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

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cleber Fregatto (6 months ago)
What an amazing Basilica! It's huge and very, very beautiful inside. The paintings are impressive and the Duomo require a special appreciation moment. Definitely a high note of Mantova.
Haushaltungs Vorstand (6 months ago)
The Lord has a very long Lunchtime from 12 a. m. to 3 p.m..
Campanaro Ligure (8 months ago)
The Highest Bell Tower And Dome In Mantua.
Dam Car (14 months ago)
An absolutely magical minor basilica which is a must for any visitor to Mantua. Built in the Renaissance style it is literally covered with frescos and paintings. Incredibly impressive from the moment you walk in the door. Definitely overshadows the Cathedral – unfortunately! Ensure you allow enough time to visit it SLOWLY. On top of the usual features in many basilicas, there is an octagonal balustrade coving the altar in the crypt where a relic of the Precious Blood of Jesus is kept. According to Catholic tradition, it was brought to Mantua by the Roman centurion Saint Longinus (the one who opened Christ’s side with a lance), who had scooped up the earth containing the blood. The sacred vessels, containing the relic are carried in procession through the city on Good Friday. A beautiful place to pray and reflect – make the most of your time. Unfortunately the crypt was closed when I visited and nobody was available to open it. (Visit by reservation only on weekdays; Open Saturday 10:30 – 11:30 & 3pm – 5:30pm; Sundays 3pm – 5:30 pm). For people who believe, it will be a spiritual highlight, for non-believers it can still be a historical and artistic highlight.
Alan Smurthwaite (2 years ago)
One of the must see's in Mantua. The inside is amazing
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