Willem Vandenameele

Duomo Santa Maria Assunta - San Gimignano - Tuscany

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Author: Willem Vandenameele

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Source: Willem Vandenameele

The Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, or Cathedral of San Gimignano, is the city's most important religious building. The cathedral, which stands at the top of a wide staircase in the piazza del Duomo, was probably built around 1056 and was certainly consecrated in 1148. Restructuring work followed in 1239 and in 1460 the cathedral was expanded by architect Giuliano da Maiano. Thereafter, the cathedral remained largely unchanged until the damage it sustained in World War II was repaired.

The facade is made of travertine and has a Romanesque style. Inside the church, built on the traditional plan of a basilica, there are fourteen classical stone columns of the Tuscan order, ten of which are round and four octagonal. The walls of the church are completely covered with a cycle of beautiful frescoes, depicting stories from the Old and New Testaments, painted by illustrious artists of the fourteenth-century Sienese school such as Lippo and Federico Memmi and Bartolo di Fredi. The interior also has many other colorful decorations typical of the medieval period, such as the incredible blue cross vault and the intrados dividing the naves, which are decorated with a stripe pattern characteristic of the Tuscan taste.
In the cathedral is also a jewel of the Renaissance. the chapel of Santa Fina. The chapel is dedicated to the most beloved saint of San Gimignano, who, when she was young, was struck by a serious illness and asked to lie on a wooden table for the rest of her days; at the time of her death this table bloomed with yellow violets. Every March, the violets of Santa Fina emerge from the hard stone of the towers that give San Gimignano its famous profile.

Source: Willem Vandenameele

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