The Multifaceted Duomo of Viterbo
The Duomo was built on the ruins of a pagan temple dedicated to Hercules. It was consecrated in 1192, the city’s most splendid period when it was a favorite papal residence and hosted historic conclaves.
If you look attentively at the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, you will certainly notice an obvious difference between the belfry and the façade. In fact, the cathedral underwent many reconstructions and modernizations during more than eight centuries of existence. In XV-XVI centuries, the ancient Romanesque façade was replaced by the present, rather dull façade in the mannerism style. Later on, we met several churches with similar fronts in the city. In 1944, it was hit by heavy bombing.
In the second half of the XIV century, the bell-tower was rebuilt in the Gothic style withTuscan influence. The slender bell tower with charming biforas is faced by white and greenish stripes.
When we entered the cathedral, I was struck again by one more quite different architectural style. The interior was genuinely Gothic and austere. Just, what I like most of all. Two rows of ancient Corinthian columns divided the church into three naves. The beautiful pavement in the central nave retains its original Cosmati style. Very high ceiling is made of simple roof timbers. Fragments of ancient frescos can be seen on the walls. The gallery with one row of windows lacks any decoration. The Cathedral has the most simple apse I’ve ever seen. Its only decoration is a very narrow lancet stained glass window.
It appeared that the Duomo has a secret room with one more style…
My previous posts about Viterbo