Start the Tour of the Cathedral of Acqui Terme
Point of interest
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The Cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, is located in the historic centre of Acqui Terme, a town already renowned since Roman times as “Aquae Statiellae”.
Acqui Terme is a significant tourist destination. Its breathtaking landscapes of UNESCO World Heritage hills, the distinctive flavours of the Monferrato cuisine, its great wines and the revitalizing experience of its hot thermal waters, that are an authentic miracle of health and well-being, make the town a rare jewel.
The Cathedral of Acqui Terme has represented for more than ten centuries the core of the city and diocesan life. It stands on the same square overlooked by the fifteenth-century Bishop’s Palace and the Diocesan Seminary, near the massive fortress of the Castle.
Its construction, begun with Bishop Primo shortly after the year 1000, and was completed by Bishop Guido, the Patron Saint of the city, who solemnly consecrated the building on the 11th November 1067, amidst the exultation and emotion of the inhabitants.
The architecture of the Cathedral is the result of the work of the Lombard masters, as witnessed by the masonry decoration with hanging arches, which are still clearly visible in the nave, transept and apses.
Architecturally, the building is strongly related to the contemporary French ones: precisely the one derived from the second church built around the year 1000 in the famous Monastery of Cluny, in France. Noteworthy is the complex Latin cross plan of the building, with a side transept and five apses. The vertical thrust of the walls is also remarkable, originally culminating in a tall octagonal tower at the centre of the building.
Originally built in the Romanesque style, the Cathedral was gradually altered with many architectural additions in other styles until it reached its present plan.
Move forward to the bottom of the portico steps. Here you can admire the terracotta belfry built in 1479. It stands next to the façade, leaning against the walls of the right-hand nave, alongside the refectory.
The architecture of the bell tower is clearly late Gothic, as can be seen by the gradual increase in the height of the openings: starting with a single-light window and then moving on to mullioned and three-light windows; the characteristic pointed arches on the string-course cornices and the spire at the top date from the same period.
The large rose window in the centre of the façade was added in 1530 and in 1614 the majestic entrance portico was built. The lateral aisles were extended in 1786 and 1790 respectively with the adjacent chapels that you will visit later.
The 19th century marked the end of important structural works to the building, while the 20th century restorations brought the Cathedral of the Assunta back to its original Romanesque architecture in its exterior. Also worth mentioning is the grand restoration promoted from 1985 to 1991 by the Archpriest Monsignor Giovanni Galliano, who was the Parish Priest of the Cathedral for over 50 years. He is commemorated by a plaque placed next to one of the central pillars of the Cathedral.
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The interactive guide to the Cathedral of Acqui
Point of interest 2
The main portal and side entrances