Basilica del Santo, San Marino
Basilica in San Marino
The Basilica of the Saint is the primary sacred structure in San Marino, as it is dedicated to and houses the relics of Saint Marino, the patron and founder of the San Marino community. Designed and constructed starting in 1826 by architect Antonio Serra from Bologna, it was built on the site of the ancient 16th-century parish church, which was demolished to make way for the new basilica. This was a significant loss for art history, as it erased one of Italy’s earliest Christian monuments in the pre-Romanesque style.
The present basilica, consecrated in 1855, follows a neoclassical architectural style with a pronaos supported by Corinthian columns. The massive bell tower, which already had a Romanesque design, was rebuilt in the 1600s.
Inside, the basilica features three naves with seven altars. To the left of the high altar, you can find the throne of the Captains Regent, a work from the 17th century. Below the altar lies a small urn containing the bones of St. Marino. To the right, there is a marble monument housing a silver shrine containing the upper part of the saint’s skull. Adjacent to the basilica on the right is the 16th-century church of St. Peter, which underwent remodelling around 1826. You can access it through the sacristy via a staircase carved into the bell tower of the main Basilica.
The apse of St. Peter’s church is carved entirely from the bare rock, with two niches that tradition identifies as the resting places of St. Marino and St. Leo, believed by the faithful to possess miraculous properties. Above the 17th-century marble altar, donated by Roman musician Antonio Tedeschi in 1689, stands a statue of St. Peter sculpted by Enrico Saroldi. Under the church, a stone crypt was built in 1914, where the urn containing the saint’s bones, which rested there for many centuries, is now kept.
The Basilica of the Saint is part of the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro, whose patron saints are St. Marino and St. Leo (Leo).
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