Basilica of San Bernardino da Siena, L'Aquila

Basilica of San Bernardino, L'Aquila The largest Renaissance church in Abruzzi stands out from afar with its impressive facade and dome. It was built after the death of Bernardine from Siena (1380-1444), a Franciscan and one of the most effective, widely known preachers of his days, who lived in L'Aquila for a long time.
Its layout and structure are very different from the Romanesque-gothic churches typical of the city. The unique façade, designed by Cola dell'Amatrice, consists of three orders in the three doric, ionic and corynthian styles to express the 16th-century ideal of a perfect fusion of Greek and Latin classical forms with the Christian heritage.

The Baroque interior is 96m long and was completely rebuilt after a terrible earthquake (1703) which nearly destroyed the whole city; it is divided into three aisles that join under the dome. The ceiling is in wood and sequin gold and contains in the centre St. Bernardine's monogram "JHS" and paintings in the other fields. In a chapel in the right aisle there is St. Bernardine's mausoleum, the most relevant Renaissance sculpture work in Abruzzi, by Silvestro dell'Aquila, a pupil of Donatello's.

St. Bernardine's mausoleum Sculpture by Andrea della Robbia

Inside the second chapel of the right aisle there is an altarpiece, one of the best works by Andrea della Robbia, consisting of an enamelled earthenpiece against a blue background representing the Resurrection of Christ among two pairs of angels, above which there is the Incoronation of the Virgin among the Angels, and four earthenpieces showing the Visitation, Nativity, Magi Adoration and Circumcision.

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