Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello - Udine Image

Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello - Udine

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Exploring the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello - Udine: A Glimpse into Udine's Rich History

Nestled next to the majestic castle, the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello stands as a testament to Udine's rich history. Believed to be the oldest church in the city, this architectural gem dates back to the Lombard era and has undergone several renovations over the centuries.

A Journey through Time

The origins of Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello can be traced back to the Lombard era, with evidence of a place of worship on the site dating back to the 8th century. Fragments of stone artifacts, including a Christ Logos and an epigraph bearing the name of Liutprando, the Lombard king (712-744), were discovered during restoration work in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Architectural Marvels

The current structure of the church showcases Romanesque influences, with its three naves and distinctive architectural features. Thought to have been built in the 12th century, the church's design reflects similarities with other churches in northern Italy and Carinthia. Its three naves create an atmosphere of silence and contemplation, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the spiritual ambiance.

Historical Significance

Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello held great importance as the main church (pieve) of Udine until the mid-13th century. During this period, the church was adorned with precious frescoes that still grace its apses. Notable among these artworks is the Deposition from the Cross in the apse's semicircular vault, as well as a series of twelve apostles, created by skilled craftsmen from Bavaria.

The Resilience of Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello

The church has faced its fair share of challenges throughout history. The devastating earthquake of 1511 caused significant damage, leading to the reconstruction of the church's facade by Gaspare Negro in the early 16th century. The bell tower, initially started by Negro, was completed by Giovanni da Udine in 1539, featuring a bell chamber, drum, and dome. Standing at an impressive height of 43 meters, the tower is crowned by a rotating angel, pointing towards the direction of the winds. From its vantage point atop the castle hill, the tower offers panoramic views of the Friulian plain, making it one of Udine's iconic landmarks.

Exploring the Surroundings

Adjacent to Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello is the Casa della Confraternita, a medieval building that was restored in 1930. Nearby, the Grimani Arch, erected in 1522 in honor of the doge of Venice, leads visitors to the castle's square. Exploring the area around the church provides a glimpse into Udine's captivating history and architectural wonders.

When to Visit

The Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and architecture lovers. Whether you're exploring Udine's rich heritage or simply seeking a moment of tranquility, this ancient church offers a serene and captivating experience. Plan your visit to coincide with the opening hours of the church to fully appreciate its historical and spiritual significance.

As you wander through the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Castello, you'll be transported back in time, marveling at the architectural wonders and immersing yourself in the rich history of Udine. Don't miss the opportunity to explore this hidden gem and discover the secrets it holds within its ancient walls.

Updated on 27 May 2024

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