Founded towards the end of the 11th century by Bishop Gerlando, this Norman-Gothic style Agrigento Cathedral was enlarged and remodelled several times as of the 14th and up till the 17th century, only preserving, of the original structure, its magnificent mullioned windows still visible on the right side. Its facade is accessed by a wide, easy staircase, flanked by the magnificent, unfinished 15th century belltower embellished by two sequences of blind, Gothic-Catalan mullioned windows and a window with a balcony surmounted by a beautiful, richly decorated pointed arch.
The interior, shaped like a Latin cross, has three naves divided by pointed arches standing on octagonal pillars, a magnificent, richly painted, wooden ceiling, portraying the two-headed eagle of Charles V and rich stuccoes and frescos giving the whole environment a certain sumptuousness. A small chapel of San Gerlando opens off to the right of the transept, surmounted by a finely modelled Gothic portal, and holds the Arc, a 1639 relic. We would like to point out the Chapel De Marinis in the left hand nave. In the right apse, a 1495 marble group of the Madonna with Child and several other grave monuments enriching this great monument’s magnificent interior.
Of outstanding importance the Cathedral Treasure, particularly rich in works of great historical and artistic value, including the famous sarcophagus of Phaedra, a stupendous, elegant, marble, Roman work of the 3rd century AD. inspired by the 5th century Greek style. Described and praised by all the great foreign travellers to Sicily in the 18th century, from Riedesel to Bartels, this masterpiece (currently kept in the Church of San Nicola) found in the Roman necropolis of Agrigentum, portrays some episodes from the myth of Phaedra and Hippolytus. Opposite the cathedral, in the same square, the Episcopal Seminary, founded by Bishop Narullo in 1574 and completed in 1611. Its interior includes a wide, elegant porticoed atrium with two sequences of loggias.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'.