Cathedral of St. Benedict
The latter one, in late Romanesque - Gothic style, is divided in two parts by a stringcourse ledge. Three portals open below this.
A big rose window, among the most beautiful ones in the region, opens above the ledge, sided by two smaller oculi. It is made up of a double row of small twisting columns and trefoil arches converging towards the central knot decorated with plant motifs.
The bell tower rises laterally, next to the apse, and has been built later in neo - Romanesque style. A 16th century fountain rises alongside the right side of the building.
The inside of the church, rebuilt in the 19th century, has a plant divided in three aisles with lodges opening above the minor aisles. The ceiling is made up of cross vaults alternated with arches and finishes in the big raised semicircular apse, overlooking the 19th century crypt.
The major altar, dating back to the end of the 14th century and reconstructed in 1965, is located in the apse area and presents bas reliefs depicting The stories of St. Benedict executed by Guglielmo Ciani.
Furthermore the basilica presents the walls widely decorated with paintings executed by Ulisse Ribustini between 1907 and 1924.
The basilica, as it appears today, was built around the half of the 13th century, but in the ancient times it raised outside the current walls of Gualdo Tadino, in a place today called indeed “of Old St. Benedict”.
It was an important Benedictine abbey founded in 1006 by the count Offredo on the ruins of an ancient hermitage.
The count became monk and since then the abbey started to grow in importance, by becoming one of the most influential ones in the area. Nevertheless, since it was located outside the town, it was often prey of several raids; therefore, in 1215 monks asked to Pope Innocent III if they could relocate to a more defensible place.
As we can read in the wall plaque on the left side of the church, in 1256 the abbey was transferred inside Gualdo Tadino. It was fundamentally rebuilt, with the help of Lombard workers, in the late-Romanesque and Gothic style as we can see that today.
Later, throughout centuries, it underwent other restorations, especially between the 18th and the 19th century: the insertion of the bell tower in neo-Romanesque style and the internal reconstruction of the church in 1875, executed according the project of Virginio Vespignani.
In 1915 the church of St. Benedict was elevated to the status of cathedral by pope Benedict XV and, as it can be seen, underwent recently a restoration.