Religious sites in Italy

Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Maria Maggiore church is an example of First Romanesque art. It includes the oldest cross vaults in Italy. The oldest document mentioning the basilica is a privilege by pope Paschal II, dated 22 August 1107. Archaeological studies showed that at least two churches existed in the site before the current one, the earliest one being perhaps contemporary to the annexed baptistery of San Giovanni ad Fontes (c. 5th-7t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lomello, Italy

St. Paul's Church

St. Pauls" Conversion Church (San Paolo) is called as 'Dome in the Countryside' as the parish church seems to have been constructed for a huge city. It is consecrated to Conversion of Paul the Apostle and located in the heart of the village. The huge bells in the 86 m high church steeple calls up for the Holy Mass with its deep tones. In former times S. Paulo has been main village in the municipality of Ap ...
Founded: 1484 | Location: Eppan, Italy

Santa Sofia Church

anta Sofia in Padua is the oldest church structure in the city. It was built in the 10th century on the site of a presumed Roman Mithraeum. The first document dates from 1123. The apse was the first phase of the construction, sometime in the ninth century. Primary construction was between 1070 and 1080. This phase ended in 1106. The second phase opened in 1117 and ended in about 1170. The structure underwent embellishmen ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Padua, Italy

San Pietro al Monte Abbey

Abbey of San Pietro al Monte is an ancient monastic complex of Romanesque style in the town of Civate. The site, presently not occupied by religious, consists of three buildings: the Basilica of San Pietro, the oratory dedicated to St. Benedict, and what was the monastery of which only ruin remain. According a legend the abbey was founded in 772 AD by Desiderius, the last king of Lombardy. The oldest document dates from ...
Founded: 772 AD | Location: Civate, Italy

St. Romedio Sanctuary

The Saint Romedio sanctuary is the most interesting example of medieval Christian art in the Trentino region. The famous pilgrimage place is built on a 70-metre high calcareous rock.This architectonic building is surrounded by a wonderful natural landscape and it is composed of several churches and chapels directly on the rock. The whole structure is connected by a steep stairway with 131 steps. The oldest chapel of the b ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: San Zeno, Italy

Basilica of Sant'Abbondio

The current edifice of Basilica of Sant"Abbondio rises over a pre-existing 5th century Palaeo-Christian church entitled to Sts. Peter and Paul, built by order of St. Amantius of Como, third bishop of the city. Erected c. 1 km outside the city"s walls, it was intended to house several relics of the two saints which Amantius had brought from Rome. The basilica acted as bishop"s seat until 1007. Six years la ...
Founded: 1050-1095 | Location: Como, Italy

Sanctuary of Mount Lussari

The easternmost peaks of the Alps have been the natural border between the Latin, German and Slav worlds since time immemorial. Today, in a time of peace, they still speak the languages of these peoples and their valleys are places of friendship and cooperation. Attracting pilgrims from three lands, the shrine of Monte Lussari, in the northeastern corner of Italy, is truly European and a symbol of this peaceful coexisten ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Borgo Lussari, Italy

San Vincenzo in Prato

San Vincenzo in Prato is the only church in Milan which has entirely maintained its original Palaeo-Christian appearance. The first church was founded by the Lombard king Desiderius in 770, who dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. Later it was entitled to St. Vincent, when the latter"s relics were found in an urn in the crypt, together with those of St. Quirinus and St. Nicomedes (859) and St. Abundius. The ...
Founded: 770 AD | Location: Milan, Italy

San Lazzaro Monastery

San Lazzaro degli Armeni is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon. Settled in the 9th century, it was a leper colony during the Middle Ages. It was later abandoned. In 1717 San Lazzaro was ceded by the Republic of Venice to Mkhitar Sebastatsi (Mechitar) and his followers who established an Armenian Catholic monastery. The monastery currently contains a church with a campanile (bell tower), residential quarters, library, ...
Founded: 1717 | Location: Venice, Italy

Matris Domini Monastery

The Matris Domini Monastery was an enclosed female monastery. It houses a museum featuring several medieval frescoes with religious themes. The monastery was founded during the second half of the 13th century by the Dominican Order to house a community of nuns. There is no certain date for the foundation, probably during the rule of Bishop Algiso da Rosate or that of Erbordo Ungano. Its church was consecrated on 25 M ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bergamo, Italy

Viboldone Abbey

The Abbey of Viboldone was founded in 1176 and completed in 1348 by the Humiliati, an order of monks, nuns and lay people who worked in the abbey producing wool cloths and cultivated the nearby fields with innovative techniques. After the suppression of the Humiliati by Pope Pius V (1571), the abbey went to the Olivetan Benedictines, who were forced to leave the abbey in 1773, when Lombardy fell in Austrian hand ...
Founded: 1176 | Location: Viboldone, Italy

