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Monuments&Museums: The city centre

The Cathedral

The Cathedral rises high on a rocky peak, just like a speaker on a podium. Saint Leo´s cathedral strongly clings to the rock underneath, on a spot that has been considered sacred since Roman Times.
Opening time 9.30-12.30 and 14.30-19.00

The Cathedral

 The Cathedral is one of the finest and best preserved examples of Medieval architecture in the area. Although in First Romanesque style, it incorporates rests of a much older building, a Cathedral dating back to the Early Middle Ages, built in the 7th century, when Montefeltro (as the city was called at the time), became a civitas, hosting the new diocese.

Not much is left of this old building: parts of a ciborium dedicated to Saint Leo, a few capitals featuring floral and human motifs as well as winged lions in the vestibule decoration. The leonine sculptures were cut in half to support a column in the nave. We do not know the reason why a new cathedral was built in the 21st century, but an inscription tells us that it was consecrated for a second time in 1173.
The “new” cathedral is a masterpiece by masons of the time who ere directed by architects, or master masons, coming from Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy.
The wall surface is entirely made of sandstone. Outer perimeter walls are punctuated with semi-circular pillars supporting a hanging arch just below the cornice.
Just as the Parish Church standing a couple of meters away, the Cathedral as no front door. The entrance door was carved on one side of the church and decorated with the busts of Saint Leo and Saint Valentine, probably coming from the old church’s chancel.
The Church has a Latin-cross plan, with a nave and two aisles, each one divided in four spans. The transept creates some sort of accessory space, just before the chancel, featuring three apses and rising on a wide five-nave crypt.

The sarcophagus with Saint Leo’s mortal remains was once held in the crypt’s apse. Today, what we have is just the sarcophagus’ lid whose inscriptions date back to the 6th century. Many pilgrims of the time, travelling to Rome, landed on the Adriatic coast and stopped by to adore it.
The Churches is rich in fine sculptures and sculpted groups such as the Corinthian capitals dating back to the 3rd Century AD and several Romanesque capitals with different carved motifs. Some of the oldest motifs portray and depict, with very simple traits, the symbols of early Christendom.
Opening Time 9.30-12.30 and 14.30-19.00

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