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Italy: Province of Modena

 

The Romanesque in the Province of Modena is an exceptional European inheritance: the Middle Ages come to life again in their cathedrals, parish churches and castles, once the mansions of powerful lords.
In the estates ruled by the Countess Matilde from Canossa who, with unique carisma, supported the Papacy and the reform of the Roman Church, the Romanesque asserted itself as an artistic model of great uniformity and originality, which through the exemplary works of masters Lanfranco and Wiligelmo will exert considerable influence on this style in Europe.
The outstanding importance of this area is also seen by passing routes such as the Romea Nonantolana which was an important trade road to the spiritual centre Rome in medieval times.

Modena Cathedral

 

Modena Duomo or Cathedral is a major Romanesque monument. In 1997 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Programme, together with its Ghirlandina Tower and adjacent Piazza Grande. The Duomo was founded on 9 June 1099, in an initiative promoted by the city's various social classes, as a confirmation of the civic, cultural and religious values of the budding Community of Modena. It is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and is the sanctuary of St Geminianus, bishop and patron saint of Modena, who died in 397, and whose remains are buried here. The Saint's tomb was moved here in 1106 from a previous cathedral. Modena Duomo was consecrated in 1184. The architect Lanfranco and the sculptor Wiligelmus perfected a fusion of ancient culture and new Lombard art, creating a fundamental model for Romanesque civilisation. From the late 1100s until the 1300s, the site was directed by the "Maestri Campionesi", Lombard sculptors and architects who came from Campione.