Rotonda di San Lorenzo, Mantua, Italy

South of Basilica di Sant’Andrea, is another church, Rotonda di San Lorenzo . A cylindrical striped structure made entirely of bricks; Rotonda di San Lorenzo looks different from usual churches and has an old worn out look. The structure built in eleventh century has its base at a lower level than its surroundings. It is believed to have been constructed on the site of a Roman temple for Venus dating from fourth century. The ground level of the city, the Piazza delle Erbe, had risen around the church. Layers of soil, about one and half meters have accumulated around the structure over the years.

Much of the structure’s deterioration took place during 1579 to 1926, when the church was closed for worship. It was used for other purposes, mostly for private use by the influential families there.

The interior was dark, the cross illuminated with spot lights. There were arches all around and the higher floor was exclusively for women then. Thankfully they permitted photography, and I have precious digital memories from there.

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Piazza delle Erbe, Mantua
Drive from Milan to Mantua

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