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The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore was commissioned by the Prince­bishop Bernardo Cles, one of the most important political and religious figures of the 16th century, and it hosted various sessions of the Oecumenical Council of Trent. The construction was entrusted to Antonio Medaglia from Como who completed his work, based on St Andrew's church in Mantua designed by Leon Battista Alberti, within four years (1520-1524), and the part above the trabeation was restored in 1900. It is built with red and white stones originating from Trento's quarries (it is interesting to note that the northern section is made entirely of white limestone due to its durability against the bad weather). The main facade is defined by its arch vaulted Renaissance style entrance where the portal especially commissioned by Prince­bishop Antonio Madruzzo in 1539 can be admired. Above there is a frescoed lunette by Martin Teofilo Polacco depicting the Annunciation of Mary.

The interior is a single room, barrel vaulted, without a transept yet with a series of lateral chapels that hold marble baroque altars, a series of altar pieces and a baroque sarcophagus containing the relics attributed to St Clement. A series of paintings to be admired on the barrel vault depicting some moments from the Council and the protagonists of the Counterreformation are very interesting from an historical point of view.

The choir and the organ are certainly worth a mention. The former, occupies the northern section of the presbytery, and is a masterpiece of classic artwork: taking up a large part of the great tribune, with the splendid bas­reliefs, it is supported by four finely decorated brackets. The latter was built in 1536 and underwent various restoration works, the most recent in 1953 following the serious damage caused to the church by the Second World War. The belfry (53 metres) is the tallest in the city: in white limestone it has two rows of elegant Romanesque mullioned windows with three lights and a polygonal dome.



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  • Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento - Archivio APT Trento - foto Campanile