Duomo di Orvieto
The Cathedral of Orvieto it was built during the period when the medieval Comune achieved its moment of maximum splendour. Works began during the ponteficate of Nicholas IV in 1290 and the first mass was celebrated on August 15th, 1297 by Boniface VIII. The first known builder is the Benedictine Fra Bevignate. In 1309 the architect Lorenzo Maitani, having taken over the works, created and modified the façate to three cusps and reinforced the cross vault with rampant arches. The façade in considered a typical example of Italian Gothic art. The frames of the cusps show various scenes from the life of Jesus and the Madonna with gilt mosaics that over the centuries have been restored and repaired. In the center of the façade, between the two central cusps, is the rose window, a masterpiece by Andrea di Cione better known as Orcagna. It is made up of small columns and delicate decorative elements, with the head of the Redeemer in the centre. It was built between 1354 - 1380. The three portals on the façade have great effect. The ones on the sides end in an ogive and the central one is round; the sloped surface is beautifully decorated with a series of small twisted columns alternated with decorative fascias. In 1970 the old wooden doors were replaced with bronze doors finished by Emilio Greco.
The central nave culminates in a beautiful Gothic window, 16.3 metres high and 4.55 metres wide, made by Giovanni Bonino di Assisi (1325) and finished by Nicola di Nuti's mastership in 1334. The stained-glass window is made up of forty-eight panels thatreproduce the history of the Madonna and Jesus, figures of prophets, doctors of the Church and evngelists. There are frescoes from the Orvieto school on the walls of the apse, made by Ugolino di Prete Ilario and his assistants, among them Pietro di Puccio, between 1370 and 1380. They were restored during the last decade of the 15th century by Giacomo da Bologna and later by Bernardino di Betto known as Pinturicchio and by Antonio da Viterbo known as Pastura. These frescoes, now partially lost, show the "Glory of Mary" in the walls. The apse is divided from the transept by magnificent steps surmounted by a dark red marble banister. In the transverse nave is a magnificent sculptured group of the Pietà (1574), a work by Ippolito Scalza, made up of four highly expressive figures, sculpted from a single block of marble.