Salerno Cathedral, Salerno

The Cathedral of Salerno is a jewel from the medieval age with a structure that combines Romanesque architecture with Norman and Byzantine style.

Marble in brilliant colours decorate the geometric carvings and the round patterns and woven bands of the mosaics of Salerno Cathedral, one of the most important medieval monuments in Campania. The rich decorations, consisting of multi-coloured marble carvings, are the work of the masters of the Cosmatesque school, active in central and southern Italy in the XII century.

The collection


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Cathedral of Salerno

The Cathedral of Salerno is the custodian of a secret treasure, considered the holiest part of the church: the crypt, which holds the precious remains of St Matthew, patron saint of Salerno. The tomb can only be seen through a circular opening that is exactly under the main altar of the cathedral above and it consists of a large canopy with a statue of the saint, depicted while he writes the Gospel.

Cattedrale di Salerno

We are accustomed to admiring masterpieces such as the Sistine Chapel, with its "Last Judgement" and when looking upwards the beautiful frescoed vault by Michelangelo, but not everyone knows that its floors are also a unique artistic testimony. Like the floor decorations of the Cathedral of Salerno, they also were made with polychrome marble inlays in Cosmatesque style.

Cathedral of Salerno

Many churches and basilicas of central and southern Italy retain an extraordinary legacy of inlay mosaics, actual "stone carpets", by the same craftsmanship school: we are talking about the Cosmati Masters, the Roman marble workers who operated around the XII century. Their name became known thanks to the "Cosma" signature engraved on their works in various locations.

The art work

Salerno Cathedral, a jewel of Romanesque style, was built at the start of the 11th century after the city had been conquered by Roberto il Guiscardo and was consecrated by Pope Gregory VII, who lived in the city in exile, to celebrate Salerno as the capital of the Norman Duchy. The cathedral was extended after the discovery of the remains of Saint Matthew the Apostle, the patron saint of the city, and underwent alterations in the seventeenth century, and is still one of the most important medieval monuments in Campania.

Its mosaics, the work of famous Cosmati school masters, are an extraordinary testimony to Italian inlay work, due to their large dimensions and artistic quality. The master builders who worked on the cathedral managed to create real “stone rugs” with their sophisticated mosaic techniques: their decorations, that are full of mystic symbols, are based on the continuing changes to the circumference pattern, around which complex geometric decorations are wound, involving triangles, squares, rectangles, diamonds, hexagons and octagons, all embellished with multi-coloured marble and tiles that make the design of each panel unique.