The great basilica of St. Zeno in Verona

St. Zeno Verona
The great basilica dedicated to St. Zeno, bishop of African descent eighth century, is first and foremost temple of faith and meditation on the tomb of the saint and then one of the most fascinating examples of Romanesque architecture.
That of St. Zeno is perhaps the most powerful and expressive for linear shapes and great structural simplicity and is the only addition to arise out of the urban fabric and to maintain the continuity of its splendid isolation of non cathedral church dedicated but, in the manner of Franks, only to the patron saint of the city.
The place where stood the Temple was at that time on the edge of town, along the important street Gallic, and Roman cemetery area.
When Zeno, eighth bishop of Verona, died, in the years between 372 and 380 AD, his body was buried, according to tradition, in these places then cemetery area along the Via Gallica. 
On his tomb was built a small church and soon the tomb of the saint became a place of pilgrimage and the small church had to be enlarged. [...]
By the will of Pepin, king of the Franks, owner of the Holy Roman Empire, 805 the church was enlarged by the Bishop and Archdeacon Ratoldo Pacific.
It was also established a monastery.
The Basilica was consecrated on 8 december 806 in the presence of King Pepin.
On 21 may 807 the relics of the saint were transferred to the basilica by hermits Benigno and Caro, even in the presence of King Pepin devoted to the saint.
The following years were difficult with looting and destruction by barbarian armies, especially the Hungarians.
In 963, at the intercession of Bishop Raterio and will Germanic Emperor Otto I, was given to hand extensions with a new reconstruction of the basilica it self, the monastery and the cloister.
In 983 he received in St. Adalbert's Basilica, the imperial investiture and consecration of bishops.
In the eleventh century it was provided to a new extension, in the perimeter of the existing structures, and was arranged the spectacular vault consists of a "forest of marble columns", but in 1117, a violent earthquake that had destroyed a large chunk of territory in Veneto (including Padua where he destroyed the Basilica of Santa Giustina) ruined much of the basilica still being finalized, and the cloister of the monastery, as well as the bell tower.
Statue of St. Zeno
The work began immediately and continued for twenty years.
The church that we admire now is largely the work of reconstruction.
The intense colors with a predominance of red tones is marked by the alternation of tuff stones and bricks and makes an unforgettable visit to the Basilica and cloister.
Other interventions, such as the raising of the cloister, the completion of the facade and the final arrangement of the central rose window, with the work of the Master Briolato (1225), took place in the thirteenth century. 
By this time the tower of the Abbey, on the outside left of the facade.
Of extraordinary importance for the history of Roman art are the sculptural decoration of the facade and architecture of the entrance gate.
Thirteenth century is also the charming marble statue of St. Zeno laughing, probably originally placed on the keystone of the arch Romanesque. 
Even today the statue, characterized stick Episcopal fisher of souls, is much admired by the faithful.
They are the last years of the 1300 remake of the apse and the final arrangement of the roof with a charming wooden structure in the shape of a ship's hull.
The twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries are numerous polychrome frescoes anonymous soften the upper and lower walls of the church.
In 1386 the chapel, where he will place the wooden icon of the Virgin of the Majesty of 1457-1459, one of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance painting by Andrea Mantegna.
In 1500 was built a grand staircase connecting the upper church on the remains of the crypt, with vast room for the people.
In 1770 the monastery was closed, due to the reduced number of monks, under the rules desired by the Serenissima Republic of Venice.
Of course, the basilica was subject to predation by Napoleon and with the arrival of the Austrians, in 1806 the church became the parish, but it was kept the title of Abbot due to the parish priest.
The central staircase was demolished in 1870 to make way for the current side stairs and the staircase that descends in the beautiful crypt. 
It was also rearranged the iconostasis which separates the upper church, with the placement of ancient statues depicting the fourteenth-century German school of Christ and the Apostles.
The interventions of the twentieth century, as well as careful works of preservation and restoration, leading to a final settlement of the altarpiece by Mantegna.
Recent (2006) restoration of the spectacular Romanesque bell tower so that it can resume the original
function again and give us the sound of bells.
Interior St.Zeno
The three-nave interior has preserved almost intact the original structure Romanesque, Gothic ceiling unless the ship's hull, some side altars and many of the frescoes that decorate the walls. 
The arches are supported by two rows of piers and columns-ten per side-alternating and mighty in size and structure. 
Two transversal arches give rhythm and security to large central nave. 
Under the left aisle there is a large monolithic porphyry cup red. 
The legend says donated by Gallienus for gratitude and brought here by the devil defeated. 
The story is coming from the Roman baths like the fountain of Madonna Verona in Piazza delle Erbe. At one time this cup was placed on the outside of the basilica and in its place was kept of the Northern League City, was burned in the sixteenth century. 
The right aisle contains instead a big octagonal font immersion. 
A monolith which is believed placed here in 1194 when it was extended the right to baptize even in non-parish churches as it already happened in neighboring St. Proculus.

Opening hours:
Winter (November to February): Weekdays 10.00-13.00/13.30-16.00 Public Holidays 13.00-17.00
Summer: (March-October): Weekdays 8.30 to 18.00 Holidays 13.00 to 18.00


  1. Molto bello,lo condivido.GRAZIE!

  2. Si e' molto particolare e un romanico veramente interesssante