Religious sites in Italy

Udine Cathedral

The construction of Udine cathedral began in 1236 by will of Berthold, patriarch of Aquileia, on a Latin cross-shaped plan with three aisles and side-chapels. The style should follow that of the contemporary Franciscan churches. The church was consecrated in 1335 as Santa Maria Maggiore. In 1348 an earthquake damaged the building, which was restored starting from 1368. In this occasion, the larger previous rose window of ...
Founded: 1236 | Location: Udine, Italy

Chiesa del Purgatorio

The Chiesa del Purgatorio is dedicated to all saints and the souls in purgatory. It was first consecrated in 1658, erected under the patronage of the Mazza family. The earthquake that nearly levelled Ragusa, left this church mainly untouched, and in 1694, it took over some of the functions of the nearby church of San Giovanni, that had moved into a new district of Patro. In 1729, this church was placed under the jurisdict ...
Founded: 1658 | Location: Ragusa, Italy

San Fermo Maggiore Church

San Fermo Maggiore is a medieval Romanesque church. A church at this site may has been traced to the 8th century, and by the 11th century a second story and belltower was added by the Benedictine order. The campanile was not completed until the 13th century, it contains six bells in F cast in 1755 and rung with the Veronese bellringing art. The exterior has a roofline with pinnacles, and the church once held the tomb of a ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Verona, Italy

Santa Maria dello Spasimo

Santa Maria dello Spasimo is an unfinished Catholic church in the Kalsa neighborhood in Palermo. Construction of the church and accompanying monastery of the Olivetan Order began in 1509 with a papal bull from Julius II, on land bequeathed by Giacomo Basilicò, a lawyer and the widower of a rich noblewoman. The Spasimo or Swoon of the Virgin was a controversial idea in late medieval and Renaissance Catholic devoti ...
Founded: 1509 | Location: Palermo, Italy

San Giovanni Maggiore Basilica

A church at the site of current San Giovanni Maggiore Basilica was likely erected sometime in the 4th century. There are a number of founding legends for the church. One is that emperor Constantine Ifounded the church in gratitude for the rescue of his daughter Costanza from a shipwreck. It may have been built or introduced into a pre-existing pagan temple dedicated to the cult of Hercules or Hadrian. One of the stones ...
Founded: 1656 | Location: Naples, Italy

Immaculate Conception Church

The Church of the Immaculate Conception is a Baroque church of Palermo. The church is near Porta Carini, in the heart of the ancient market. It was built between 1604 and 1740 and is finely decorated with many works of Sicilian artists like Giacomo Amato, Pietro Novelli, Olivio Sòzzi, Giuseppe Velasco and Carlo D"Aprile.
Founded: 1604 | Location: Palermo, Italy

Lombard Temple

The small church of Oratorio di Santa Maria in Valle (also known as Lombard Temple), next to the Natisone river, is a notable example of High Middle Ages art sometimes attributed to the 8th century, but probably later. Included in the old Lombard quarter, it was probably used as Palatine Chapel by the Lombard dukes and king"s functionaries. The fine decorations, statues and stuccoes (11th or 12th century) housed in t ...
Founded: 8th century | Location: Cividale del Friuli, Italy

Savona Cathedral

The original cathedral of Savona on the Priamar hill was destroyed by Genovese army in 1528. The Franciscan monastery was converted as a new Cathedral in 1559 by Pope Paul IV. The current appearance dates from 1605.
Founded: 1559 | Location: Savona, Italy

Santa Caterina del Sasso

Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is a Roman Catholic monastery perched on a rocky ridge on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore. The monastery can be reached on foot by descending down a long winding stairway or by taking an elevator or by a number of ferry services or boats that dock at the pier. The construction of the monastery dates from the 14th century, although the more recent frescos are from the 19th ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Leggiuno, Italy

Lipari Cathedral

Lipari Cathedral has been since 1986 a co-cathedral in the Archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela. From its foundation, the cathedral had served as the sole parish church for the entire archipelago. The first cathedral was built in the heart of the acropolis, where a Greek temple had probably existed in the classical period, but it was destroyed by the Arabs in 838. Reconstruction came only under Roger I of ...
Founded: 1131 | Location: Lipari, Italy

