Italian Religious Architecture Throughout History

Tombs, Temples, Churches, Monasteries, Abbeys, Cloisters, Friaries, Hermitages, Priories

Italy's long, meandering history includes many swerves. Popular building styles change suddenly, and hang on for centuries, then change again. Sometimes there are holes in our knowledge, the dark ages when everything seems to fade to black. But what we are left with is a timeline full of archaeological and artistic treasures treasures.

Our historical timeline starts with decorated tombs as you can see at places like Cerveteri in the Lazio region, passes through the southern Italy Greek temples and early Christian basilicas, and continues through the Architectural and political phases of Romanesque, Gothic, Rennaisance, and Baroque. 

religious architecture timeline
Religious Architecture Timeline

Monasteries and More

What's the difference between these religious places: monastery, abbey, cloister, friary, hermitage, and priory?

They're pretty much the same, except in the administration. After all, they're places for a religious order to work and pray, along with the general public in most cases. An Abbey is a monastery that's presided over by an abbot or abbess, or it could be a church that is one once was part of a monastery or convent. Technically abbeys need to have 12 or more religious dwellers, unlike monasteries. An hermitage is a secluded retreat or monastery. 

Discover Our Favorite Religious Buildings in Italy by clicking the buttons, arranged by age, fror oldest to most recent.

Cerveteri Tombs

Paestum Temples

Agrigento (Sicily) Temples

Basilica Santa Sabina (Rome)

Romanesque Abbey of Santa Maria di Cerrate in Puglia

Romanesque Abbey of Pomposa in Emilia Romagna

Duomo di Siena

Duomo di Milano

Duomo di Firenze - Florence Cathedral

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