The initial design of the cathedral dates to the first half of the 1800s, by Bolognese architect Gaetano Ferri. The protracted nature of the work for over a century (beginning in 1847) required subsequent interventions and modifications so that the building could accommodate the constant growth of the seaside village population. The church was opened to the public in 1908, still incomplete. In fact, it was only after the war that the external staircase and Renaissance-style façade covered in Ascoli travertine were completed. In 1986, the building was elevated to Cathedral status. It also houses the 'Albo dei caduti civili del Mare', the list of seafarers from San Benedetto who lost their lives at work over the centuries.
The interior of the church has three naves. The apse houses a recent 400-square-metre fresco by Franciscan artist Father Ugolino da Belluno, depicting the city's seafaring traditions, together with representations of local saints. The church also houses an 18th-century painting of the Virgin of Victory with Child, relics of martyrs St Urbica and St Illuminato, a bas-relief sculpted by artist Aldo Sergiacomi and Baptism of Jesus by artist Armando Marchegiani.
Photo credit: Franco Cappellari