Monday 17 December 2018, San Lazzaro di Betania

Chiesa di Santa Maria Antica

Historical Notes. S. Maria Antica is in the Romanesque style and rises in the area of a small VII century church.
It was rebuilt and consecrated in 1185 by the patriarch of Aquileia, Gotifredo. The present-day church became the private chapel of the Scala family, who built the family cemetery area in the church courtyard.
Around 1630, the inside of the church was modified in the baroque style, but at the end of the 19th century the church was restored and regained its original style and splendour.

Architecture and Art. The outside is in alternated bands of tuff and fired brick and has small splay windows.
The small square bell tower in tuff, in pure Romanesque style, is noteworthy, with double lancet windows in the bell cell and a cone covering in lateritious brick. The arch of Cangrande I della Scala is located above the door. It is the most sober of the Scala family arches, but perhaps the most monumental as well.
There are three naves inside the church, divided by a series of columns with raised curve arches. There are also three apses. The two lateral apses are decorated on the top in tuff and fired brick, while in the central apses the decorations are substituted by two frescoes dating from the beginning of the thirteenth century. The interior is severe and disadorned: the remains of frescoes can be seen here and there on the walls and archways, which perhaps date from the XIV century. The remains of an ancient fragment of white and black chequered floor tiles can also be seen, protected by a trap door. This probably dates from the X century.

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Guides: Firenze, Roma, Venezia, Verona.