Summer in Verona 2013: Three Beautiful Churches

Sant'Anastasia -  the church next to the river

Sant’Anastasia – the church next to the river

If you follow my blog, you know how I love to visit the churches in Italy, and you were no doubt wondering how we had missed seeing Verona’s churches. Ha! Of course we didn’t miss them. We had time to see only three churches in Verona, but two of them rank among my top sights in the city. I took so many photos that I had to give the churches their own blog post. We missed the Chiesa di San Fermo, which is on my list for our next trip.

Construction of my favorite church and the largest in Verona, the Gothic Basilica of Sant’Anastasia, began in 1280 AD, but the interior of the church wasn’t completed until the early 16th century. The façade, which has never been completed, is one of the most plain that we’ve seen. Visiting the church is like being in a huge art gallery with paintings by famous artists, frescoes, beautiful pink Veronese marble pillars, two adorable (and probably exhausted!) stone hunchbacks holding up fonts of holy water, an unusual and stunning main altar, and a spectacular painted vaulted ceiling. We wandered there for nearly two hours, enthralled by it all.

San Zeno - Laughing St. Zeno - polychrome statue from the 13th century

San Zeno – Laughing St. Zeno – polychrome statue from the 13th century – isn’t he adorable!

The brochure for the Basilica di San Zeno, my second favorite church, says, “The Basilica of San Zeno is without any doubt one of the most beautiful and better preserved examples of Romanesque architecture in the whole of Northern Italy.” The basilica, dating from the 4th or 5th century, honors Saint Zeno, who was born in Africa, and as the eighth Bishop of Verona, converted the whole town to Christianity. He died in 380, and his remains were placed in the crypt of the church in 807.

The interior of the Romanesque Duomo, was dark and gray and suffered in comparison with the light-filled Sant’Anastasia. Construction on the Duomo began in the 12th century and continued for several hundred years. The Duomo had a long history even before the current construction. To the left of the main altar are the foundations of the 10th-century Church of St. Elena, and beneath that church are the mosaic floors from a 4th-century Roman church. My favorite area was the baptistery, which has a 14th-century crucifix hanging from the ceiling and an enormous font carved from a single piece of marble.

Ciao!

Sant'Anastasia - façade - so plain, although the entrance is beautiful

Sant’Anastasia – façade – so plain, although the entrance is beautiful

Sant'Anastasia - ceiling

Sant’Anastasia – ceiling

Sant'Anastasia - hunchback holding up a font of holy water

Sant’Anastasia – hunchback holding up a font of holy water

Sant'Anastasia - Sculpture named Pasquino by Paolo Orefice in 1591 - he's holding up a basin of holy water. Note the floor.

Sant’Anastasia – Sculpture named Pasquino (Paolo Orefice, 1591) – he’s supporting a basin of holy water. Note the floor.

Sant'Anastasia - I think this is Our Lady of the Rosary, but I'm not sure

Sant’Anastasia – I think this is Our Lady of the Rosary, but I’m not sure

Sant'Anastasia

Sant’Anastasia

Sant'Anastasia - fresco

Sant’Anastasia – fresco

Sant'Anastasia - left transept - early 15th-century fresco by Boninsegna

Sant’Anastasia – left transept – early 15th-century fresco by Boninsegna

Sant'Anastasia - high altar

Sant’Anastasia – high altar

Sant'Anastasia - high altar

Sant’Anastasia – high altar

Sant'Anastasia - Pellegrini Chapel - walls are covered with 24 tableau in terracotta that tell the story of Christ's life (Michele da Firenze, 1435)

Sant’Anastasia – Pellegrini Chapel – walls are covered with 24 tableaux in terracotta that tell the story of Christ’s life (Michele da Firenze, 1435)

Sant'Anastasia - St. George and the Princess (Pisanello) near the ceiling above the Pellegrini Chapel - one of the most famous frescoes in the church

Sant’Anastasia – St. George and the Princess (Pisanello) near the ceiling above the Pellegrini Chapel – one of the most famous frescoes in the church but difficult for me to photograph with my small camera

