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The Cathedral of Verona

The Cathedral, the main church of Verona (but in my opinion not the most beautiful one) is dedicated to S. Maria Assunta and it is one of the examples of romanesque style in Verona. This church is part of a bigger complex of architectural buildings which include
S. Giovanni in Fonte, S. Elena, the cloister, the Capitular library and the bishop’s residence. Here lives and celebrates the bishop, this is why it is considered the main church of Verona.
The origins of this complex are very old. As a matter of fact, in this area a palaeo-christian church was built (exactly where S. Elena church is now).
The cathedral was consecrated by St. Zeno, bishop of Verona between 362-380 A.d., but after a few years, it was replaced by a larger basilica because its dimensions weren't suitable anymore. If you visit this part of the basilica now you can't see all the original parts, but a few remains are still visible, for example some beautiful mosaic floors. You can't see the old church because in 7th century a fire or an earthquake hit Verona destroying this paleo-christian building.
Only between the 8th and the 9th century the church was rebuilt by Archdeacon Pacifico, but it didn't last long because in 1117 a major earthquake hit the city again. People of that time spent at least 20 years to repair and rebuild the building, meanwhile two romanesque porches were added and after a some centuries later, with other restorations, a side chapel and the semicircular choir screen were added (precisely in 16th century).
A nice detail of the church is the floor, made of white and black marble. Inside the cathedral there are many chapels dedicated to saints and to important families. Inside these little chapels there are wonderful paintings and frescos.  
A painting of the Cathedral of Verona in 1845 by Jacob Von Alt

The artists whose paintings, artworks, statues and frescos are attributed are: Antonio il Badile, Antonio Balestra, Angelo Sartori, Giovanni Maria Falconetto, Nicolò Giolfino, Giambettino Cignaroli, Francesco Morone, G.B. Burato, Biagio Falceri, Domenico da Lugo, Francesco Torbido, Giulio Romano, Michele Sanmicheli, Agostino Ugolini, Michele da Verona, Biagio Biagetti, Felice Brusasorzi, Paolo Farinati, Giovanni Caroto, Felice Brusasorzi, Giuseppe Zamboni, Vincenzo Cadorin, Michelangelo Prunati, Sante Prunati and some anonymous.

The facade of the cathedral
Here the chapels you can see inside the church:
  • Dionisi Chapel
  • Calcasoli Chapel
  • Emilei Chapel
  • Memo Chapel
  • Mazzanti Chapel
  • Main Chapel
  • Maffei Chapel
  • Chapel of the Madonna of the People
  • Cartolari Chapel
  • Abbazia-Lazzari Chapel
  • Cartolari-Nichesola Chapel
The main church of the cathedral complex from inside

An important tombstone is visible inside, the tomb of Pope Lucio III, who died in 1185 in Verona. Other saints have their grave monuments: St. Agata and St. Annone.

When you are inside the main cathedral, if you pass through the door under the organ you reach the romanesque atrium which then continues to the church of St. Elena and the baptistery of St. Giovanni in Fonte. This last building, rebuilt in romanesque forms around 1123 A.d. contains an octagonal baptismal font and it's considered a masterpiece of romanesque sculpture (it is right in the middle of the baptistery). The font was carved out of one single marble block and the scenes depicted on the 8 panels represent Gospel episodes from the Announciation until Christ’s baptism.
Baptistery of St. Giovanni, next the Cathedral of Verona
The other little church nearby, the church of St. Elena, dedicated to St. George and St. Zeno, was built in the 9th century A.d. and than renovated after the earthquake of 1117 in the romanesque style. 
A curiosity is the writing on the outside facade that recalls a famous speech “Quaestio de aqua et terra” which Dante (the main italian poet of ever) read in this church in 1320.
The last part of this complex is the cloister, built between 1117 and 1120 in the romanesque style of the time.
St. Elena church, next the cathedral of Verona

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