Padua Cathedral

Not to be confused with Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua.
Padua Cathedral with the baptistery on the right
Frescoes in the baptistery by Giusto de' Menabuoi

Padua Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Padova; Basilica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta) is a Roman Catholic cathedral and minor basilica in Padua, northern Italy. The cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is the seat of the bishop of Padua.

It is the third structure built on the same site. The first one was erected after the Edict of Milan in 313 and destroyed by an earthquake on 3 January 1117. It was rebuilt in Romanesque style: the appearance of the medieval church can be seen in the frescoes by Giusto de' Menabuoi in the adjoining baptistery.

The design of the existing cathedral is sometimes attributed to Michelangelo, but in fact it was the work of Andrea della Valle and Agostino Righetto, and has much in common with earlier Paduan churches. Although construction work began on the new Renaissance building in 1551, it was only completed in 1754, leaving the façade unfinished.

The Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta is the main place of Catholic worship in Padua and the seat of a bishop of the diocese since the fourth century. The cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, has the dignity of minor basilica.[1] It is also a parish center and allows for veneration of the bodies of San Daniele, San Leonino and San Gregorio Barbarigo. The current building dates from the sixteenth century and its construction involved Michelangelo Buonarroti. It is located on the east side of the Piazza Duomo next to the Bishop's Palace.[2]


Paleochristian Age

Tradition says that the first cathedral was built after the Edict of Constantine. A pillar of stone surmounted by a cross marks its location in the current churchyard. It was dedicated to Santa Giustina. During a restoration (ca 462 or 602) the Episcopal see of Patavium was joined Santa Maria. Bishop Tricidio restored the cathedral in 620 and it was again rebuilt between 899 A and 900 because of a fire. In 1075 the Bishop Olderico consecrated the new cathedral on the ruins of the previous church. For this last step construction, historians between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries supposes a facade building located to the east, with a confession and a crypt under the apse where bishop Tricidio is buried. His tombstone was discovered during the excavation of the foundations. This basilica collapsed during the January 3, 1117 earthquake.[2]

Excavation and research by the Chair of Medieval Archeology at the University of Padua between 2011 and 2012 has expanded knowledge of the entire area around the Episcopal Palace, the Cathedral, and the Baptistery. In the north-east corner of the churchyard, they found the base of a tower with a square plan (10 by 10 metres (33 by 33 ft) in the Romanesque style from between the Tenth and Twelfth century. The excavations found the foundations of buildings from between the Ninth and Eleventh century. North of the Baptistery are a series of mosaic pavement from the Fourth and the Fifth Centuries. Among the finds, a sarcophagus in stone for relics, a Lacerta altar dating from the Fifth or Sixth century, fragments of liturgical furnishings from various eras, graves (56 individuals) and traces of home workshops from the Longobard age.[2]

The Cathedral of Macillo

Presbytery of Padua Cathedral

As a result of the earthquake of 1117, a new cathedral was erected by architect Macillo, it is not clear whether on the ruins of the cathedral of Olderico or to a new location; opening a piazza and churchyard. It was consecrated the April 24, 1180.[2] The new church stood in area of the current cathedral, with the identical orientation (facade to the east and presbytery to the west) divided into three naves and the transept. The side aisle to the south, overlooking a road that skirted the Episcopal Palace and the bell tower, the side aisle to the north was contiguous to the cloister of the canons and the Baptistery. Inside the nave and the aisles were divided by columns and pillars, alternative in the Ottonian tradition. In 1227 the campanile was rebuilt. Bishop Stephen from Carrara promoted some restoration and embellishment of the vaults and (1399 and 1400).[2]

The new Cathedral

The Bishop Peter Barozzi wanted to modernize the church with the construction of a new great presbytery second way et structure romanae ecclesiae Saint Peter, the project by Bernardo Rossellino for the choir of St. Peter's Basilica. The first stone of start the work was blessed and placed in the foundation the May 6, 1522 by Cardinal Francis Pisani who with the Canons and the prebendati funded the reconstruction. The project continued over two centuries. The January 2, 1551 the chapter of canons approved the model for the presbytery by Michelangelo Buonarroti to replace that of Jacopo Sansovino. The design of Michelangelo was completed within the next few decades. The presbytery was inaugurated by Bishop Federico Cornaro the April 14, 1582. Cornaro had to remove the old medieval bell tower initiated by Cardinal Pisani. The old facade was extended and adorned. Toward 1635 the construction of the right arm of the transept was begun and in 1693 the left side. The remains of the old cathedral were gradually removed and the new nave, designed by Gerolamo Frigimelica and Francesco Maria Preti, as well as Giambattista Novello built on the same site. The Casthedral was consecrated on August 25, 1754 by Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico. It was then designated a minor basilica. Construction of the dome began in 1756 under the direction of John Glory and Giorgio Massari.[2]


Apse, dome and bell tower of the Cathedral of Padua.

The Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta stands between the Episcopal palace and the Baptistery. It is a Latin cross with three bays and an octagonal dome. The dome of the Glory covered in lead. Two sacristies adjoin the presbytery, one for the Canons and the other for the Prebendati. Between the Prebendati sacristy and the transept is the bell tower. The side doors open a small courtyard for the presbytery and on the Via Duomo, by the carriage entrance to the Episcopal palace. On the bell tower is a plaque from the Roman era that mentions the Gens Fabia of Veio, a title in the history of Padua from 49 B.C.[2]

The unfinished facade The facade onto which open the three portals and incomplete. According to the plans of Gerolamo Frigimelica and Preti would have had to open an airy atrium of access and on the upper floor, a solemn loggia, in the style of the Roman basilicas; in facade a great classic pediment supported by six mighty semi columns of the Corinthian order. Second architect to connect atrium, the loggia and the episcopal palace, would open a ramp covered, on the right, which was left unfinished. During the First World War a bomb hits the upper part of the facade. A small rose opening was created during the restoration.[2]


General View of the inside of the Cathedral of Padua

The nave is flanked by an aisle on each side. The aisles are harmoniously matched with the nave. The central nave has two large elliptical domes, matched to the chapels of St. Gregory Barbarigo and San Lorenzo Giustiniani. A large circular dome rises over the crossing. Chapels line the side aisles. Under the presbytery, the crypt is the Chapel of Santa Cross.[2]

Right Aisle and chapels

The first chapel, which opens on the right aisle, from input, with an altar was donated in 1760 by the Fraglia della of the shoemakers hosts a blade operates by Dionisio Gardini and depicting St. Pius X (that was a seminarian in Padua). Originally there was placed a table of Giambattista Mingardi depicting the martyrdom of Saints Crispin and Crispiniano, protectors of the shoemakers. In the second chapel, on altar, an altarpiece depicting the martyrdom of San Lorenzo, work of Alessandro Galvano. The chapel of San Lorenzo Giustiniani, with great altar was commissioned by Bishop Nicholas Antonio Giustiniani to honor his Holy ancestor. The marble statue of Carrara and Happy Chiereghin (1788). The blade behind with the Virgin and saints, and attributed to Alessandro Varotari "the Padovanino". The bishop employer is buried in the chapel. The walls epigraphs and the remains of funerary monuments episcopalian belonging to the cathedral macilliana. From 1809, behind altar and place, hidden by a marble slab, the body of San Leolino bishop of Padua, a time venerated in the church of San Leolino in Prà della Valle. In altar following, a modern representation of the Sacred Heart (R. Mulata) in replacement of San Carlo Borromeo in prayer, the work of Baptist Bissoni, already in the Basilica Antoniana Popolare. In porch of the gate to the rectory two monuments by Girolamo Campagna, the one on the left at Sperone Speroni and the one on the right of the daughter Giulia Speroni.[2]

Baptistery of the Cathedral

Giusto de ' Menabuoi - Frescoes from the Baptistery of the Duomo of Padua

The Baptistery of Padua, located to the right of the cathedral, dates from the Twelfth century. It was revised the following century. It was consecrated by Guido, Patriarch of Grado (1281). It is also the mausoleum of the Carraresi. The frescoes which decorate it (1375-1376) are by Giusto de Menabuoi.[2]

Capitulary Library

Heritage belonging to the Capitular Library, a time kept on the premises above the sacristy of the Canons.[2]


  1. Basilica Cattedrale di S. Maria, Cathedral-Basilica of St. Mary, Padova, Padova, Veneto, Italy
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 it:Duomo di Padova

External links


Coordinates: 45°24′23″N 11°52′18″E / 45.40639°N 11.87167°E / 45.40639; 11.87167

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