⚉ URSIAN CATHEDRAL ⚉
The building of the Cathedral of Ravenna dates back to bishop Ursus when he built it, toghether with the Baptistery and the Bishop’s Palace, from the end of 4th and the beginning of 5th century. The church is called Ursiana due to Ursus’ name, and it is dedicated to Hagia Anastasis: in greek Holy Resurrection. The basilica was located in the so-called Regio Hercolana (south east area of the town) close to the urban walls. The ancient cathedral was huge and it had five aisles supported by 56 columns, its apse had a semi-circular shape inside and polygonal shape outside, according to the typical style of Ravenna. Many marbles and mosaics richly adorned the cahedral. During Middle Ages, the church was considerably restored and its original appearance deeply changed. In the 10th -11th century, the cylindrical belltower and the crypt were added. In 1112 the apse was decorated with wonderful mosaics by archbishop Geremiah.
⚉ THE NEW CATHEDRAL ⚉
In 1734 the archbishop Niccolò Maffeo Farsetti decided to replace the crumbling early cathedral with a new one and he assigned the task to Giovan Francesco Buonamici, an architect from Rimini. The new building should keep the presbyteral medieval mosaics and the two lateral chapels built during the previous century and dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and Madonna del Sudore (Madonna of Sweat). Unfortunatly the apse collapsed and the few saved fragments of mosaics (in particular The Paying Virgin) became the first nucleus of the Museum in the archbishop palace founded by Farsetti himself. The architect Buonamici designed a totally new building, saving only the few remainings of the ancient Ursus’ basilica as the crypt (unfit for use because of constant water from underground) and the belltower built with reused bricks. It is 35.17 mt high and it shows different building phases through its windows: narrow windows, mullioned windows, three mullioned-windows. The final part (bell cell) was remade after that a fire of 1658 had destroyed it.
⚉ OUTSIDE ⚉
The actual cathedral is preceeded by a wide portico of Doric order where the central arch stands on two columns of pink granite coming fom the central nave of the ancient Basilica Ursiana. The archbishop Antonio Cantoni commissioned to Giuseppe Pistocchi, an architect from Faenza, the elliptic dome ended in 1781. It replaced the octagonal one erected by Buonamici. It is 47,40 meters high.