Padua Cathedral is the third structure built on the same site. The first one was erected after the Edict of Milan in 313 and destroyed by an earthquake on 3 January 1117. It was rebuilt in Romanesque style: the appearance of the medieval church can be seen in the frescoes by Giusto de' Menabuoi in the adjoining baptistery.
The design of the existing cathedral is sometimes attributed to Michelangelo, but in fact it was the work of Andrea della Valle and Agostino Righetto, and has much in common with earlier Paduan churches. Although construction work began on the new Renaissance building in 1551, it was only completed in 1754, leaving the façade unfinished.
The Basilica stands between the Episcopal palace and the Baptistery. It is a Latin cross with three bays and an octagonal dome. The dome of the Glory covered in lead. Two sacristies adjoin the presbytery, one for the Canons and the other for the Prebendati. Between the Prebendati sacristy and the transept is the bell tower. The side doors open a small courtyard for the presbytery and on the Via Duomo, by the carriage entrance to the Episcopal palace. On the bell tower is a plaque from the Roman era that mentions the Gens Fabia of Veio, a title in the history of Padua from 49 B.C.
The unfinished facade The facade onto which open the three portals and incomplete. According to the plans of Gerolamo Frigimelica and Preti would have had to open an airy atrium of access and on the upper floor, a solemn loggia, in the style of the Roman basilicas; in facade a great classic pediment supported by six mighty semi columns of the Corinthian order. Second architect to connect atrium, the loggia and the episcopal palace, would open a ramp covered, on the right, which was left unfinished. During the First World War a bomb hits the upper part of the facade. A small rose opening was created during the restoration.
The nave is flanked by an aisle on each side. The aisles are harmoniously matched with the nave. The central nave has two large elliptical domes, matched to the chapels of St. Gregory Barbarigo and San Lorenzo Giustiniani. A large circular dome rises over the crossing. Chapels line the side aisles. Under the presbytery, the crypt is the Chapel of Santa Cross.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.