The successive early Christian, high medieval, Romanesque and Gothic contributions through the course of time have made the Duomo an extremely rich architectural complex, more than just a single building: it is formed by the Cathedral, the square, the Capitulary Library, the cloister of the Canonicals, St. Elena, St. Giovanni in Fonte and the Bishopric. The history of the Verona Cathedral is the history of four Basilicas. Among the architectural innovations of the latest grandiose intervention, between the second half of the XV century and the second half of the XVI century, are the façade, the internal door, over which there is a splendid clock, the great columns, erected to raise the naves; the choir banister by Sammicheli.
Verona's cathedral was built in the 1100s and is worth a visit. The cathedral's exterior is fairly plain, but its interior is beautiful - full of marble, paintings and sculptures. The paintings are from a number of local renaissance aritsts, of who Titian is the most well known. Another highlight of the the interior is its beautiful pipe organ. Off to one side of the nave, there is the foundation of an old church that has been excavated.
The Cathedral is not actually in the centre and requires a bit of a hike to get to it, but it does take you off the tourst trail.. If you head towards the river to the north east side, you can plan the walk to take you through some of the oldest streets in Verona such as Via Sottoriva .
The cathedral complex actaully has much more than just the cathedral itself. There are the cloisters, Santa Elena a very old but pretty church where Dante read out some of his work, and the Bibioteca.
All very intersting and educatinal, however I must admit that my favourite were the basilisks guarding the main door. Make sure you get a picture astride one of them
The Church of St Elena
The Church of St Elena was built in the 9th century, and extensively renovated after the earthquake of 1117. It is very simple compared with the Cathedral and the Baptistery, but has a charm of its own. The carved marble slab dates from 1440, but my Latin was far too rusty to translate the rest of the inscription. Don?t miss the quaint organ, with its hand-bellows.
The entrance to the Baptistery is through a door beneath the organ in the Cathedral.
The Baptistery dates from the 12th century, and has recently been restored. Frescos can be seen adorning the walls, and there are several interesting paintings. The octagonal font is enormous and is carved from a single block of marble. The details are worth a close study.
The Cathedral complex in Verona consists of the Cathedral itself and the church of St Giovanni in Fonte (the Baptistery of the Cathedral) and the church of St Elena.
Entrance fee 2.50 euros, but you can buy a day ticket giving admission to the five churches, or use the Verona card.
The cathedral complex has grown on this site since the 4th century AD, and the present church dates from the 8th and 9th centuries. It has been altered and renovated over the centuries, with major reconstruction in the 12th century following an earthquake. There are paintings and frescos dating from the 15th and 16th century refurbishments. The latest renovations only finished in 2002.
Through a door on the left-hand side beneath the organ you can visit the Baptistery and the Church of St Elena.
Verona's cathedral (Santa Maria Matricolare) was begun in 1139 and is fronted by a magnificent Romanesque portal carved by Nicolo, one of the two master masons responsible for the facade of San Zeno Maggiore church. The highlight of the interior is Titian's lovely Assumption (1535-40) and outside there is a Romanesque cloister in which the excavated ruins of earlier churches are visable. The 8th century baptistry, or San Giovanni in Fonte (St John of the Spring), was built from Roman masonry; the marble font was carved in 1200.
Verona cathedral is recognisable on its white tower which you can see from various parts of the city. It is one of the nicest churches I have been to and yet not the most fantastic in Verona! The interesting thing about it is that it is in an area previously occupied by older churches, a monastery and much more and so, you can see the foundations of these older buildings in the church crypt, including some lovely Roman mosaics! They don't know if these were part of a Roman bath, a Minerva temple or exactly what as that's how much there was under the Duomo. Here you also find the little baptism chapel of San Giovanni in Fonte. There are also interesting art and architecture from more modern times in the church itself and on its entrance, notably the Roman portal by Nicolò and a Tizian painting. A real treasure trove.
The interior of the Cathedral is spasious and impressive. Two lines of powerful ribbed piers branch out to support the Gothic vaulting, dividing the nave from the aisles.
At the end of the right aisle, in the Cappella Mazzanti, lies the Tomb of Saint Agatha, a masterpiece by a follower of Bonino da Campione, dated 1353.
The cathedral's main chapel contains remarkable frescoes by Francesco Torbido painted in the dome of the apse and on the arch.
A marble semicircular choir screen by Michele Sanmicheli (1534) encloses the main chapel and presbytery.
The first chapel contains the famous altarpiece by Titian, "the Assumption".
There is a splendid canopy above the doorway of the Cathedral, composed of two arches, one above the other. It is an example of the Romanesques style developed in Verona and the Po valley, ascribed to Master Nicolo and his school who built the entrance in 1138.
The right hand side of the building, the only one completely visible, is of great interest, with its lovely side door, as is also the apse with its excellent relief work executed by Veronese craftsmen.
Santa Maria Matricolare, the Cathedral of Verona, stands in a small square flanked with ancient buildings, which create a perfect setting for the lovely old church, that stands partly on the site of a very ancient and pre-existing basilica. It was consecrated in 1187, although building and decoration continued long after this date.
The design of facade is unsual because of the mixture of Romanesque and Gothic elements it contains.
The belltower is still not complete, despite work carried out on it recently by the architect Fagiuoli. The 16th century middle section is by Sanmicheli.
On the other side of the River Adige, across the Ponte Pietra, is situated the San Pietro Hill and the Castle of S. Pietro. From the top of that hill there is a spectacular view on the city of Verona and the Adige River. In the focus of my camera is Duomo, the Cathedral of Verona.
In a small square, which complements it to calculated effect, is Santa Maria Matricolare, (dedicated, like so many religious buildings in Italy, St. Mary) the Cathedral of Verona. It was built on the site of a previous Early Christian church (why couldn’t they build it close to it, but not on the top of it??!!! – That’s what I always wonder when I find out of such a thing) and consecrated in 1187, the Cathedral has a facade which is a perfect composite of Romanesque and Gothic forms. The grandiose porch, consisting of a double baldachin supported by columns resting on stylised lion figures, is particularly striking. The portal is the work of Nicole', the same artist who was responsible for the porch of San Zeno; here he sculpted various figures, including prophets and animals, the legendary heroes dear to the Middle Ages and Biblical figures. At the sides of the porch, two large Gothic windows are cut into the facade, while above it are three rows of miniature arcades, producing a chiaroscuro of light and shade. Higher up on the facade are spires and pinnacles which create an ever lighter effect towards the top. The bell-tower, the lower part of which is Romanesque, betrays the hand of Sanmicheli in the central section, while the uppert part was completed by Fagiuoli in 1926.
The interior is divided into three naves, with composite pillars of red marble supporting the ponderous arcades from which the cruciform vaults diverge. The church contains numerous works of art, among them the splendid tomb of St. Agatha, created by an unknown master in 1353 and above the altar in the Nichesola Chapel, is cpthe only work painted by Titian in Verona, the Assumption, which he did between 1535 and 1540.
Check out the DUOMO.
The photo below shows exactly how the Duomo looks like inside... which as you can see, certainly took my breath away. It's simply enchanting. Shhh!! And you can even hear a pin drop in here. Hm....
Here is the Duomo take a picture from the brige that's name I forgot and that was not far from the Hotel Francescati where we stayed