Wonderful sights to visit

Basilica del Carmine

When they arrived in Padua, several years prior to 1290, the Carmelite brothers established their seat to the north of the city, outside Molino Gate. This area was occupied by a mixed and lively borgo called 'Coa Longa' (long hollow): a long and winding stretch of wooden houses scattered amongst vegetable gardens and farms. Here there were artisans, shopkeepers, inn-keepers and hostlers, but also the seats of noble families and the residences of a lively bourgeois class. One of the sources of wealth was the mills, as seen in the inlaid marble of the church's altar frontal, which was commissioned by the millers' guild in dedication to the Madonna and their patron saints, Rocco and Sebastian. The construction of the church began in 1309 and finished by the end of the Carraresi signoria. The original church was a single nave with keel-vaulted wooden roof, external portico and six chapels. The current church retains the single nave layout, however a very heavy snowfall and an earthquake, on January 25, 1491, caused the collapse of the roof and parts of the walls. The reconstruction was entrusted to Lorenzo da Bologna and Pietro Antonio degli Abati, who retained what was left and inserted it in a Renaissance-inspired project. It seems just possible to make out the new cupola by Lorenzo in Giorgione's painting The Storm. The 14th century components include the cappella maggiore, with its pentagonal apse, conjoined pilasters and single lancet windows. The apse, choir area and facade were also conserved, as were the imposing perimeter mass, originally of Romanic Lombard origin, with pilasters and false arches, at a height which suggests that the walls of the church were once somewhat lower. The Carmelite cloister and chapter-house facing the church, decorated with an elegant portal and flanking double windows, are also preserved in their original form.


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