Sant'Anastasia church building started in 1280 and completed in 1400, designed by the Dominican friars. It took its name from a pre-existing temple built by King Theoderic the Great upon which was built the actual church. Since 1307, it is in fact co-entitled to St. Peter of Verona, martyr and co-patron of the city. Consecrated only in 1471, until 1808 the church was held by the Dominicans.
The 72 mt tall belltower had four bells in 1460, the fifth was added in 1650. In the 1839 were casted the actual 9 bells tuned in C, them are ringed in Veronese bellringing art by a local team founded in 1776. The façade is divided into three vertical section corresponding to the nave and the two aisles in the interior. Unfinished, the façade is mostly in brickwork. In the centre of the middle section is a simply rose window.
The 15th century portal has two doors, and is enclosed into a Gothic structure (1330) with arches supported by ornamental columns in red, black and white marble. The arches forms three lunettes: in the larger one is a representation of the Holy Trinity with two Angels, flanked by St. Joseph and the Holy Virgin. The Father sits on a Gothic throne with Crucifix on his knees and Christ on his side, surmounted by a dove. In the two smaller lunettes, directly over the portal, are portrayed the Bishop leading the Veronese people and St. Peter of Verona leading the monks, with the white-black banner of the Dominicans. The five splays of the Gothic arch are decorated with six chronological scenes of Jesus' life: the Annunciation, the Birth, the Adoration of the Magi, the Path towards the Calvary, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The central column between the doors has high-reliefs with St. Dominic, St. Peter of Verona and St. Thomas.
The interior, on the Latin cross plan, is divided into a nave and two aisles, with crossed vaults, separated by six columns each; the latter are in white or red Verona marble, with Gothic capitals. The four columns over the high altar show the coat of arms of the Castelbarco of Trento, a family who extensively contributed to the church's construction. Notable is the funerary monument to Cortesia Serego, on the left of the apse, which was finished in 1432 by Vincenzo di Stefano da Verona. It portrays the riding figure of Cortesia, clad with an armor and holding a commanding wand. The horse is placed of the sculpted sarcophagus, which has always been empty. The fresco part represents the Annunciation and the Saints Peter of Verona and Dominic.
The two stoups before the first two columns stands on two hunchback figures, one of which attributed to Paolo Veronese's elder son, Gabriele Caliari.
The Pellegrini Chapel houses the late International Gothic fresco of St. George and the Princess, main work of Pisanello, as well as terra-cotta statues by Michele di Firenze, executed before 1436. A frieze by the latter, or by Pisanello, has now disappeared. The Pellegrini chapel also houses the grave of Wilhelm von Bibra.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).