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Duomo Nuovo 360° virtual tour
It is a majestic late Baroque cathedral built over two centuries to replace the old summer cathedral of the city.
As of the 7th century, there have always been two cathedrals – the summer and the winter - standing next to each other at Piazza del Duomo. However, none of them survived in its early Christian form: the winter cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore was probably destroyed by a fire or an earthquake an it was finally demolished during the 12th century to make room for Duomo Vecchio, the old cathedral. Fate of the summer cathedral of San Pietro was similar but it survived much longer. Although being renovated from 1572 till 1581, it became structurally unstable and thus it was demolished in 1603 to allow the construction of Duomo Nuovo, the new cathedral.
Originally the famous architect Andrea Palladio was commissioned with the project but due to financial issues it was decided to entrust local architects instead of him. Construction works of the new cathedral began in 1604 according to the plans of the young Brescian architect Giovanni Battista Lantana, but it underwent several important changes over time. There was a significant debate whether its layout should follow a Latin or a Greek cross plan. Lantana designed a Greek cross plan while his opposition selected Pietro Maria Bagnadore who presented an alternative Latin cross plan. Born in Orzinuovi in 1550, Bagnadore was a sculptor, painter as well as an architect. He won the “battle” about the layout of the building and took over the project till 1611 when it was finally decided to return to a Greek cross layout and the Milanese architect Binago Lorenzo replaced him. The solemn grand facade was erected by Brescian architects Giovanni Battista and Antonio Marchetti. Milanese architect Luigi Cagnola built the beautiful dome that also recalls that of St. Peter's in Rome. Finally the construction was completed by 1825 and the result was a cathedral following a Greek cross layout with three aisles and a central dome. The latter was destroyed during bombing in 1943 and rebuilt after the war.
2. What to see
Entering the cathedral, in the right transept you can admire the Sacrifice of Isaac by Moretto. He was commonly known as Il Moretto da Brescia, an Italian Renaissance painter of Brescia and Venice.
Opposite the painting in the left transept stands a monument to pope Paul VI by Raffaele Scorzelli from 1984. At the foot of the monument is the tombstone of Bishop Luigi Morstabilini. Over the monument are paintings by Romanino depicting events from the life of Mary (Marriage of the Virgin, Birth of the Virgin and the Visitation).
There is an altar at the end of the right aisle which is only composed of a wall fresco painting on a prospective basis. It holds the monumental marble sarcophagus of Saint Apollonius, a remarkable example of Brescian Renaissance sculpture attributed to Gasparo Coirano from 1510.
Noteworthy is an altarpiece in the left aisle by Palma the Younger, best known as Jacopo Palma the Younger, an Italian Mannerist painter from Venice. It depicts the Assumption of the Virgin venerated by several saints.
3. When to see
The church is open 7.30am-noon and 4-7pm.