Basilica del Carmine, Padova
Just outside the ancient old town is the Basilica del Carmine, a church most interesting for its history of destruction. Most churches in Italy have taken damage from earthquakes at some time in their past, but Basilica del Carmine has been set on fire by an Austrian airplane, demolished by Allied bombers during World War 2, and had its dome collapsed by massive snow build up. Its location, close to the train station, probably hasn't helped it much.
The basilica of the Carmine, situated in Piazza Petrarca, is a fine example of early Renaissance architecture in the spacious solemn style of Alberti and the Emilian School.
The real jewel of this church is the Sacristy and its little chapel with the very graceful shell-shaped ceiling, one of Lorenzo da Bologna's finest pieces of work.
On the high altar in the church there is image of the Madonna and Child to which the people of Padua attribute the sudden cessation of the plague in 1576. The fresco was detached from a wall and carried in procession to the Carmine on the evening of October 11 1576. Today the festival of the "Madonna dei Lumini" is still dear to the Paduans.
This charming reneissance Basilica was built between the 14th and 16th century - it has an attached chiostro (14th century) and a loggia, too (15th century). Its importance comes from the series of 16th century frescos that can be visited in its scoletta: some are of the brothers Campagnola, others by Girolamo dal Santo, others again by Stefano dall'Arzere. They have recently undergone restoration and are now a delight to the eyes!