Tourist Attraction in Aosta: Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta e San Giovanni Battista
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Giovanni Battista (in French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption et Saint-Jean Baptiste) is the main place of worship in the city of Aosta, the bishopric of the diocese of the same name; Together with the Collegiata di Sant'Orso, constitutes the most important testimony of the history of sacred art in Valle d'Aosta. Its millennial history has to be rebuilt through the multitude of successive works and the architectural languages employed, as well as the artistic testimony it conserves. The origin of the Cathedral of Aosta dates back to the initial stages of Christianity spreading in Valle d'Aosta: as early as the end of the 4th century, where the cathedral was today, there was a Domus Ecclesiae of remarkable proportions . In the "anselmiana" cathedral, on the west side, there was no real façade, but only a "pseudo-facade" with highlights which at the bottom had no entry portal, but supported the wall structures above the Romanic cryptoportic. The three aisles were marked by six pairs of quadrangular pillars and a pair of quadrangle-shaped beam pillars; The size of the church was 54 x 32.4 meters, with a height of more than 15 meters for the central nave and 9 meters for the lateral ones. The interior of the central nave was decorated with an extraordinary cycle of fresh paintings arranged on various registers. The painters of the "Lombard area" who were involved in the implementation of this decorative program were, in all likelihood, the same ones who in Aosta freshen up the collegiate of Sant'Orso. From the eastern side, the cathedral displayed five apses: a large apse that closed the central nave, the two apses with which the aisles and other two apses ended up on the lower floor of the bell tower. The chorus was somewhat elevated with respect to the church floor; Beneath the choir, at the end of the tenth century, a three-navel crypt was built with cruise lines supported by agile columns with medieval marble capitals. In the second half of the 11th century, the crypt had to be redone after a probable collapse: only the first camps retained the primitive columns, while robust columns of Romanesy were used for the other camps. Leaning against the north nave, a cloister was built as a meeting space and prayer for the canons. Always in the second half of the eleventh century the church was expanded with the edifice of the westwerk in the form of a second apse at the central nave next to two further bell towers. Thus, a constructive project was completed that saw the central nave closed by two opposed apses, each with a pair of bell towers. The two bell-towers in the east remained, though somehow modified in their appearance by the high Gothic cusp And the four angular pinnacles on their top - maintain a typically Romanesque appearance; There remain the amazing mosaics of the choir, the crypt with interesting medieval capitals. Remaining remains are the surviving frescoes - rediscovered in 1979 in the space between the roof and the fifteenth century - that allow them to understand the greatness of the decorative apparatus inside the church and its iconographic complexity.