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 frescoes disappeared, while the two rows of columns, the three naves and four side chapels of the original church remained.
As soon as you enter the church, on the right there is a chapel in which lies the statue of Our Lady of the Assumption, to whom the church is dedicated. Other important works include the extremely valuable, sixteenth century font and, at the centre of the apse of the church, a Madonna and Child. The niches and bas-reliefs depict various scenes from the life of Christ.
The city venerates Mary as patron saint, and guardian of the surrounding countryside of Erice, honoured with the title of Our Lady of Custonaci, who is celebrated on the last Wednesday of August. A nineteenth century reproduction of the Madonna is kept in the church, while the original is kept and venerated in the sanctuary of Custonaci.References:
Bamberg is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main. Its historic city center is a listed UNESCO world heritage site.
Bamberg is a good example of a central European town with a basically early medieval plan and many surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings of the medieval period. When Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 he made Bamberg the seat of a bishopric, intended to become a 'second Rome'. Of particular interest is the way in which the present town illustrates the link between agriculture (market gardens and vineyards) and the urban distribution centre.
From the 10th century onwards, Bamberg became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of this town strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century Bamberg was the centre of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and E.T.A. Hoffmann living there.
Bamberg extends over seven hills, each crowned by a beautiful church. This has led to Bamberg being called the 'Franconian Rome'.