The Theological Studio of St. Anthony's Basilica and the nearby Cloister have been the venues for the XXXV TIAFT meeting sessions.|
The Basilica is popularly referred to as Il Santo. After Brother Anthony had died on 13 June 1231, his body was translated to the little church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, in the old-established suburb of Rudena.
In 1232 Anthony was canonized and as early as 1238 the work on the building of the new church had begun. In 1350 the saint's body was translated for the last time to the present tomb. Over the centuries other sections were added to the building and rebuilding work was carried out.
The interior of the church comprises a nave flanked by two aisles with a large ambulatory and chapels radiating from the apse, with eight domes forming the roof. In the south aisle there is a painting of the "Martyrdom of Saint Agatha" by Giovan Battista Tiepolo (1736); opposite is the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, built by Giovanni da Bolzano (1457-58); it became the chapel of the Holy Sacrament in 1651 when it was rebuilt by Lorenzo Bedogni; it was again rebuilt from 1927 to 1936, keeping the tombs of Erasmo da Narni and his son Giannantonio. After this there is the Santuliana Chapel (1624) next to the Chapel of Saint felix .
Next there is a side door giving access along a passage, where is the "Coronation of the Virgin" by Giusto da Menabuoi, to the Chapter (or Magnolia) Cloister (c.1433); here there is a collection of tombs, gravestones and inscriptions of varied provenance. After this, the sacristy is reached. Next to the sacristy is the Chapterhouse in which there are fragments of a fresco cycle attributed to Giotto and his workshop. Back in the church, on right the ambulatory begins, with the radial chapels decorated at the beginning of the 20th century. In its centre is the Cappella del Tesoro (Chapel of the treasure) built from 1689 to 1697 by Filippo Parodi. Since 1745 the Treasure of the Basilica has been kept here: this consists of sacred vessels, relics and ex voto including the "Reliquary of the Saint's Tongue" (1434-36) and the "Reliquary of the Cross" (1437). The whole of the apse is decorated with frescoes depicting the "Glorification of Saint Anthony".
The presbitery was restored in 1895 by Camillo Boito, who placed the sculptures and bas-reliefs executed by Donatello in 1448 on the High Altar. In the north aisle is the Chapel of the Madonna Mora, part of the old church of Santa Maria Mater Domini. On the north side of this chapel is the Chapel of Blessed Luca Belludi, consecrated in 1382. Next to the Chapel of the Madonna Nera is the Chapel of Saint Anthony where the Saint's Tomb is placed in the altar. Designed by Andrea Briosco, it was built by Giovanni Minello (1500). The altar was designed by Tiziano Aspetti(1593-94), who also executed the bronze statues. On the chapel walls there are alto-relievos with the "Life of Saint Anthony".
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