The Duomo Vecchio or Old Cathedral (also called La Rotonda because of its round layout) is a rustic circular Romanesque co-cathedral standing next to the Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral) of Brescia. It is one of the most important examples of Romanesque round church in Italy.
While some claims for an earlier construction exist, the earliest documents state the cathedral was built in the 11th century on the site of a prior church with a basilica layout. It has a circular shape that became rare after the Council of Trent.
In the 19th century, many additions to the original medieval building were removed. The entrance portal is one later addition remaining. It contains the medieval Crypt of San Filastrio, in honor of the beatified Brescian bishop.
Near the entrance, rests the sarcophagus of Bishop Berardo Maggi (1308) made of red marble. The Duomo Vecchio contains l'Assunta(1526) and St. Luke, St. Mark and the sleeping Elijah(1533 - 34) by Moretto da Brescia. It contains a Gathering Manna by Gerolamo Romanino and a Translation of the Bodies of Saints by Francesco Maffei.
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.