Tivoli Cathedral

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Portico and campanile from the south-west. Cathedrale San Lorenzo di Tivoli.JPG
Portico and campanile from the south-west.
The nave. Nef San Lorenzo a Tivoli.JPG
The nave.
Decorations of the apse. Abside cathedrale San Lorenzo de Tivoli.JPG
Decorations of the apse.
Sculpture group of the Descent from the Cross (early 13th century). Tivoli Duomo - deposizione 1030262.JPG
Sculpture group of the Descent from the Cross (early 13th century).

Tivoli Cathedral (Italian : Duomo di Tivoli or Basilica Cattedrale di San Lorenzo Martire) is a Roman Catholic cathedral, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, in Tivoli, Lazio, Italy. It is the seat of the bishop of Tivoli.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Cathedral Christian church that is the seat of a bishop

A cathedral is a church that contains the cathedra of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral" are usually specific to those Christian denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and some Lutheran and Methodist churches. Church buildings embodying the functions of a cathedral first appeared in Italy, Gaul, Spain and North Africa in the 4th century, but cathedrals did not become universal within the Western Catholic Church until the 12th century, by which time they had developed architectural forms, institutional structures and legal identities distinct from parish churches, monastic churches and episcopal residences.

Saint Lawrence 3rd-century Christian saint, martyr and deacon of ancient Rome

Saint Lawrence or Laurence was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome, Italy, under Pope Sixtus II who were martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258.



According to a legend, it was built by Emperor Constantine after the Edict of Milan (313). The local tradition attributes the building of the church to Pope Simplicius (468-483), who was born at Tivoli. The Liber pontificalis, in the biography of Pope Leo III (795-816), contains the first reference to the "basilica beati martyris Laurentii sita infra civitatem Tyburtinam" ("basilica of the Blessed Martyr Lawrence in the town of Tivoli").

Edict of Milan February AD 313 agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire

The Edict of Milan was the February AD 313 agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire. Western Roman Emperor Constantine I and Emperor Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, met in Mediolanum and, among other things, agreed to change policies towards Christians following the Edict of Toleration issued by Emperor Galerius two years earlier in Serdica. The Edict of Milan gave Christianity a legal status, but did not make Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire; this took place under Emperor Theodosius I in AD 380 with the Edict of Thessalonica.

Pope Simplicius pope

Pope Simplicius was pope from 468 to his death in 483. He was born in Tivoli, Italy, the son of a citizen named Castinus. Most of what is known of him personally is derived from the Liber Pontificalis.

Pope Leo III 8th and 9th-century pope

Pope Leo III was Pope and ruler of the Papal States from 26 December 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him Holy Roman Emperor and "Augustus of the Romans".

Whatever the exact date, the first church was built over the basilica in the forum of the Roman city of Tibur (1st century BC), whose apse can still be seen behind the one of the present building. This church was rebuilt in Romanesque style between the 11th and 12th centuries, and the bell tower belongs to this rebuilding.

Basilica Building used as a place of Christian worship

The Latin word basilica has three distinct applications in modern English. Originally, the word was used to refer to an ancient Roman public building, where courts were held, as well as serving other official and public functions. It usually had the door at one end and a slightly raised platform and an apse at the other, where the magistrate or other officials were seated. The basilica was centrally located in every Roman town, usually adjacent to the main forum. Subsequently, the basilica was not built near a forum but adjacent to a palace and was known as a "palace basilica".

Forum (Roman) public square in a Roman municipium

A forum was a public square in a Roman municipium, or any civitas, reserved primarily for the vending of goods; i.e., a marketplace, along with the buildings used for shops and the stoas used for open stalls. Many fora were constructed at remote locations along a road by the magistrate responsible for the road, in which case the forum was the only settlement at the site and had its own name, such as Forum Popili or Forum Livi.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

The present cathedral, in Baroque style, was built by order of Cardinal Giulio Roma, bishop of Tivoli from 1634 to 1652. It has one nave with side chapels. It was consecrated on February 1, 1641, and completed with the portico in 1650. In 1747 the side door on the north was created, while the inside decoration dates from the early 19th century.

Baroque architecture Building style of the Baroque era

Baroque architecture is a highly decorative and theatrical style which appeared in Italy in the early 17th century and gradually spread across Europe. It was originally introduced by the Catholic church, particularly by the Jesuits, as a means to combat the Reformation and the Protestant church with a new architecture that inspired surprise and awe. It reached its peak in the High Baroque (1625-1675), when it was used in churches and palaces in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France, and Austria. In the Late Baroque period (1675-1750), it reached as far as Russia and the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America, Beginning in about 1730, an even more elaborately decorative variant called Rococo appeared and flourished in Central Europe.

Giulio Roma was an Italian Catholic Cardinal and Bishop of Recanati and Loreto.


The west front of the church has a portico with three arches, and is flanked by the Romanesque bell tower, about 47 meters high. The interior was decorated by the Roman painter Angelo De Angelis in 1816: on the vault are paintings depicting The Glory of St. Lawrence, Faith and Religion, while in the apse are depicted four saints from Tivoli: Pope Simplicius and the martyrs Generosus, Symphorosa and Getulius. The altarpiece represents St Lawrence in front of the Judge, and was painted by Pietro Labruzzi.

Symphorosa Roman saint

Symphorosa is venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church. According to tradition, she was martyred with her seven sons at Tibur toward the end of the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

Saint Getulius is venerated together with Amantius (Amancius), Cerealus (Caerealis), and Primitivus as a Christian martyr and saint. They are considered to have died at Gabii. According to tradition, Getulius was the husband of Saint Symphorosa. Getulius is a name meaning "of the Gaetuli", which was a tribe of North Africa.

Pietro Labruzzi (1739–1805) was an Italian painter of the Neoclassical period, active in Rome and Poland. He is best known for his altarpieces and portraits.

Side chapels

Four chapels open along the south side of the cathedral:

Guido Reni 17th-century Bolognese painter

Guido Reni was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, although his works showed a classical manner, similar to Simon Vouet, Nicholas Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne. He painted primarily religious works, but also mythological and allegorical subjects. Active in Rome, Naples, and his native Bologna, he became the dominant figure in the Bolognese School that emerged under the influence of the Carracci.

Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi

Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi was an Italian painter, draughtsman, printmaker and architect. He was an accomplished fresco painter of classical landscapes which were popular with leading Roman families.

Christophe Veyrier sculptor

Christophe Veyrier was a French sculptor, the nephew and follower of Pierre Puget.

Two further chapels open on the north side:

Also on the north side, the sacristy was designed by architect Giovanni Antonio De Rossi (1655–57), and contains frescoes by Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi, and oils on canvas by Innocenzo Tacconi (1575 - after 1625), with The Martyrdom of St Lawrence, and Vincenzo Manenti, with portraits of Cardinals Roma and Santacroce.


Coordinates: 41°57′56″N12°47′48″E / 41.96556°N 12.79667°E / 41.96556; 12.79667

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