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Basilica of St. Zeno San Zeno Maggiore San Zeno Maggiore, Verona
Piazza San Zeno Verona, Veneto
Verona  locality
Verona Province  province
Veneto  region
Italy  country
Europe  continent
Main date(s)
(#797; Jan 01, 2000)
45.442545° N, 10.979204° E
Opening hours
Tue-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 1:30-6pm (closes 5pm Nov-Feb)

Historical Timeline of San Zeno Maggiore

8 December 806
Consecration of the Basilica of St. Zeno in Verona, built on the site of a smaller 5th-century church. The larger basilica was needed to accommodate pilgrims and serve a new Benedictine monastery founded by King Pepin.
After destruction by Hungarian invaders, the Basilica of St. Zeno is rebuilt under Saint Adalberto.
Construction begins on a new Basilica of St. Zeno in Verona.
A major earthquake in Verona destroys almost all progress on the Basilica of St. Zeno.
Addition of the polygonal apse and wooden ceiling of San Zeno Maggiore, the former of which necessitates the raising of the nave.
The Monastery of San Zeno is dissolved by the Republic of Venice.
The Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore in Verona becomes a parish church.
The 16th-century stairway between the nave and choir is pulled down and replaced with two side stairways. The central steps from the nave down to the crypt are also added.
Restoration of the presbytery.
Restoration of the west facade.

Description of San Zeno Maggiore

The grand west facade (c. 1135) of San Zeno is made of a warm tufa stone and brick. It centers on a large rose window known as the Ruota della Fortuna (Wheel of Fortune), created in 1217-25 by Maestro Brioloto and Adamino da San Giorgio.

The west portal dates from 1138 and is full of magnificent Romanesque sculpture, including two long reliefs of biblical and allegorial scenes stretching along the facade to either side.

The detached Romanesque campanile was begun in 1045 and completed in 1178. The wide battlemented tower to the north (left) of the church is the sole survivor of the 9th-century Benedictine monastery.

The floor plan of the church is long and relatively narrow, with three aisles supported on piers and columns and covered with a wooden roof. Typical of Romanesque pilgrimage churches, the choir at the east end is raised to make room for the crypt beneath.

The south apse is one of the oldest parts of the church (10th century), while the polygonal central apse is one of the newest (1385-98). The latter features ogival windows and engaged buttresses.

The crypt of San Zeno dates from the 13th century but is supported on columns from antiquity. It still contains the relics of St. Zeno, now contained in a modern sarcophagus, as well as the tombs of other saints and bishops.

The Romanesque cloister, dating from the 12th to 14th centuries, is entered from the north aisle of the church. It has small double columns of red marble and many tombs and monuments.

Off the cloister to the left is the Oratorio di San Benedetto (13th century, but possibly having Early Christian origins), which displays some ancient capitals.

Holly Hayes
October 27, 2011

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