The Cathedral of Modena

3d model and reconstruction

The Cathedral of Modena

Thanks to the reconstruction images it is possible to see the Cathedral of Modena as it was according to the original project by Lanfranco and then with the later changes by the masters from Campione in the 13th and 14th centuries, and finally what it looks like now.

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Short history of

The Cathedral of Modena

The Cathedral of Modena is one of the most important experiences of Romanesque architecture in Italy.

The building shows a perfect synthesis between the architectural culture of the work of its designer Lanfranco, with the sculptural expression of Wiligelmo, author of a complex figurative program. Started in 1099 and consecrated in 1184 by Pope Lucius III, already since 1106 it houses the remains of the patron Saint Geminiano by the presence of Matilde di Canossa, lady of the city. An epigraph on the façade shows the foundation and the Wiligelmo praise. In the thirteenth century, Anselmo da Campione and his descendents are active in the shipyard. In 1319 the bell tower with spire was completed.The facade of the cathedral remember the ones from the classical basilica, tripartite by pillars on which stands the high gable surmounted by two cuspidate spires, and horizontally divided by an arcade of arches that continues along the entire perimeter of the building. At the center it is a large Gothic rose window, work by Anselmo da Campione. The main portal, preceded by a porch with a higher shrine supported by lions, is decorated with symbolic motifs and figures of 12 prophets and patriarchs carved by Wiligelmo, who also designed the panels depicting the Stories of Genesis of the side doors. On the southern side, overlooking the Piazza Grande, and always preceded by porch with a niche and lions the door of the Princes or Baptism, adorned with scenes from the life of St. Geminiano, work of the so-called Maestro of San Geminiano, and Royal or Community door, built by Anselmo da Campione in 1175. On the northern side is the door of Peschiera laying in the archivolt an episode of the Breton cycle of King Arthur and in the architrave animalistic scenes from Aesop‘s fables. Complete the building the apses, sunken below the level of the square. At the northeastern margin of the church stands the bell tower called the Ghirlandina, so named for the two balconies that surround the cusp. It combines the Romanesque style of the base with the Gothic influence of the top. Remarkable is the homogeneity of the texture and color of the stone – a marble robe – ranging from white to yellowish white and shades of gray. Strong is the contrast with the interior, austere and evocative, where the reddish color of the simple brick dominates. The plant has three naves divided by the sequence of piers alternating with columns. In the central nave is an ambo and the pier, made by masters of Campione between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, completed by telamons, lions, bas-reliefs with scenes from the Passion. A forest of 60 columns with valuable capitals of the late century XI, characterizes the beautiful crypt below the presbytery.