Destinations / The most beautiful churches of Italy / Orvieto Cathedral
Cathedral or Duomo of Orvieto is the main attraction of the town and its most remarkable feature. The building is located in the heart of the city on a hill and it is visible from miles away. The construction of Orvieto Cathedral started in 1290, under the supervision of Pope Nicholas IV. The construction was attended by 33 architects, of which the most important is Lorenzo Maitani, 150 sculptors, 70 painters and 90 specialists in mosaic. Sculptural works show scenes from the Old and New Testament. The building is decorated with thin stripes of white travertine and greenish-black basalt and it is a beautiful example of Italian Gothic architecture. The construction of the cathedral was completed in 1309.
Lorenzo Maitani managed to build the western facade, almost the entire interior of the cathedral, and died in 1330, shortly before the end of construction. The facade presents mosaics on the live of Virgin Mary created in the XIVth century, but almost completely rebuilt later. The rose-window on the west facade was created by the Florentine master Andrea Orcagna between 1354 and 1380. In the center – there is represented the face of the Savior, on the corners - the mosaic depicts the teachers of the church. On both sides there are the representations of Old Testament prophets, while on the top there are the statues of 12 apostles. Above the left central pylon of the façade there is the bronze figure of a winged lion, symbol of the evangelist Mark. On the other three pylons – there is an angel (representing Matthew), an eagle (representing John) and bull (representing Luke). Reliefs of the left pylon depict events of Genesis. Reliefs on the right central pylon depict episodes in the life of Mary and Jesus.The sanctuary is covered with frescoes from the XIVth century.
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