The church of Santa Maria in Araceli is a late-Baroque style church built in the late 17th century in Vicenza according to designs attributed to Guarino Guarini. Construction of the present church was begun during 1672-1680, a period during which the famous architect Guarino Guarini resided in Vicenza under the patronage of the Theatines. In 1965, designs for the church were found in the Vatican Library. Construction seems to have been guided by Carlo Borella. It was about 60 years after the start of construction, on November 17, 1743, that the church was consecrated. In 1810, during the Napoleonic occupation, the convent was expropriated, and the church became a parish church.
The main baroque altar (1696), was carved in marble by Tommaso Bezzi . It contains an altarpiece representing the Tiburtine Sybil who portends the coming Virgin and Child to the Roman Emperor Augustus attributed to Pietro Liberi . The altar on the right has a 13th-century painted crucifix, originally from church of San Vito.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).