Begun in 1460 according to the designs of Leon Battista Alberti, it was left partially completed in the mid 1470s, by which time construction had slowed and was no longer being directed by Alberti. As a consequence, little remains of Alberti’s work apart from the plan, which is considered one of the earliest and most significant examples of Renaissance centrally-planned churches. The plan is in the shape of a Greek cross, with three identical arms centring apses, under a central cross-vaulted space without any interior partitions. The church sits on a ground-level crypt which was intended to serve as a mausoleum for the Gonzaga family.
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