Chiesa degli Eremitani
Church in Padova
The Church of the Eremitani (Chiesa degli Eremitani) is a 13th-century Gothic-style church in Padua, situated in the Veneto region of Italy. Originally, it was affiliated with the Augustinian hermit friars, who were the precursors of the present Order of Saint Augustine. These hermit friars arrived in Padua in 1237 and, with the support of the wife of the local nobleman Zaccaria dell’Arena and the city itself, the church was constructed between 1260 and 1276. It was consecrated to the saints Philip and James.
The Augustinian friars oversaw the administration of the monastery and church until 1806, when the Napoleonic regime disbanded the order and closed the monastery. The church was reopened for services in 1808 and was redesignated as a parish church in 1817.
The church features a tall facade with a rose window, while a 15th-century side portal displays bas-reliefs illustrating the months, a work completed by Nicolò Baroncelli. Inside, you’ll find a single nave.
Although the church no longer houses the renowned Ovetari Chapel frescoes, originally depicting scenes from the lives of Saints James and Christopher and painted between 1448 and 1457 by the Renaissance artist Mantegna, the chapel was significantly damaged during a March 1944 aerial bombardment by the Allies in World War II. This was due to its proximity to a German headquarters. Today, there are over 88,000 fragments of the frescoes, covering only 77 square meters, while the original area spanned several hundred square meters.
The church still boasts frescoes from other notable painters, including Guariento and Ansuino da Forlì. Additionally, it houses the tombs of Jacopo II da Carrara (d. 1351) and Ubertino da Carrara (d. 1345), who were lords of Padua. These tombs were created by Andriolo de Santi (de Sanctis) and others and were originally located in the church of Sant’Agostino but were relocated to the Church of the Eremitani in 1819 after the former church was demolished.
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