Santa Maria delle Scale

Santa Maria delle Scale was built by the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of Santa Maria di Roccadia in Lentini, in the first half of the 13th century, in a Gothic style. In the second half of the 18th century, because of the increase of the population, the building was enlarged and largely rebuilt in a Baroque style.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ragusa, Italy

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

The Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem or Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. According to tradition, the basilica was consecrated circa 325 to house the relics of the Passion of Jesus Christ. The relics were brought to Rome from the Holy Land by Empress St. Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine I. At that time, the Basilica's floor was covered with soil from Jer ...
Founded: c. 325 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Lodi Cathedral

Lodi Cathedral is one of the largest churches in northern Italy. The cathedral was founded in 1158, the day on which Lodi was refounded after its destruction by the Milanese troops in 1111. The first phase of construction ended in 1163. The crypt was inaugurated with the translation of the relics of Saint Bassianus on 4 November 1163, in the presence of emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. The second phase was carr ...
Founded: 1158 | Location: Lodi, Italy

Basilica di San Calimero

The Basilica di San Calimero is a church in Milan, northern Italy. Its name refers to Saint Calimerius (died 190 AD), an early bishop of the city. It dates from the 5th century but was almost completely rebuilt in 1882 by the architect Angelo Colla in an attempt to restore it to the 'original' medieval structure. What remains of the ancient church include: the 16th century crypt, with a noble frescoed ...
Founded: 1882 | Location: Milan, Italy

San Michele in Isola

San Michele in Isola church is located on the Isola di San Michele island which houses the cemetery of the city. The first church known to have been designed by the architect Mauro Codussi, this is a reconstruction of an older church, that was commissioned by the Camaldolese community on the island in 1469. The church is built entirely in salt-white Istrian stone which weathers to a pale gray. San Michele is the first e ...
Founded: 1469 | Location: Venice, Italy

Bolzano Franciscan Friary

The Franciscan Friary in Bolzano was founded in 1221. According a legend, young Saint Francis accompanied his cloth merchant father, Pietro Bernardone, on a business trip to Bolzano. While there, the young Francis took Mass in the Chapel of Saints Ingenuinus and Erhard, and the bells rang out. The Chapel is today part of the friary complex. However, the original structure was destroyed by fire in 1291 and the friary ...
Founded: 1221 | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Late Baroque Town of Scicli

Scicli was founded by the Sicels (whence probably the name) around 300 BCE. In 864 CE, Scicli was conquered by the Arabs, as part of the Muslim conquest of Sicily. Under their rule it flourished as an agricultural and trade center. In 1091, it was conquered from the Arabs by the Normans, under Roger I of Hauteville, after a fierce battle. Following the various dynasties ruling the Kingdom of Sicily, it was an Aragonese-S ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Scicli, Italy

San Salvatore Monastery

San Salvatore (or Santa Giulia) is a former monastery in Brescia, now turned into a museum. The monastic complex is famous for the diversity of its architecture which include Roman remains and significant pre-Romanesque, Romanesque and Renaissance buildings. In 2011, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568-774 A.D.). The monastery i ...
Founded: 753 AD | Location: Brescia, Italy

Tempio Civico della Beata Vergine Incoronata

The Tempio Civico della Beata Vergine Incoronata is a church in Lodi. It is considered one of the masterworks of the Lombard Renaissance art. The church was designed in 1488 by Giovanni Battagio (a pupil of Bramante), continued by Gian Giacomo Dolcebuono and finished by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo. The church is located in a very narrow street near the Piazza della Vittoria, Lodi"s most famous square. It has ...
Founded: 1488 | Location: Lodi, Italy

Sant'Eusebio

Sant"Eusebio is a titular church devoted to Saint Eusebius of Rome, a 4th-century martyr. The church is first mentioned in 474, by an inscription in the catacombs of Saints Marcellino e Pietro. It was consecrated by Pope Gregory IX, after the restoration of 1238. The Romanesque style, dating back to this restoration, survived to the restorations of the 17th, 18th, and 20th centuries. The interior is separated into a ...
Founded: c. 470 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin and the only surviving royal residence in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. The original palace was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg in what was then the village of Lietzow. Originally named Lietzenburg, the palace was designed by Johann Arnold Nering in baroque style. The inauguration of the palace was celebrated on 11 July 1699, Frederick's 42nd birthday.

