Church of St. Petka of the Saddlers, Sofia, Italy

Church of St. Petka of the Saddlers

The Church of St Petka of the Saddlers a.k.a. “St. Petka Samardzhiyska” Church is a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church in Sofia. It is a small one-naved building partially dug into the ground located in the very centre of the city.

The Church of St. Petka of the Saddlers was built under the Ottoman occupation with donations from the region’s master saddlers. At that time, the building of churches was tolerated if their height does not exceed that of a soldier on horseback. This explains why it was half buried under the ground level. St. Petka church features a semi-cylindrical vault, a hemispherical apse, superb traces of frescoes and a crypt discovered during excavations after the Second World War. The walls are 1 m thick and made from brick and stone.

The church was first mentioned in the 16th century and was constructed at the place of a former Roman religious building. It is today a monument of culture known for its mural paintings from the 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th century depicting biblical scenes.

The church was declared a cultural monument and it is still operational.Sofia Guide

Church of St. George, Sofia, Italy

Church of St. George

The Church of St George is an Early Christian red brick rotunda that is considered the oldest building in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It is situated behind the Sheraton Hotel, amid remains of the ancient town of Serdica.

Built by the Romans in the 4th century, it is a cylindrical domed structure built on a square base. It is believed that it was built on the site of a pagan temple, though the original purpose of the building was for public use. The building is famous for the 12th-, 13th- and 14th-century frescoes inside the central dome. Three layers of frescoes have been discovered, the earliest dating back to the 10th century. Magnificent frescoes of 22 prophets over 2 metres tall crown the dome. Painted over during the Ottoman period, when the building was used as a mosque, these frescoes were only uncovered and restored in the 20th century.Wikipedia

Church of St. Michael the Archangel, Sant'Angelo in Colle, Montalcino, Italy

Church of St. Michael the Archangel

The Romanesque church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel is situated in the locality of Sant ‘Angelo in Colle in Montalcino, overlooking the Piazza Castello.

The first document relating to construction dates back to 1212. It has a long nave and Romanesque windows. It has undergone several renovations and currently has a stone façade with gable roof, built of travertine portal. On the back of the church are the tower of stone and brick.

Among the works that are inside on the right there is the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints John the Baptist, Anthony and Stephen, a fresco of the Sienese school of the first half of the fourteenth century on the left wall there Eun fresco of the Resurrection Christ in 1477 by the Sienese school, behind the altar there is a polychrome wooden crucifix of the eighteenth century, to the right the remains of a fresco of St. Leonard, a fresco of the Sienese school of the late fourteenth century on the first altar on the right, is the Ecstasy of St. Charles Borromeo Raffaello Vanni, in the second altar on the left wall we find a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary by Francesco Rustici in 1622. 360 Cities

Medici Chapels, Florence, Italy

Medici Chapels

The Medici Chapels form part of a monumental complex developed over almost two centuries in close connection with the adjoining church of San Lorenzo, considered the “official” church of the Medici family who lived in the neighbouring palace on Via Larga (it is now known as the Medici-Riccardi Palace.

The decision to build their family mausoleum in this church dates to the 14th century. The project of building a proper family mausoleum was conceived in 1520, when Michelangelo began work on the New Sacristy upon the request of Cardinal Giulio de Medici, the future Pope Clement VII, who expressed a desire to erect the mausoleum for some members of his family.

After completing the architectural works in 1524, Michelangelo worked until 1533 on the sculptures and the sarcophagi that were to be featured on the chapel walls. The only ones actually completed were the statues of Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano; the Duke of Urbino; the Duke of Nemours; the statues four statues of the allegories of Day and Night, and Dawn and Dusk; and the group representing the Madonna and Child; they are flanked by statues of Saints Cosma and Damian (protectors of the Medici), executed respectively by Montorsoli and Baccio da Montelupo, both of whom were pupils of Michelangelo.

The articulation of the architecture structure and the strength of Michelangelo’s sculptures reflect a complex symbolism of Human Life, where “active life” and “contemplative life” interact to free the soul after death, a philosophical concept closely linked to Michelangelo’s own spirituality.

Numerous drawings by Michelangelo were found in a small space beneath the apse, and may be related to the statues and architecture of the Sacristy.Museums in Florence

Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, Orbetello, Italy

Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary

The Cathedral, that is the ancient Church Saint Mary’s Assumption, was built on a pre-existing building at the end of XIV century.

It was restored during the Spanish domination.

From the ancient building it is still possible to admire the Gothic, travertine-made, facade showing a fine portal where is portrayed the ensign of Orbetello and a rose-window surmounted by a hole hosting the chest of the Blessing God.

The interior of the Cathedral is on three aisles divided by pillars.

On the right side is the Cappella di San Biagio (Saint Biagio Chapel) whose inside it is possible to admire some seventeenth-century frescoes and a fine pre-Roman frontal formed by marble-made leaves.Toscana

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Pantheon

The Pantheon is a building in Rome, Italy, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD) and rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian about 126 AD.[2]

The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres (142 ft).

It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” but informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda”.

The interior of the dome was possibly intended to symbolize the arched vault of the heavens. The oculus at the dome’s apex and the entry door are the only natural sources of light in the interior. Throughout the day, the light from the oculus moves around this space in a reverse sundial effect. The oculus also serves as a cooling and ventilation method. During storms, a drainage system below the floor handles the rain that falls through the oculus.

The dome features sunken panels (coffers), in five rings of 28. This evenly spaced layout was difficult to achieve and, it is presumed, had symbolic meaning, either numerical, geometric, or lunar. In antiquity, the coffers may have contained bronze stars, rosettes, or other ornaments.

Circles and squares form the unifying theme of the interior design. The checkerboard floor pattern contrasts with the concentric circles of square coffers in the dome. Each zone of the interior, from floor to ceiling, is subdivided according to a different scheme. As a result, the interior decorative zones do not line up. The overall effect is immediate viewer orientation according to the major axis of the building, even though the cylindrical space topped by a hemispherical dome is inherently ambiguous. This discordance has not always been appreciated, and the attic level was redone according to Neoclassical taste in the 18th century.Wikipedia

Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Rome, Italy

Church of St. Mary Magdalene

The Santa Maria Maddalena is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, named after Saint Mary Magdalene. It is located on the Via della Maddalena, one of the streets leading from the Piazza della Rotonda in the Campo Marzio area of historic Rome.

The Order of Saint Camillus de Lellis had a church at that location in Rome since 1586 and in the 17th century started the construction of the current church, which was completed in 1699 in the Baroque style.

In seventy years of work several architects were involved including Carlo Quadri, Carlo Fontana (who is thought to have designed the dome) and Giovanni Antonio de Rossi. It is uncertain who designed the curved main facade, which was finished circa 1735 and is Rococo, an unusual style in Roman church facades. It also displays motifs reminiscent of Borromini.

The interior is architecturally complex, it has a Borrominesque elongated octagonal nave, with two chapels at each flank. To the right is the main chapel dedicated and holding the relics of Saint Camillus. In this Chapel the vault was frescoed (1744) by Sebastiano Conca. The church also has a Christ, Virgin, and St. Nicolas of Bari by Baciccia and a San Lorenzo Giustiniani with Infant Jesus by Luca Giordano. The rococo sacristy is elaborately painted, stuccoed, and decorated with polychrome marble.Wikipedia