Dating primarily from the 12th century, Verona Cathedral has some fine Romanesque carvings, Early Christian artifacts, and a lovely painting by Titian.
The first cathedral of Verona, a relatively modest structure, was consecrated by St. Zeno by 380 AD on a site just north of the present cathedral. This was replaced by a larger building in the 5th century. Mosaic pavements from these ancient churches can still be seen beneath the Church of St. Elena and the Canons' Cloister.
The second basilica was destroyed by earthquake or fire in the 7th century and rebuilt on the present site in the 8th and 9th centuries. This cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake in 1117, and rebuilding work began again.
The present cathedral of Verona was built in 1117-38, but many renovations were made later. The interior was completely remodeled in the Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries. Restoration of frescoes, wooden furnishings and the lighting system was completed in 2002.
What to See
The west facade is broad and austere in the typical Veronese Romanesque style, but a double porch, small pinnacles, and Lombard bands add visual interest.
The west portal of the cathedral was sculpted by Maestro Nicolo (who also carved the portal at San Zeno) in 1139 - we know this because he signed and dated it. The two main reliefs on the porch depict St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist. Orlando and Uliviero guard the entrance to the cathedral, and 10 prophets holding scrolls with Latin inscriptions flank the doors. The tympanum depicts the Virgin and Child, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Adoration of the Shepherds.
The south portal is also worth a look - it was carved in the early 12th century by the workshop of Peregrinus. The sculptures include depictions of the story of Jonah, a lion, an angel, the Virgin Mary.
The 12th-century apse is the architectural highlight of the cathedral and a fine example of the Veronese Romanesque style: made of warm-hued tufa stone, it is decorated with vertical pilasters and a Classical frieze.
The campanile is a mix of styles from Romanesque at the bottom to Renaissance at the top (the work of Sanmichele in the 16th century). It was finally completed in the 20th century.
The interior is Gothic in style, with three aisles divided by tall, broad arches. The west bays (by the entrance) have frescoes by Giovanni Maria Falconetto (c. 1503).
The sanctuary is enclosed by a curved choir screen made by Sanmicheli and decorated with a Crucifixion by Giambattista da Verona (1534). The sanctuary itself has frescoes by Francesco Torbido, based on drawings by Guilio Romano. The first chapel on the north side contains an Assumption of the Virgin by Titian.
Returning outside, a passageway to the left of the facade leads to the church of Sant'Elena and the Canons' Cloister, where ruins of the earliest cathedrals can be seen.
Quick Facts on Verona Cathedral
|Names:||Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta; Duomo di Verona; Verona Cathedral|
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|Coordinates:||45.447349° N, 10.997127° E (view on Google Maps)|
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Map of Verona Cathedral
Below is a location map and aerial view of Verona Cathedral. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.
- Paul Blanchard, Blue Guide Northern Italy, 12th ed. (London: Somerset Books, 2005), 337-38.
- The Cathedral Complex of Verona - Associazione Chiese Vive Verona
- The Duomo - Frommer's Northern Italy
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