Friedrich crowned himself as King Friedrich I in Prussia in 1701 (Friedrich II, known as Frederick the Great, would later achieve the title King of Prussia). Two years previously, he had appointed Johann Friedrich von Eosander (also known as Eosander von Göthe) as the royal architect and sent him to study architectural developments in Italy and France, particularly the Palace of Versailles. On his return in 1702, Eosander began to extend the palace, starting with two side wings to enclose a large courtyard, and the main palace was extended on both sides. Sophie Charlotte died in 1705 and Friedrich named the palace and its estate Charlottenburg in her memory. In the following years, the Orangery was built on the west of the palace and the central area was extended with a large domed tower and a larger vestibule. On top of the dome is a wind vane in the form of a gilded statue representing Fortune designed by Andreas Heidt. The Orangery was originally used to overwinter rare plants. During the summer months, when over 500 orange, citrus and sour orange trees decorated the baroque garden, the Orangery regularly was the gorgeous scene of courtly festivities.

Inside the palace, was a room described as 'the eighth wonder of the world', the Amber Room, a room with its walls surfaced in decorative amber. It was designed by Andreas Schlüter and its construction by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram started in 1701. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the Amber Room to Tsar Peter the Great as a present in 1716.

When Friedrich I died in 1713, he was succeeded by his son, Friedrich Wilhelm I whose building plans were less ambitious, although he did ensure that the building was properly maintained. Building was resumed after his son Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) came to the throne in 1740. During that year, stables for his personal guard regiment were completed to the south of the Orangery wing and work was started on the east wing. The building of the new wing was supervised by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, the Superintendent of all the Royal Palaces, who largely followed Eosander's design. The decoration of the exterior was relatively simple but the interior furnishings were lavish. The ground floor was intended for Frederick's wife Elisabeth Christine, who, preferring Schönhausen Palace, was only an occasional visitor. The decoration of the upper floor, which included the White Hall, the Banqueting Hall, the Throne Room and the Golden Gallery, was lavish and was designed mainly by Johann August Nahl. In 1747, a second apartment for the king was prepared in the distant eastern part of the wing. During this time, Sanssouci was being built at Potsdam and once this was completed Frederick was only an occasional visitor to Charlottenburg.

In 1786, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II who transformed five rooms on the ground floor of the east wing into his summer quarters and part of the upper floor into Winter Chambers, although he did not live long enough to use them. His son, Friedrich Wilhelm III came to the throne in 1797 and reigned with his wife, Queen Luise for 43 years. They spent much of this time living in the east wing of Charlottenburg. Their eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who reigned from 1840 to 1861, lived in the upper storey of the central palace building. After Friedrich Wilhelm IV died, the only other royal resident of the palace was Friedrich III who reigned for 99 days in 1888.

The palace was badly damaged in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1951, the war-damaged Stadtschloss in East Berlin was demolished and, as the damage to Charlottenburg was at least as serious, it was feared that it would also be demolished. However, following the efforts of Margarete Kühn, the Director of the State Palaces and Gardens, it was rebuilt to its former condition, with gigantic modern ceiling paintings by Hann Trier.

The garden was designed in 1697 in baroque style by Simeon Godeau who had been influenced by André Le Nôtre, designer of the gardens at Versailles. Godeau's design consisted of geometric patterns, with avenues and moats, which separated the garden from its natural surroundings. Beyond the formal gardens was the Carp Pond. Towards the end of the 18th century, a less formal, more natural-looking garden design became fashionable. In 1787 the Royal Gardener Georg Steiner redesigned the garden in the English landscape style for Friedrich Wilhelm II, the work being directed by Peter Joseph Lenné. After the Second World War, the centre of the garden was restored to its previous baroque style.