Sant'Anastasia - Centrego Altar (1488-1502) - painting by Girolamo dai Libri

Sant’Anastasia – Centrego Altar (1488-1502) – painting by Girolamo dai Libri

Sant'Anastasia - fresco on a pillar

Sant’Anastasia – fresco on a pillar

Sant'Anastasia - ceiling

Sant’Anastasia – ceiling

Sant'Anastasia - organ

Sant’Anastasia – organ

San Zeno - façade

San Zeno – façade

San Zeno - looking from the nave into the sanctuary

San Zeno – looking from the nave into the sanctuary

San Zeno - spectacular bronze doors

San Zeno – spectacular bronze doors

San Zeno - bronze door panels

San Zeno – bronze door panels

San Zeno - bronze door panel

San Zeno – bronze door panel

San Zeno - sanctuary - frescoes

San Zeno – sanctuary – frescoes

San Zeno - altar and wooden altarpiece

San Zeno – altar and wooden altarpiece

San Zeno - main altar - detail of the altarpiece

San Zeno – main altar – detail of the altarpiece

San Zeno - fresco of the crucifixion from the second half of the 14th century

San Zeno – sanctuary – fresco of the crucifixion from the second half of the 14th century

San Zeno - crypt - the remains of St. Zeno are preserved here

San Zeno – crypt – the remains of St. Zeno are preserved here

San Zeno - crypt - the capital of each pillar had a unique design

San Zeno – crypt – the capital of each pillar had a unique design

San Zeno - crypt - pillar capital

San Zeno – crypt – pillar capital

San Zeno - stations of the cross

San Zeno – nave – stations of the cross

San Zeno - station of the cross detail

San Zeno – nave – station of the cross detail

San Zeno - 13th-14th century frescoes

San Zeno – nave – 13th-14th century frescoes

San Zeno - 13th-14th century fresco

San Zeno – nave – 13th-14th century frescoes

San Zeno - Iconostatis - a wall of marble statues of Christ and the apostles that separate the nave from the sanctuary

San Zeno – iconostatis – a wall of marble statues of Christ and the apostles that separate the nave from the sanctuary

San Zeno - cloister

San Zeno – cloister

San Zeno - view of the bell tower from the cloister

San Zeno – view of the bell tower from the cloister

Duomo - exterior - bell tower begun in the 16th century

Duomo – exterior – bell tower begun in the 16th century

Duomo - Dionisi Chapel - altarpiece by Antonio Balestra (1711)

Duomo – Dionisi Chapel – altarpiece by Antonio Balestra (1711)

Duomo - Mazzanti Chapel - sarcophagus and ark of Sant'Agata (1353)

Duomo – Mazzanti Chapel – sarcophagus and ark of Sant’Agata (1353)

Duomo - beautiful and unusual organ with painted doors (Brusasorzi)

Duomo – beautiful and unusual organ with painted doors (Brusasorzi)

Mosaic floor from the Roman church (4th century)

Duomo – Mosaic floor from the Roman church (4th century)

Duomo baptistery - altarpiece (Madonna on the throne with Child, St. Stephen, Se. Zeno, St. Giorgio, and St. Elena, 1573-79)

Duomo baptistery – altarpiece (“Madonna on the throne with Child, St. Stephen, Se. Zeno, St. Giorgio, and St. Elena,” 1573-79)

Duomo baptistery - the octagonal baptismal font depicts eight scenes from the Bible

Duomo baptistery – the octagonal baptismal font depicts eight scenes from the Bible

Duomo baptistery - detail of the baptismal font

Duomo baptistery – detail of the baptismal font

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4 Responses to Summer in Verona 2013: Three Beautiful Churches

  1. nikkimackan says:

    beautiful!! I love churches — this blog was beautiful!!

  2. chuckV1218 says:

    There is a beautiful church in Verona with a massive, wooden altar rail that has a gate in the middle. When we visited I stood beside the gate and listened to a rehearsal of an amazing vocal solo accompanied by violin. I have a photo of the altar rail but we cannot recall the name of the church or find a photo of the interior. Can you help?

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