Basilica of San Zeno

Verona, Italy

The Basilica di San Zeno name rests partly on its architecture and partly upon the tradition that its crypt was the place of the marriage of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It stands adjacent to a Benedictine abbey, both dedicated to St Zeno of Verona.

St. Zeno died in 380. According to legend, at a site above his tomb along the Via Gallica, the first small church was erected by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. Erection of the present basilica and associated monastery began in the 9th century, when Bishop Ratoldus and King Pepin of Italy attended the translation of the saint's relics into the new church. This edifice was damaged or destroyed by a Magyar invasion in the early 10th-century, at which time Zeno's body was moved to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare: on May 21, 921, it was returned to its original site in the crypt of the present church. In 967, a new Romanesque edifice was built by Bishop Raterius, with the patronage of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor.

On January 3, 1117, the church, along with most of the city, was damaged by an earthquake; the church was restored and enlarged in 1138. Work was completed in 1398 with the reconstruction of the roof and of the Gothic-style apse.

Attached to the basilica is an abbey was erected in the 9th century over a pre-existing monastery. Of the original structure, destroyed in the Napoleonic Wars, only a large brick tower and the cloisters survive. It had originally another tower and the abbot's palace. For long time the abbey was the city's official residence of the Holy Roman Emperors. In the 1980s a restoration discovered frescoes from the 12th to 15th centuries.



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Founded: 9th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Zoltan Marius Bursan (8 months ago)
A Basilica! Yepp... Is a tone in Italy! Or... maybe not. Because each has his different beauty, style, story. This is one of them. Worth visiting if you are in Verona
Calum Carswell (8 months ago)
This church was beautiful and unique. There is an exquisite cloistered courtyard, and an impressive crypt. It's okay if the Verona Card, and it's definitely the best of Verona's churches!!
Michael Stavrakakis (10 months ago)
Majestic and beautiful temple with frescos dated back to the 13th century. The inside of the church is amazing, from the beautiful window to the wooden ceiling, the church looks amazing. The most incredible is the cloistered abbey, with each many pillars. There is a crypt housing the body of St. Zeno, which traditionally is believed to be the place Romeo and Juliet got married. The temple of St. Zeno is definitely worth a visit while you're in Verona.
Hao Yu (10 months ago)
First I’ve been attracted By Andrea’s Painting, however when I was there, I found the frescoes more attractive.
Chris ennew (12 months ago)
Stunning church - wonderful frescos and the bronze door is magnificent. A little way from the centre but we’ll worth the short walk!
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