For a small town, it Civita Castellana sure has an impressive cathedral. Commissioned by Pope Innocenzo III in this place that was the northern territory of the Holy See, it was built in the 1200s in Romanesque style. There are several distinctive features in the church, that faces the piazza del Duomo. First are the stunning marble designs by the Cosmati, a family of Roman marble artisans who created intricate geometric patterns repeated through the flooring to beautiful effect.

Another feature is the high altar, which is actually a paleo-Christian sarcophogus with seven relief-carved scenes, elevated by ancient Corinthian capitals. It's a beautiful re-use of ancient pieces. The church, it is thought, was built over a Roman pagan temple.

The facade has a temple-like aspect with its portico. Above the four pilasters of the portico are symbols of the four evangelists, and at the center, the lamb of God, looking at the piazza. Look for the marble pelicans!

The interior was redone in baroque style in the 1700s, but there are frescoes and paintings from the original period, the 1200s, and the Madonna del Rosario from the 15th century. Be sure to look at the frescoes in the presytery and sacristy. The crypt is worth a visit, too.

Photo credit: Di Mongolo1984 - Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0

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Address in Civita Castellana:

Piazza del Duomo.