02 April, 2009

Duomo of Orvieto, Italy-Skywatch Today

The Duomo of Orvieto took some 300 years to build (begun in 1290) and is one of Italy's greatest cathedrals. The Gothic façade of the Orvieto Cathedral is one of the great masterpieces of the Late Middle Ages. The three-gable design is attributed to Maitani, who had clearly undergone some influence by the design scheme for the façade in Tuscan Gothic style of the Siena Cathedral by Giovanni Pisano (1287-1297) and the plan for façade of the Florence Cathedral by Arnolfo di Cambio (1294-1302).

The building was constructed under the orders of Pope Urban IV to commemorate and provide a suitable home for the Corporal of Bolsena, a miracle which is said to have occurred in 1263 in the nearby town of Bolsena, when a traveling priest who had doubts about the truth of transubstantiation found that his Host was bleeding so much that it stained the altar cloth. The cloth is now stored in the Chapel of the Corporal inside the cathedral.

Please click on the photographs to see more detail.

The most exciting and eye-catching part is its golden frontage, which is decorated by large bas-reliefs and statues with the symbols (Angel, Ox, Lion, Eagle) of the Evangelists created by Maitani and collaborators (between 1325 and 1330) standing on the cornice above the sculptured panels on the piers. The Lion

The Eagle

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I hope you enjoyed this installment from my recent trip to Italy. The day I visited Orvieto the sky was brilliant and oh so blue and the cathedral, as I have reported about in a previous post, sparkled like a jewel atop the hill.

30 March, 2009

My World-Basilica di Santa Chiara-Assisi, Italy February 2009

Comune di Assisi is a medieval town located in the province of Umbria . Assisi is a little over two hours north and east of Rome by train. You have to transfer at Foligno for a 15 minute ride to the Assisi Railroad Station. Outside the Station you hop on a local bus (1 euro per way) that takes you up to the hill.

Assisi's notoriety throughout the world comes from Saint Francis of Assisi and is the burial place of him. I will share more about Saint Francis and the Basilica di San Francisco in a future post.

The Basilica di Santa Chiara (Saint Clare) pictured is dedicated to and contains the remians of Chiara Offreduccio(July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253) - Saint Clare of Assisi, a follower of Saint Francis and, a founder of the Order of Poor Ladies, and known to today as the Order of Saint Clare.

The Church was built in 1257 in Italian Gothic Style (also known as Franciscan Style) and was consecrated in 1265. The simple facade consists of horizontal layers of pink and white stone, and there are two lions at the side of the portal.

The Piazza di Santa Chiara is lovely and welcomes visitors with a fountain and seating along a wall overlooking the valley below.

The Church has these great lateral buttresses, also known as flying buttresses and are common in medieval cathedral design. Under these and incorporated into the design are areas where the townspeople could get water which you can see in the photographs below. The water is cold and quite refreshing after a long day of exploring.

Of course I had to stop and grab a bite to eat and enjoyed a couple of sausages, they were quite tasty and, a bowl of country soup.

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MY WORLD . You are sure to find some interesting reads from all of the world.