THE DUOMO VECCHIO

 

The Duomo Vecchio is in Piazza Paolo IV which, until a few years ago was called Piazza Duomo.

The Duomo Vecchio, also called Rotonda because of its round structure was built in 1000 AD. by some architects from Como.

The Duomo is like a wedding cake and is composed of two parts: the lower one has a round structure and the upper one, which has a round structure as well and a smaller diameter, is called tambour and is made of stone bricks.

The tambour is divided into many small pilasters; on the frieze there are many small brick arches which surround the roof; the windows give light to the inside of the church..

As the street level has become higher, today you have to enter through an old window which has undergone some relevant changes throughout the years; as you can notice it is composed of parts which recall the style of the Duomo Nuovo.

The Duomo was built on the ruins of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore which was destroyed by a fire.

As the community grew the church was expanded and two new chapels were built.

Further on as the ground level increased because of the sediments and the two original doors could not be used anymore the architect Piantavigna opened a new door by making a hole in the high bell-tower which was above the main entrance.

Some mistakes in the building made the side walls of the bell-tower weak and they eventually collapsed in 1708.

Through the centuries the Rotonda underwent many changes, until it was decided to make it as similar as possible to the original situation by lowering the floor and discovering in this way the ruins of the very ancient Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore; the oldest door was reopened and some windows were walled up so as to reproduce the medieval style.

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