Lake Garda Italy

Desenzano del Garda

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Here you can get useful travel information for Northern Italy. This travel guide is built with Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda Italy, as the base and it shows you daytrips you can take from there.

Lake Garda Italy

Desenzano del Garda

Day trips Italy


Churches and Religious Artwork in Bolzano

Churches and Religious Artwork in Bolzano

Like many historic towns in the region, Bolzano is centred on the Duomo or cathedral. There are several other churches which are worth visiting for their elaborate interiors, frescoes and artwork. Many paintings are remarkably well preserved considering their age and exposure to the elements.


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Bolzano Duomo

The Duomo or Cathedral stands in the Piazza Duomo, the main square. It was begun in 1290 but work continued until the 15th century. The cathedral has a fine campanile, or bell tower with an open fretwork spire which stands 65m tall. The façade is of unusual red and yellow marble and the building is decorated with many sculptures and gargoyles to ward off evil spirits. Although many of the cathedrals frescoes were damaged in World War 2, the frescoes of the Stories of St Christopher and the Madonna and Child by Friedrich Pacherare are beautiful to see. There is also a 13th century statue of the Madonna which is the work of Veronese artists. The ‘wine door’ is carved in great detail showing vine growers in the fields.

Dominican Church

The Dominican church on the Piazza Domenicani is one of the oldest Gothic style complexes in the province. Before entering, admire the cloisters which feature the 15th century Gothic frescoes by Friedrich Pache. The church was begun in 1270 and some frescoes inside the church still remain which were painted between 1330 and 1370. They are of the Paduan Giotto School. There are particularly fine examples in the Chapel of San Giovanni where the ‘Triumph over Death’ decorates the eastern wall. The chapel of Santa Caterina also has some beautiful examples of early artwork.

The Muri-Gries Benedictine Abbey

The abbey was originally built by the Counts of Tirolo as a fort in the 13th century and it was at one time occupied by the Countess Margherita Maultasch. It was passed to the Augustinian friars in 1406 who turned it into a monastery. In its long history it has witnessed peasant revolts, been damaged by Napoleonic troops and later suppressed by the Bavarian government. The interior of the abbey has some magnificent décor, ornate ironwork and beautiful frescoes and paintings. When the Muri monks were expelled from their monastery in Switzerland in 1845 they came here, hence the name.

Franciscan Church

Once a monastic complex with a monastery, church and cloisters, the 14th century Franciscan Church has some rich treasures. The wonderfully carved Nativity Altar is quite beautiful and the engraved casket and hatches in the choir stalls were made by Hans Clocker around 1500 AD. The cloister has lavish frescoes by the Giotto school, painted around 1330-1340. It is believed that as a young man Saint Francis visited Bolzano and frequented the Chapel of Sant’Erardo.

Old Parish Church of Gries

Standing on the Via Martin Knoller, in an idyllic position to the west of Bolzano, the 15th century parish church has a tall narrow spire. Inside its walls they are a surprising number of treasures. The Romanesque wooden crucifix is believed to have originated in Northern France and dates back to the 13th century. The stunning altar was created in 1471-75 by Michael Pacher and is considered one of the best examples of a casket and hatch remaining today.

These are just a few of the religious historic treasures of Bolzano. You are sure to discover more as you explore the old streets and visit the museums and castles in this lovely area.