Date of Visit




Livorno Cathedral  (Duomo) 



Built between 1594 and 1606, Livorno Cathedral was destroyed by Allied bombs in 1943. Following the war, it was rebuilt along its original lines, although with additions of the facade and transepts, and was reconsecrated in 1952. It is most famous for the painting entitled 'Christ Crowned with Thorns' painted by Fra Angelico circa 1420.


Located in the heart of the city’s historic centre, the Livorno Cathedral, or Duomo is also known by a number of other names. It was originally commissioned by the Medici and named after St Francis with the name of the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi, although it is also known as Mary Mother of Jesus, and Julia of Corsica, a patron saint of Livorno, who was martyred by Vandals in the 5th century.

Designed by Bernardo Buontalenti and Alessandro Pieroni it was built between 1594 and 1606.  The original church had a rectangular plan with a single nave, although this was changed to a cross plan when two chapels were added.

The Cathedral was almost destroyed by Allied bombs in 1943 during World War II. It was rebuilt along the original lines, with the exception of the additions of the facade and transepts, and was reconsecrated in 1952.

Apart from the front façade, the building is in brick and incorporates a quadrangular bell tower at the rear. The six bells were remade from five of the six original bells, which were damaged during the war, one of which was never found.
The front has a plain marble-clad façade, with the lower half having a porch with three arches, which are supported by four Doric columns on a terrace, led up to by four steps. Above the porch is a central rectangular window within a recessed arch.  Above this in the centre of the pediment is the Medici coat of arms.


Three doors lead from the porch into the Nave, which was originally covered by a carved and gilded wooden roof that was made between 1610 and 1614, but this was replaced during the reconstruction.

The interior of the cathedral contains several tombs, both on the floor and also on the walls.  At the entrance is the 18th-century funeral monument to Marco Alessandro del Borro, governor of Livorno, this was severely damaged by bombing. A little further, along the right wall, is the tomb of Carlo Ginori, who was governor of Livorno in the mid-18th century.


The transept contains two side chapels; on the left is the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament dating back to 1716, this was dedicated to the Eucharist (the Christian service in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed). The chapel contains a painting above the altar, entitled 'Christ Crowned with Thorns' painted by Fra Angelico circa 1420.



On the right, is the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, constructed in 1726. The frescoes in both chapels were lost during the Second World War during the bombing.


At the end of the nave is the main altar set within an apse with marble Corinthian columns on either side. On the altarpiece behind the altar stand seven elaborate candle stick holders.





              All  Photographs were taken by and are copyright of Ron Gatepain

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