Acerenza Cathedral

Acerenza, Italy

Acerenza Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to Saint Canius in the town of Acerenza. The cathedral is one of the most notable Romanesque structures in this part of Italy.

The diocese was established by the late 5th century, but the structure of the present Romanesque cathedral building dates from 1080, when construction was begun under archbishop Arnald of Cluny. The site however is far more ancient and traces remain in the present building both of a pagan temple to Hercules Acheruntinus and of the earlier Christian church.

It has a Latin cross ground plan, and three aisles, which terminate in a raised presbytery behind which is an apse with an ambulatory and three radiating chapels, an unusual feature in Italian church design; the transept also terminates at either end in a semi-circular chapel. The ambulatory contains the altar which houses the relics of Saint Canius.

The crypt dates from 1524 and contains what is believed to be the sarcophagus of Saint Canius.

The campanile was added in 1555, and reuses many interesting fragments of ancient stonework, including two Roman sarcophagi and a sacrificial altar decorated with bulls' heads.

The interior of the cathedral features many unusual zoomorphic and floral carvings, in the Cluniac manner, the possible symbolic significance of which has caused speculation.

Of especial note are a polyptych showing Our Lady of the Rosary and the Fifteen Mysteries, with Saints Dominic and Thomas, made by Antonio Stabile in 1583, and four frescos in the cloister by Giovanni Todisco di Abriola.



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Founded: 1080
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Christian Plank (3 months ago)
Impressive cathedral. Rebuilt in 1561 because of the earthquake in 1476, sober but sublime inside. Very beautiful and worth seeing baroque crypt.
Vincenzo Pizzolorusso (4 months ago)
Beautiful Cathedral in Apulian Romanesque style, which has been a historical bastion of the city for almost a thousand years. Perhaps, as in many other churches in the South, the Templars really passed through. However, it is certainly less likely that the daughter of Vlad III, known as the Impaler, is buried in his crypt. What is certain is that he presents many enigmas among his sculptures and his bas-reliefs, which are not easy to find elsewhere. I was very struck, for example, by the face, carved in the crypt, of a man with a curved beard (Dracula himself?) and by the statues positioned under one of the columns at the entrance, where you can see scenes of possible bites on the necks of women. So why not let your imagination fly?
Salvatore Caserta (5 months ago)
Nice place. We found ourselves visiting it for my niece's confirmation. The lack of organization of both the curia and the municipal administration (even the traffic police were not coordinated with each other) made the stay unpleasant. Hundreds of people crowded together with no escape route. Extremely rejected.
GIUSEPPE ORIOLI (6 months ago)
Very ancient, the Cathedral of Acerenza is a severe, austere place with no frills that can distract from prayer and contact with the Divine. To visit, together with the sixteenth-century crypt.
Serafino Romeo (7 months ago)
The visit to admire a religious building which can give an idea of ​​how the abbey church of the Holy Trinity would have become is very interesting. Sober but solemn, this cathedral refers to the architecture of other cathedrals scattered throughout Puglia. Also worth seeing is the sixteenth-century crypt.
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