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Slow Travel Google Map: Italy, Favorite Churches and Frescoes

Author: WestSussexBird
Notes: Churches of Italy recommended by contributors to SlowTalk. (The markers for Rome, Florence and Venice link to detailed maps of churches in those cities.) (F) after a church name indicates that the church has been recommended specifically for its frescoes. Some markers are also included for selected frescoes in villas and castles.

Ancient Monuments

Pompeii (F) (SV)

Frescoes recommended by andasamo (fresco of Priapus at Casa Dei Vettii) and dragonpat ("my favorite fresco is the main fresco in the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii; my favorite person in the fresco is the welcoming priestess." Dragonpat also recommended the Troy frescoes in the House of Menander.)

Torre Annunziata, Oplontis (F) (SV)

Dragonpat recommended "the Second styles" Roman frescoes at Villa Oplontis.

Historical Buildings

Mantua (two palaces) (F)

Frescoes recommended by karenucci - "My absolute favorite cycle is in the Camera degli Sposi in the Palazzo Ducale, with scenes of Ludovico Gonzaga and family by Andrea Mantegna. The frescoes by Giulio Romano in the Sala dei Giganti across town in the Palazzo del Te are fabulous as well, a true feat of illusionism."

Villa Maser (F)

WestSussexBird recommended the frescoes by Veronese in this fine Palladian villa, including several most enjoyable trompe-l'oeil frescoes.

Castles

Manta Castle (F)

The Baron's Hall is full of impressive frescoes dating from about 1420, including nine heroes, nine heroines and (most memorably) "The Fountain of Eternal Youth" which shows people of all ages stripping off in order to bathe in the fountain!

Trento, Castello (F) (SV)

The main body of the castle includes many sets of frescoes including, most memorably, those painted in the 1530's by Girolamo Romanino. In the Eagle Tower is the very appealing Cycle of the Months, dating from around 1400, a major masterpiece of International Gothic painting and a rare example of frescoes from that period on a non-religious subject.

Churches

Acquapendente, Duomo

Recommended by Mary Jane: "flower pageant on 20th May."

Alberobello, S Antonio di Padova (SV)

Recommended by Kim: the trulli church in Alberobello.

Amalfi, Duomo (SV)

Recommended by andasamo: "The black and white facade (in a mixture of styles) and wide sweeping staircase are quite magnificent, as are the huge bronze doors (which I read were cast in Constantinople in 1066). The inset panels of Christ and Our Lady are much shinier than the rest of the doors; it appears people rub them on the way into worship.

"I understand the Duomo's Chiostro del Paradiso and crypt are well worth a visit as well, unfortunately we didn't realize those existed until after we left Amalfi town! Everything I'd read in advance about this area focussed on the coastal drive and spectacular scenery so we hadn't known to allow ourselves lots of time to linger in the Duomo...oh well, gives me an excuse to return (as if I needed one!)"

Ancona, Duomo

Recommended by Bill Thayer.

Antrodoco, S Maria extra Moenia (SV)

Recommended by Bill Thayer.

Aquileia, Basilica

Aquileia was the largest Roman town in north-east Italy. The town's major building is the ancient basilica and its most remarkable feature is the huge mosaic pavement which features numerous religious symbols as well as bible stories (such as Jonah and the whale) and everyday scenes.

Arezzo, S Francesco (F)

JeanneM recommended the famous fresco cycle (The Legend of The True Cross) by Piero della Francesca.

Arrone (two churches) (F)

Frescoes in S Maria Assunta and the tiny church of S Giovanni Battista recommended by Bill Thayer.

Assisi (two churches) (F) (SV)

S Francesco: church recommended by JChrisP and frescoes recommended by Bill Thayer and Gloria - Casino di Rosa.
Oratorio dei Pellegrini: Mezzastris's sweet little frescoes of camels recommended by Bill Thayer.

Atri, S Maria Assunta (F) (SV)

This church (the cathedral) was recommended by avvocato. Frescoes recommended by WestSussexBird and avvocato: "The frescoes are an undiscovered delight. They are Andrea De Litio's masterpiece from the 15th century."
(Note: although the cathedral has been closed for restoration, the Coro Canonici (the choir) containing the frescoes has been accessible via the cathedral museum.)

