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Area:
  • 52,26 sq. km
Altitude:
  • 272 m a.s.l.
Population:
  • 11,040
Town Hall:
  • Piazza del Municipio, 1
  • 33013 - Gemona del Friuli (UD)
Neighbourhoods:
  • Campagnola, Campolessi, Godo, Maniaglia, Ospedaletto, Piovega, Taboga, Stalis
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One of the historic cities of Friuli, located along the ancient busy road that from Aquileia led to the Noricum, around the year 1000 it was mentioned by Paolo Diacono as already having its statute, ruled by a mandatary captain by the Patriarch of Aquileia provided with executive power and an elected council. It was so important that the Magnifica Communitas Terrae Glemonae ranked third in the “Parliament of the Friuli Homeland”. At the moment of its greatest splendour, the imposing duomo was erected (1290-1337) by sculptor-architect master Giovanni. It underwent remodelling and enlargements through the centuries, until it acquired a new visual dimension in the façade in the 1800s through responds. Seriously damaged during the 1976 earthquake, the duomo was saved by careful restoration. A strong wall above protects it from the landslides of Mount Glemine and offers not only the starting point for the city’s defensive structure but also the foundations for the campanile (1341-1369), destroyed by the earthquake and rebuilt “stone upon stone”. The duomo has a salient façade with three rose windows, the central one of which by master Buzeta (1334-36) is formed by two levels of radial small pilasters and two rings of interwoven arches, all enclosed in a decorative motif with vine branches. Below the string-course moulding, the original gallery with trefoil arches housesa attribuite a maestro nine statues portraying scenes of the Epiphany attributed to master Giovanni Griglio, who is also the author of the gigantic statue of St. Christopher (seven metres high). Numerous works of art decorate the duomo interior: a 9th-10th-century baptismal font with basreliefs derived from a Roman funerary altar of the 1st-2nd centuries AD; paintings by masters of Friulian school from the 16th to the 18th century; organ case doors with a Vision of Ezekiel, the Rape of Elias and Assumption of the Virgin (1575) bye, affreschi della metà del Trecento del G. B. Grassi; a remarkable wooden altarpiece by Andrea Moranzone dated 1391, with thirty-three episodes from the Testaments in bas-relief. In St. Michael’s sacellum are mid-14th-century frescoes by Nicolò di Giacomo from Gemona. In the former parsonage (Canonica) the Treasure of the duomo is kept, including exquisite pieces of jewellery (among which the famous monstrance by Nicolò Lionello, 1434), seven illuminated codes dating form the 14th century, the baptismal books – the most ancient in Europe – on which people baptized in Gemona have been registered since 1379, and liturgical fittings. The buildings fronting onto the picturesque via Bini leading to the duomo were all restored, in particular in the facades and typical architectural features, so that the street still retains its old original aspect with porticoes winding and buildings close to each other, provided with ancient portals and decorated (as in the case of Casa Antonelli) with interesting fragments of ancient frescoes. The Town Hall, built in 1502 by Bartolomeo de Caprileis called Boton, shows typical patterns of Venetian architecture with strong Lombard influences (three large arches on the ground-floor loggia and a small balcony on the upper floor). Destroyed and never rebuilt is the church of S. Maria delle Grazie: the numerous paintings it contained were moved to the Pinacoteca (among them, a Virgin with Child by Cima da Conegliano) or in other churches. The Sanctuary of S. Antonio was rebuilt, instead, and it might be considered the oldest sanctuary dedicated to the Saint: the primitive chapel, as shown in documents, was erected by the Saint himself in honour of Madonna delle Grazie around 1227 and consecrated to him in 1248, 17 years after his death and a few decades before the opening of the Padua Basilica. Inside, it preserves the ruins of the 13th-century chapel and fragments of Melchiorre Widmar’s frescoes (1682), who also executed two large paintings with Circumcision of Jesus and Adoration of the Magi. Renovated in its architecture, the result of a peculiar interweaving of innovation and formal tradition, after the 1976 earthquake which almost completely destroyed it, Gemona, in most of its new buildings, has witnessed the triumph of avant-garde, especially post-modern, architecture. The general reconstruction has, however, never slighted the memory of what already existed through the reintroduction of the original urban space-architectural elements ratio. In Ospedaletto, close to the neo-Gothic church of S. Spirito there used to stand the ancient 13th-century Hospice, built at the behest of Corrado Marzutto of the lords of Gemona and bishop of Trieste to welcome pilgrims; it then became the Priorato di Santo Spirito and now houses the parsonage. The small church of Ognissanti shows a delightful series of frescoes dating to the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th, including Christ in the Apocalypse, the Virgin and Saints and scenes from Christ’s Passion.

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