Rotonda di San Lorenzo

Mantua, Italy

The Rotonda di San Lorenzo is the most ancient church in Mantua. It is now sunk below the level of the Piazza della Erbe. It probably stands on the site of a Roman temple that was dedicated to the goddess Venus.

It was built during the reign of the Canossa family in the late 11th century. Inspired by the Holy Sepulchre church in Jerusalem and dedicated to the martyr St. Lawrence, it has a central plan and has maintained ancient features like the matronaeum (loggia for female faithful) and frescoes of the Byzantine school from the 11th-12th century. Another fresco fragment in the apse, portraying the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, dates to the 15th century. The construction, according to the Lombard tradition, is in bricks, but has two columns and other details in marble, coming from ancient edifices.

Deconsecrated, it was used for dwellings, shops and stores, and at the beginning of the 20th century it was covered by other edifices. Later, it was restored and the external additions removed.

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Address

Piazza Erbe, Mantua, Italy
See all sites in Mantua

Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

J. P. (13 months ago)
Beautiful Byzantine church with free entrance and no line to wait, in the centre of Mantova!!!!
Marco Monti (14 months ago)
Good Church
Angelina De Castro (2 years ago)
Adjacent to the Clock Tower. Free entry. There are two floors : the upper floor is the women's gallery - the space reserved for women however when we were there, just the ground level is open for visiting. Originally it was completely frescoed, now only fragments remain. Faded fresco portraying the Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence. Amazing that a church with a thousand year history, was hidden at least for three centuries. 1906 - is the year the municipality of Mantua authorised the construction of a road that connects Piazza Erbe to Porto Catena. For this reason, the houses that were close to the the market square were demolished and this treasure was discovered.
Nakarin P. (2 years ago)
Small place but should not miss it.
Shannon Wentworth (4 years ago)
I would love to travel back in time to see this 11th century church when it was new. Sadly it was abandoned as a church in the 1500s. The few remaining frescoes are amazing.
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