According to tradition the Cathedral of St. Lawrence (San Lorenzo) was built on the ruins of a pagan temple dedicated to Hercules. A church dedicated to San Lorenzo has existed on the Duomo hill since the 8th century. In 1192 work began on the Romanic building which is still visible, transforming the church and giving it the status of Cathedral.
The bell tower, modified in 1369, recalls the Gothic style with its characteristic two color stripes. The façade of the Cathedral was commissioned by Cardinal Giovan Francesco De Gambara in 1570. The cathedral has been restored many times, by De Gambara and later in the 17th century.
Along with many other historic buildings of Viterbo, the Cathedral was hit by the bombs in 1944 and later restored, bringing much of it back to the original Romanic style we admire today.
The interior is divided in three naves. In the right nave we can admire the 15th century Baptisimal font, the chapel of Santa Caterina near the entrance and that of Saints Valentino and Ilario halfway down the nave, plus many 17th century paintings.
The central nave is decorated by a Cosmatesque pavement that has been restored many times. The post-war reconstruction created a double apse with the Baroque part hidden behind the central altar: here we find the frescoed vault by Giuseppe Passeri (17th century) with the Last Judgment and the Cardinal Virtues as well as a canvas by Romanelli showing San Lorenzo in glory. The area can only be visited during the guided tour of the Museum Colle del Duomo (the Cathedral Museum).
In the left hand nave we find the funerary monument for Pope John XXI, the chapel of S. Lucia with Baroque frescoes and other paintings done between the 17th and 18th centuries. Note the chapel of St. Joseph which has recently been reopened.
At the beginning of the guided tour, which includes the Cathedral and the Museum, we see a reproduction of the Madonna della Carbonara, the original is kept in the The Cathedral Museum. At the beginning of the left nave the Blessing Redeemer between St. John the Evangelist, San Leonardo, S. Benedict and St. John Baptist by Gerolamo da Cremona (1472).
Book a visit to the Duomo Monumental Complex
The itinerary includes a visit to the Conclave Hall, the Papal Loggia, Gualterio Hall and the Baroque Choir and Sacristy in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. The ticket includes entrance to the Museum Colle del Duomo.
- The visit lasts 45 minutes
- Hours: Winter: 10a.m.-1p.m. and 3p.m.-6p.m. Summer: 10a.m.-1p.m. and 3p.m.-7p.m. (August: 10a.m.-1p.m. and 3p.m.-8p.m.)
- Last visit 45 minutes before closing time.
- Open daily.