Altamura Cathedral, Altamura

View from Northeast
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This interesting Romanesque-Gothic cathedral has the most intricately carved portal in Puglia, with fascinating miniature sculptures of the 14th and 15th centuries.

Go Historic ID
319703
Short URL
gohist.co/319703
Names
Altamura Cathedral
Address
Piazza Duomo
Altamura, Italy
Coordinates
40.827447° N, 16.552856° E
Date Published
October 8, 2013
Last Updated
April 12, 2015

Description of Altamura Cathedral

Altamura Cathedral has a unique and striking appearance thanks to its variety of artistic influences and major changes in the 16th century. Its overall heaviness and austerity reflects its Late Romanesque origins under Frederick II and the twin towers of the facade are reminiscent of the medieval cathedrals of Germany. The rose window, on the other hand, is typically Puglian. The carved main portal is exuberantly Gothic but in a unique local style. The "west" facade (which faces east) was originally the apse, and evidence of the reshuffling can still be clearly seen.

The interior of Altamura Cathedral dates from the early 13th century but is overlaid by mostly 19th-century decorations. It has a basilica floor plan with three aisles of seven bays and interesting carved capitals in the nave and triforium.

Timeline

1232

Altamura Cathedral is founded by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia. It is one of the four Palatine cathedrals of Puglia, the others being San Nicola in Bari, Barletta Cathedral, and Acquaviva Cathedral.

1316

An earthquake partially destroys Altamura Cathedral, after which it is renovated by Robert of Anjou.

1320

Addition of the celebrated main portal of Altamura Cathedral (the date is uncertain but estimated as 14th or 15th century).

1534

Major changes are made to the cathedral, including, unusually, switching the front and back around! The main facade originally faced west like most cathedrals, but it now faces east.

April 5, 2008

Resources

  1. Blue Guide Southern Italy
  2. The Cathedral Visit Altamura.