Orthodox church. Of the 12th-century Romanesque construction, only the bell-tower remains; the present facade and interiors mainly date to a reconstruction in the 18th century. The main altar (18th century) in polychrome marble has statues by Antonio Callegari and altarpiece by Giambettino Cignaroli  ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

Santa Maria Annunziata Church

The construction of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Annunziata (dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary) was begun in 1453 by the architect Filippo delle Vacche of Caravaggio. It is built in the Late Gothic style to replace the previous edifice that stood at the site. Its façade remains unfinished. The church preserves within it paintings by Romanino, Moretto da Brescia, Zenone Veronese and Paolo Veneziano. The ...
Founded: 1453 | Location: Salò, Italy

Crema Cathedral

The first cathedral in Crema was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa in 1160. A new building was begun in 1185, but construction was halted in 1212, not to begin again until 1284 but in Gothic style. The church was finished in 1340, with the addition in 1385 of a lengthened apse and a crypt. The façade is in typical Lombard Gothic style, with a single portal surmounted, in the lunette, by sculptures of the Madonna and ...
Founded: 1185 | Location: Crema, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.