Bergamo, S Michele Pozzo Bianco

Frescoes in S Michele al Pozzo Bianco recommended by Jonathan: "an intriguing mix of anonymous 14th/15th century fragments, and a trio of richly decorated apsidal chapels at the east end. The left-hand one has a cycle by Lorenzo Lotto featuring episodes from the life of the Virgin Mary."

Bevagna, S Agostino (F) (SV)

Frescoes recommended by Bill Thayer: "no one item is extraordinary, but the ensemble is good."

Blera, Duomo

Recommended by Mary Jane: "crypt, relic of S Vivenzio."

Bologna, S Petronio (F) (SV)

Frescoes recommended by KT: "I have a special weakness for scenes of Hell (hmm...), so I'll mention the Giovanni da Modena frescoes in the church of San Petronio, Bologna."

Bominaco (two churches)

S Maria dell'Assunta and S Pellegrino, recommended by avvocato.

Bonassola, S Caterina

Recommended by MyItaly: "plain exterior hides rich but sophisticated inside."

Bovara (madonnina) (F)

Bill Thayer recommended frescoes in one of the madonnine (wayside shrines) at Bovara along the road from Trevi.

Bressanone, Cathedral (F)

The cathedral cloisters of Bressanone (Brixen) are lavishly decorated throughout with superb 14th/15th century frescoes.

Campello sul Clitunno, Tempietto

Recommended by Bill Thayer: "though the beautiful paleo-christian (4c to 7c) Tempietto is world-famous as one of the earliest extant Christian churches, the little frescoes of SS. Peter and Paul which are equally ancient, are usually sort of passed by."

Canoscio, Pieve (F)

Fresco of three-headed Trinity recommended by Bill Thayer.

Capranica, S Francesco (SV)

Recommended by Mary Jane: "hints of early Michelangelo fresco, double funerary monument."

Castiglione Olona (F)

The frescoes in the Baptistery were recommended by WestSussexBird and jafbrad. "A short drive west of Lake Como, where Masolino's frescoes depicting scenes of the life of St. John the Baptist reside in the Collegiata Baptistery. They are exquisite and, being off the beaten path, one can enjoy this artist's tour de force in virtual privacy."

Citta della Pieve (F)

The Oratorio S Bartolomeo recommended by Bill Thayer.

Civita Castellana, Duomo

Recommended by Bill Thayer.

Crea, Sacro Monte (SV)

Recommended by MyItaly: "Romantic sanctuary which has evolved with a mixture of styles."

Deruta, Madonna dei Bagni

Recommended by Amy: "majolica ex votos."

Fiamenga (F)

Frescoes in S Maria in Costantinopoli recommended by Bill Thayer.

Florence (many churches) (F) (SV)

For a detailed map of churches in Florence, click "Read More."

Read more

Foligno S Maria infra Portas (F) (SV)

Frescoes recommended by Bill Thayer.

Forza d'Agro (SV)

Recommended by Kim: "for any Godfather fans, the church used as the backdrop in Michael Corleone's wedding."

Fossacessi, S Giovanni de Venere (SV)

Recommended by avvocato.

Fossato di Vicolo (F)

Frescoes in the Piaggiola recommended by Bill Thayer.

Genga, S Vittore alle Chiuse

Recommended by Bill Thayer.

Gualdo Tadino, Chapel (F)

Bill Thayer recommended the frescoes in little chapel at the entrance to the Rocca Fléa.

L'Aquila (two churches) (SV)

Collemaggio and S Bernardino, recommended by avvocato.

Lecce, Duomo (SV)

Recommended by Bob The Navigator: "baroque architecture."

Leonessa, S Francesco

Recommended by Bill Thayer.

Lucca, S Martino (SV)

Recommended by Sonia.

Milan, S Eustorgio (F) (SV)

karenucci recommended Vincenzo Foppa's frescoes in the Portinari Chapel.

Modena, Duomo (SV)

Recommended by dean: "dates back to 1060."

Monreale, Duomo (SV)

Recommended by Bri.