San Lorenzo Church

San Lorenzo is a Romanesque-style church located in Lodi. Construction of the church began by 1159. The brick facade has two pilasters and a central round window (oculus), above which is an aedicule with a statue of St Lawrence. The cornice has a false arcade. The apse has 16th-century stucco decorations by Abbondio da Ascona; the hemicycle of the apse has a fresco of a Resurrected Christ by Callisto Piazza.
Founded: 1159 | Location: Lodi, Italy

Astino Abbey

Astino Abbey was founded around 1070 by a group of members of the Vallumbrosan Order led by John Gualbert during a time in which, through reforms, clerics were trying to revive the Catholic Church"s position. The Romanesque church and the first conventual buildings were built by Bertario, the first abbot, who supervised the abbey for 21 years until 1128. The monastery was suppressed on 4 July 1797 by the ciil ...
Founded: 1070 | Location: Bergamo, Italy

Mirasole Abbey

Mirasole Abbey was founded as a monastery of the Humiliati in the first half of the 13th century. Its economy was based on the working of wool and the production of woollen cloth. The Humiliati were abolished in 1571, and the abbey became the property of the Collegio Elvetico in Milan, which was taken over for the use of the Austrian administration in 1786 (the building is now the Palazzo del Senato); its spiritual lif ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Milan, Italy

Franciscan Monastery

The Franciscan order arrived in Brescia around 1220, after a visit to the city by the founder himself. Construction of the convent structures began around 1254 and continued for over a century. The cloister of the adjacent Convent, designed by Guglielmo da Frisone, was completed in 1394. In the 14th century, it is likely the entire walls and ceilings were frescoed, but the creation of chapels and other restorations co ...
Founded: 1254 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Thiene Cathedral

Thiene Cathedral replaced a previous church of the Assumption which apparently dated from before 1166. Construction was completed by 1314. It was rebuilt in 1625, and was substantially altered in the late 18th century by architect Ottone Calderari. The dome was not added till the 1930s. The nave ceiling is decorated with 15 paintings by Baroque Venetian painters, including Giulio Carpioni and Giovanni Battista Pittoni. N ...
Founded: 1314 | Location: Thiene, Italy

Rotonda di San Tomè

The Rotonda di San Tomè has a circular plan and is in the Lombard-Romanesque style, dating from the early 12th century, and dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle. History The church was built in the district known in ancient times as Lemine. The date of its construction is uncertain, as well as the existence of other churches on the same site, as it is known a reconstruction was carried on between the end of the 11th ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Almenno San Bartolomeo, Italy

San Zeno Church

Church of San Zeno (mid-9th century) has one of the few Carolingian edifices in Italy. It has traces of original fresco decorations. The interior has a Latin cross structure, with important decorations, unfortunately lost during the years.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Bardolino, Italy

Praglia Abbey

Praglia Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1080. The first abbot of Praglia, Iselberto dei Tadi, who had become a monk in the monastery of San Benedetto Polirone in Mantua, is mentioned in a Papal Bull of Calixtus II in 1123. Until 1304 Praglia was under the direction of more powerful abbeys such as that of Polirone, the Abbey of Santa Giustina in Padua, and Cluny. By the 14th century the abbey had gained more a ...
Founded: 1080 | Location: Teolo, Italy

Basilica di San Vincenzo

The Basilica di San Vincenzo is an rare example of local Romanesque architecture, founded in 1007. Starting from the 2nd century, the worship of ancient gods such as Jupiter, Minerva and the Capitoline Triad was replaced by the Christian religion, in particular during the evangelization effort of Ambrose in the late 4th century. In the 5th century a Palaeo-Christian basilica, acting as the pieve of Cantù, existed in th ...
Founded: 1007 | Location: Cantù, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Montparnasse Cemetery

Montparnasse Cemetery was created from three farms in 1824. Cemeteries had been banned from Paris since the closure, owing to health concerns, of the Cimetière des Innocents in 1786. Several new cemeteries outside the precincts of the capital replaced all the internal Parisian ones in the early 19th century: Montmartre Cemetery in the north, Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east, and Montparnasse Cemetery in the south. At the heart of the city, and today sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, is Passy Cemetery.

Montparnasse cemetery is the burial place of many of France's intellectual and artistic elite as well as publishers and others who promoted the works of authors and artists. There are also many graves of foreigners who have made France their home, as well as monuments to police and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the city of Paris.

The cemetery is divided by Rue Émile Richard. The small section is usually referred to as the small cemetery (petit cimetière) and the large section as the big cemetery (grand cimetière).

Although Baudelaire is buried in this cemetery (division 6), there is also a cenotaph to him (between division 26 and 27). Because of the many notable people buried there, it is a highly popular tourist attraction.