30 October 2017

Basilica di Sant'Andrea, Mantova

46100 Mantova MN, Italia

Mantua still preserves one of the relics of Christianity: The precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Our Sunday had been dedicated to one of the holiest basilica of Italy: St. Andrew’s. It’s situated in a small city called Mantua, in the north of Italy. I first want to say that when it comes to churches, Italy is really unbeatable. All their churches are so fabulous and I have never seen something so glorious elsewhere except the Sagrada Familia of Gaudì in Barcelona. St. Andrew’s Basilica, loomed over the Piazza Mantegna, is one of the major works of the 15th century, commissioned by Ludovico III Gonzaga and designed by the architect Leon Battista Alberti on a Benedictine monastery, of which, still the bell tower remains. The works started in 1472 and ended only 328 years later. Not only the fact that it is a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance which makes it so important, but there is another matter which makes this basilica one of the most wanted. It is a home to a relic of the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, in the crypt underground the Holy Blood is stored in two Sacred Vessels. It is said that, Longino himself, the Roman soldier who pierced and crucified Jesus Christ, picked up a piece of earth soaked in the blood of Jesus and after coming to Mantua, before being killed, he hidden this precious treasure which was found later in 804 when St. Andrew’s revealed to a beggar in his dream the exact spot where the relic was hidden. From then on, Popes, Emperors and princes came to adore the Precious Blood. Many churches were built on this spot but only in 1472 Ludovico III Gonzaga, in order to keep it in a suitable place, commissioned Loen Battista Alberti to project the church, who unfortunately died soon after the project so the works started under the supervision of Luca Fancelli. Until now, during the Holy Procession of Good Friday evening, the Holy Blood is carried along the streets, as a symbol of the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

There are no entrance fees to the Basilica but the church volunteers who guide you through the crypt and the church except some tips from you after the visit. My boyfriend gave to ours € 3.50. We would have given him more probably but we both had € 20.00 and not less. Since the crypt can be visited only with church volunteers we had to take the tour with one of them. He has been a good guide, he explained us all the details same like a master to his schoolchildren. We could appreciate the basilica more once known the details given by him. Anyways I can say that nothing will prepare the first time visitor for its magnificence interior. Obviously, it can’t be compared to St. Peter’s in Vatican but yet, in some terms, it remains an impressive achievement. Really worth a visit even if you are not to adore the Holy Blood. There are no scientific proofs that say it is a real Jesus Christ's blood but it is of course strongly believed. Together with the Holy Blood, also the famous artist Andrea Mantegna is buried here in the first small chapel on the left side of the nave. The basilica can’t be visited during the masses: from Monday to Friday there is a mass at 8 am and 10 am. During eves the mass is at 6.30 pm and on holydays there are three masses, one at 8.30 am, other one at 10.30 am and another one at 6.00 pm

Join the conversation!

  1. Great post.....more on the Holy city please

  2. I enjoyed reading this! Very informational. And you're good at telling about your experience that it felt like somehow, I've already been there. Haha Keep it up!

  3. I agree that Italy is simply unbeatable when it comes to churches. I still haven't been to St. Andrews, but what I have read now enthralled me. From this moment on, I will do my best to put Mantua on my 'to visit' list. The story behind the church is amazing. Plus, the pictures say it all. St. Andrews is a true gem, and Mantua is blessed to have a church like this one.


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