Monte Oliveto Maggiore abbey (F) (SV)

Recommended by dean, kaydee, Kim, colleenk and Gloria - Casino di Rosa: "36 frescoes by Signorelli and Sodoma telling the story of the life of St. Benedict."
kaydee "especially liked the fresco with the badgers. This is supposedly a self-portrait of the artist Sodoma, who loved badgers." collenk particularly "loves the cat and dog!"
grazieprego also recommended the "impressive" dining hall frescoes in the monastery.

Montefalco (2 churches, etc) (F)

Jonathan & Bill Thayer recommended frescoes by Gozzoli of the life of St Francis in S Francesco.
Bill Thayer also recommended the Tiberio d' Assisi chapel at S. Fortunato and several madonnine (wayside shrines) with remarkable frescoes in and around Montefalco.

Montefiascone, S Flaviano (F)

Mary Jane recommended "lovely frescoes...as well as the tomb of Defuk (from the early 12th century) famous for the legend of Est!Est!ESt!! wine."

Montepulciano, S Biagio

Recommended by CShock.

Murlo, church on the piazza (SV)

Recommended by dean: "incredible modern coronation of Mary set over a WWI battlefield with Mary's crown made of barbed wire."

Naturno, S Procolo (F)

This ancient little church nestling in the foothills of the Alps houses some of the most delightful frescoes anywhere, some of which date back to the 8th century. The most notable one appears to feature a jolly man on a swing - in fact it shows the saint escaping over a wall from pursuers. There are also charming animals.

Norcia, S Agostino (F)

Frescoes recommended by Bill Thayer.

Orvieto (two churches) (F)

Church of S Giovenale (at western end of old quarter) recommended by Bill Thayer.
Frescoes in Duomo recommended by Deborah, Bill Thayer and coleenk ("Signorelli's frescoes. Like a modern day horror movie, you find yourself looking at them through your fingers. And I love the different reactions (or in Dante's case non-reactions) the various philosophers and poets have to the scenes unfolding above them.")

Padua (four churches) (F)

Marian recommended the famous Giotto frescoes in the Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel: "I saw the Giotto fresco cycle a very long time ago, and remember being overwhelmed by them."
There are numerous other interesting fresco cycles in Padua including, most notably, the cathedral Baptistery, the Oratory of S Giorgio and the Basilica of the Santo (chapel in the south aisle).

Parma, Duomo (F) (SV)

Frescoes recommended by Gloria - Casino di Rosa: "the cathedral's frescoes are breathtaking."

Perugia (two churches +) (F)

Bill Thayer recommended frescoes in S Pietro, which is wall-to-wall painting by many different artists: as an ensemble, it's quite something. Bill also recommended S Agata.
Valda recommended the Sala dei Notari in Palazzo dei Priori. It is an eight-arched, huge chamber entirely covered with frescoes dating back to the 1200's. Biblical and allegorical scenes of great colour and beauty lend a jewel like glow to this very harmonious hall. It's stunning.

Pienza, Pieve di Corsignano

Recommended by WestSussexBird: "romanesque church in leafy setting, nightingales singing."

Pomposa Abbey (F) (SV)

Recommended by WestSussexBird: This is another church with walls entirely covered with frescoes of bible scenes; they are less sophisticated than many in Tuscany but fit the "enjoyability" criterion extremely well. The beautiful abbey church also has a very fine pavement.

Ponte di Cerreto di Spoleto (F)

Fresco of three-headed Trinity recommended by Bill Thayer.

Portovenere, S Pietro (SV)

Recommended by Bob the Navigator: "setting."

Ravenna (numerous churches)

The churches and mausolea of Ravenna and of Classe (which is outside to the south of Ravenna) are famous for the breathtakingly beautiful mosaics which date back to the period when Ravenna was western capital of the Byzantine empire.

Rome (many churches)

For a detailed map of churches in Rome, click "Read More."

Read more

San Galgano Abbey

Recommended by dean.

San Gemini, Oratorio S Carlo (F)

Frescoes recommended by Bill Thayer in S. Maria de Incertis (now the Oratorio S. Carlo).

