Basilica of Sant'Andrea

Mantua, Italy

The Basilica of Sant'Andrea is a minor basilica in Mantua. It is one of the major works of 15th-century Renaissance architecture in Northern Italy. Commissioned by Ludovico III Gonzaga, the church was begun in 1472 according to designs by Leon Battista Alberti on a site occupied by a Benedictine monastery, of which the bell tower (1414) remains. The building, however, was only finished 328 years later. Though later changes and expansions altered Alberti's design, the church is still considered to be one of Alberti's most complete works. It looms over the Piazza Mantegna.

Architecture

The façade, built abutting a pre-existing bell tower (1414), is based on the scheme of the ancient Arch of Trajan at Ancona. It is largely a brick structure with hardened stucco used for the surface. It is defined by a large central arch, flanked by Corinthian pilasters. There are smaller openings to the right and left of the arch. A novel aspect of the design was the integration of a lower order, comprising the fluted Corinthian columns, with a giant order, comprising the taller, unfluted pilasters. The whole is surmounted by a pediment and above that a vaulted structure, the purpose of which is not exactly known, but presumably to shade the window opening into the church behind it.

An important aspect of Alberti’s design was the correspondence between the façade and the interior elevations, both elaborations of the triumphal arch motif, the arcades, like the facade, having alternating high arches and much lower square topped openings.

The nave is roofed by a barrel vault, one of the first times such a form was used in such a monumental scale since antiquity, and probably modeled on the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome. Alberti possibly planned for the vault to be coffered, much like the shorter barrel vault of the entrance, but lack of funds led to the vault being constructed as a simple barrel vault with the coffers then being painted on. Originally, the building was planned without a transept, and possibly even without a dome. This phase of construction more or less ended in 1494.

In 1597, the lateral arms were added and the crypt finished. The massive dome (1732–1782) was designed by Filippo Juvarra, and the final decorations on the interior added under Paolo Pozzo and others in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

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Details

Founded: 1472
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alan Smurthwaite (3 months ago)
One of the must see's in Mantua. The inside is amazing
Richard Howes (3 months ago)
Excellent food and service. This is a great place to try if you are traveling through and have some ability to communicate in Italian or are going with Italians. There servers we had did not speak English and the menus we're in Italian, but our friends recommend dishes and they were delicious!
eranga perera (3 months ago)
Fascinating medieval and unique historical buildings.lovely place to visit with children and family.also best with the groups.we(our group)also enjoyed very very long hour lovely wonderful amazing boat ride.it is the wonderful boat ride I ever had in my life.only problem we had 05/05/2019 is the bad weather.heavy rains and bad light effected to our tour.
Josip civadelić (5 months ago)
So beautiful monument full of history, it's a must see when you visiting Mantova Italy
Peter Sillet (13 months ago)
You cannot come to Mantova without taking the time to visit the basilica di Sant'Andrea. The decoration and frescoes inside literally took my breath away. The building looks amazing from the outside and is stunningly beautiful inside.
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