Map of Topsfield for 30pm & 2.30 6pm, Sun 9am 1pm & 3 6pm; Nov March closes 5pm Free The splendid twelfth-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, built over an eighthcentury predecessor, has a Gothic north portal on the square, decorated with Romanesque lions and, above, an equestrian statue of Alexander, Bergamo’s patron saint. It’s worth walking round the exterior; this is one of Lombardy’s best Romanesque churches, and the apse and minor portals are all beautiful examples of the style. The rather stubby interior with a floor plan that is almost a Greek cross is a different kettle of fish, dating from a late-sixteenth century makeover. It is extraordinarily elaborate, its ceiling marzipanned with ornament in the finest tradition of Baroque excess, encrusted with gilded stucco, painted vignettes and languishing statues. The confessional (1704), by Andrea Fantoni, displays stunning artistry, festooned with cherubs, saints and prophets and topped by a flaming orb. There’s a piece of nineteenth-century kitsch, too a monument to Bergamo’s most famous son, Donizetti (see p.234), composer of comic opera, who died from syphilis here in 1848; bas-relief putti stamp their feet and smash their lyres in misery. More subtly, the intarsia biblical scenes on the choir stalls designed by Lorenzo Lotto, and executed by a local craftsman are remarkable not only for their intricacy but also for the incredible colour range of the natural wood. Map of Topsfield 2016.
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Map of Topsfield
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