San Gimignano (two churches) (F)

Megan in Liguria recommended the frescoes in the Collegiata, in particular "Golosi" (The Gluttons!) in The Last Judgement by Taddeo di Bartolo. ("I have a postcard of it next to my desk. It makes me laugh thinking how many of us feel gluttonous (and how many times) during our travels and meals throughout Italy!")
WestSussexBird commented that the town is heaven for fresco lovers. "The whole Collegiata is covered with a wonderful series of scenes from the bible, and they are capped by Ghirlandaio's frescoes about Santa Fina: a remarkably silly story (to modern minds) but lovely frescoes. However, these are almost topped by the frescoes in Sant' Agostino by Bartolo di Fredi and Bennozzo Gozzoli."

San Pietro in Valle (F)

Frescoes recommended by Bill Thayer.

Sant' Antimo, near Montalcino

Recommended by Fibonacci & JChrisP & dean & Bob The Navigator: "setting and simplicity."

Sant'Anna in Camprena (F) (SV)

Dean recommended the frescoes by Sodoma in this remote monastery: "They are pretty amazing. They are not overwhelming like the Monte Oliveto, having been done much earlier. But they are worth a see if you like his work!"

Siena, Duomo (F)

Cathedral recommended by Bob The Navigator & Christian: "breathtaking." Frescoes in the Piccolomini library recommended by Jonathan, andasamo & colleenk: "I was in total awe the first time I walked into this stunning room!"

Sovana, Duomo

Recommended by dean.

Spello (two churches) (F) (SV)

Frescoes recommended by Bill Thayer in the Baglioni chapel in S. Maria Maggiore (by Pinturicchio) and in the Cappella Tega, "which most tourists - I've actually stuck around to watch - wander by without seeing, let alone looking at."

Spoleto, Duomo (F)

Frescoes recommended by Bill Thayer.

Staffarda Abbey (SV)

The buildings of this lovely, former Cistercian abbey are constructed from warm red bricks. The church (which is still intact) looks particularly beautiful from the cloister; the Romanesque/Gothic interior is distinguished by red and white striped brickwork.

Subiaco, Sacro Speco (F) (SV)

Recommended by Mary Jane: "frescoes of Death on horseback."

Taggia, S Domenico (SV)

Recommended by WestSussexBird: "The church contains a remarkable series of altarpieces including several by the late 15th century artist (highly regarded in Provence and Liguria) Lodovico (or Louis) Brea."

Tolentino, S Nicola (F)

Bill Thayer recommended the church as one of his favorite churches in Italy. He also singled out the frescoes in the Capellone.

Trevi, S Maria di Pietrarossa(F)

Bill Thayer recommended the votive frescoes in the porch of S. Maria di Pietrarossa.

Treville, S Ambrogio

Recommended by MyItaly: "lovely 18th century church overlooking Monferrato region, view of Alps on a clear day."

Umbertide, Monte Corona (F)

Bill Thayer recommended the 18 century frescoes in the crypt of Badia S. Salvatore di Montecorona near Umbertide.
He also recommended frescoes in a madonnina (wayside shrine) at Podere Villa Rosa near Badia.

Urbino, S Giovanni Battista (F)

Frescoes recommended by WestSussexBird and Jonathan. An unusual series of frescoes dating from 1416 by the Salimbene brothers.

Valfabbrica, Pieve S Maria (F) (SV)

The Cimabue in the Pieve S. Maria (also locally: the Badia), recommended by Bill Thayer.

Varzi, Chiesa dei Cappuccini (SV)

Recommended by MyItaly: "wonderful romantic church."

Venice (many churches) (SV)

For a detailed map of churches in Venice click "Read More."

Read more

Vetralla, S Francesco (F)

Recommended by Mary Jane: "fresco cycle, spooky crypt."

Volterra, S Francesco (F)

Early 15th century frescoes of the Story of the True Cross recommended by WestSussexBird.

Museums

Citta di Castello Pinacoteca (F)

Bill Thayer recommended frescoes on the staircase of the Pinacoteca: "the staircase starts with a frescoed Christian injunction not to have false gods, and is immediately followed by a whole sequence of Greco-Roman divinities doing various things."

Naples Archaeological Museum (F) (SV)

Dragonpat recommended "the frescoes at the Naples Archaeological Museum, but I only viewed a few when they were exhibited in Rome at the Colosseum because they do not routinely staff that wing."

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