Mantua Cathedral (Duomo di Mantova) is the seat of the Bishop of Mantua. An initial structure probably existed on the site in the Early Christian era, which was followed by a building destroyed by a fire in 894. The current church was rebuilt in 1395–1401 with the addition of side chapels and a Gothic west front, which can still be seen in a sketch by Domenico Morone (preserved in the Palazzo Ducale of Mantua). The bell tower has seven bells.
After another fire in the 16th century, Giulio Romano rebuilt the interior but saved the frontage, which was replaced however in 1756–61 by the current Baroque one in Carrara marble. Notable characteristics of the Renaissance structure are the cusps, decorated with rose windows on the south side, which end at the Gothic bell tower.References:
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.