Alessandria‘s Cathedral of the Saints Peter and Mark started its existence as the Church of San Marco. It was Napoleon who decided that this church was to be the Duomo. Highlights include the more than 100-meter tall bell tower and a number of paintings by Guglielmo Caccia.
St. Peter’s Cathedral Alessandria
The address of the Duomo of Alessandria is Piazza Giovanni XXIII, 15121 Alessandria (tel. +39 0131234794). Admission: Free of charge. Opening hours: Unknown.
History and Description
The first version of the Cathedral of Alessandria, dedicated to St. Mark, was built in 1170, in what is today the Piazza della Libertà. A century later, this church was no longer adequate due to population growth, so it was pulled down and replaced by a new cathedral.
The construction of this new church lasted from 1291 to 1297 and the architect was Ruffino Bottino.
Over the years many reconstructions and extensions took place, but in 1803 the church was destroyed by Napoleon to create a Piazza d’Armi (a square where the troops used to practice).
It was also Napoleon who determined in 1810 that St. Mark’s Church (with its associated Dominican Monastery) would be the city’s new cathedral. After restoration work was completed, the church was rededicated, as the San Pietro Cathedral.
Designed by Edoardo Mella, the façade dates from the 2nd half of the 19th century and is characterized by its neo-classicist style and 106-meter-high bell tower.
St. Peter’s Cathedral Alessandria, what to see
The relief on the left of the facade depicts the legendary hero Gagliaudo Aulari, who liberated Alessandria from the siege by Barbarossa.
The wooden statue of the “Madonna della Salve”.
On display are multiple paintings by the hand of Guglielmo Caccia (nicknamed Il Moncalvo), an important painter of the time of the Counter-Reformation.
The drum of the dome is decorated with statues of the patron saints of the municipalities that made up the Lega Lombarda (an alliance of originally 4, later 30 cities against Frederick Barbarossa).