Tourist Attraction in Mantua: Rotonda di San Lorenzo
The San Lorenzo roundabout is located in Piazza Erbe and erected in the eleventh century. The year 1083, although written on plaster in the following era, seems to be the year of construction. Tradition wants to build it by the desire of Matilde of Canossa, as an evocation of the Anastasis of Jerusalem, the roundabout built around the Holy Sepulcher, and ideally linked to the relic of the Blood of Christ found centuries ago in Mantua and now preserved in the nearby crypt of the basilica of Sant'Andrea. In fact, the monoptero-peripteral structure and its positioning at a level less than 150 cm from that of the adjacent square Herb, in addition to the existence of two columns and other stone construction details, suggest that the church was built by recapturing or reconstructing a former Roman building dating back to the 4th century, probably a tholos temple or grave. The church, a remarkable example of Romanesque art, is articulated on a central circular plant, completed by a semicircular apse, and is characterized by a matroness who holds the lacerti of frescoes of the XI-XII centuries which represent a rare example of Romanesque- Lombardy, a clear Byzantine school. Over the centuries the building underwent radical transformations; his transformation project by Leon Battista Alberti (as well as by Giulio Romano) did not follow until his definitive disenchantment. The temple was closed to worship in 1579 on the orders of Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga. Disconnected, the roundabout decays quite quickly: he first became a warehouse and then, once scooped out, a circular courtyard for private use within the populous neighborhood of the Jewish Ghetto Mantuan. In 1908 the building was expropriated and, after restoration, reopened in 1911 and rediscovered to worship in 1926; the church was liberated from superstructures and buildings that completely closed the view (the San Lorenzo roundabout is not visible in the old photos of the square). To bring it back to the probable original forms was used as a template, of rounded shape by San Tomè of Almenno San Bartolomeo.