Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, Basilica in Rome, Italy
The basilica of Saint John Lateran was built under pope Melchiade (311-314), it’s the most ancient church in the world. Due to the fact that the pope is also the bishop of Rome, Saint John in Lateran – being seat of the bishop’s residence – is also Rome’s Cathedral. The present structure of the Basilica resembles the Saint Peter’s basilica. The original plan had already five aisles. The ancient church was residence of the popes until the coming back from the exile in Avignone (1377), when it was moved to the Vatican. It was pillage-stock of the Visigoths (410), the Vandals (455); the earthquake in 896 caused the central aisle roof to collapse (rebuilt under pope Sergio III in 904-911). There are six extant papal tombs inside the basilica: Alexander III (right aisles), Sergius IV (right aisles), Clement XII Corsini (left aisle), Martin V (in front of the confessio); Innocent III (right transept); and Leo XIII (left transept), by G. Tadolini (1907). The last of these was the last pope not to be entombed in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy
The Duomo di Milano, Milan‘s magnificent Gothic cathedral, is one of the world’s largest churches. Its dazzling white front facade, arguably the world’s most beautiful, dominates the cathedral square. Dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente (Saint Mary Nascent), it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Cardinal Angelo Scola.
The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the largest in the Italian state territory.
The construction of the cathedral was commissioned by bishop Antonio da Saluzzo in 1385. He was supported by the first duke of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who envisioned the creation of the world’s largest church. He gave access to his marble quarries, granted tax exemptions and invited architects from across Europe. Construction commenced in 1386, but it would drag on for centuries. When the cathedral was consecrated in 1418, construction of the nave had only just started. Construction would continue until 1813, and final finishes were applied as late as in 1965. Specifications: Capacity 40, 000 Length 158. 5 metres (520 ft) Width 92 metres (302 ft) Width (nave) 16. 75 metres (55 ft) Height (max) 108 metres (354 ft) Dome height (outer) 65. 5 metres (215 ft) Spire(s) 135 Spire height 108. 5 metres (356 ft) Materials Brick with Candoglia marble