The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta was built on the remains of an earlier basilica from the 5th century within the perimeter of the Roman city.
In 1503, the bell tower was destroyed by Cesare Borgia, leading to the rebuilding and enlargement of the presbytery and apse. Another radical renovation began in 1865, which did not change the Romanesque façade built in the 13th century.
During this work, the extensive floor mosaic was discovered (approx. 900 square metres) spanning the entire church and dating back to the mid-6th century AD.
A basilica was also found more than a metre below the surface, identified as the early Christian cathedral. The 14th-century white stone portal is flanked by two lions from the 12th and 13th centuries, probably emblems of the Malatesta family. The interior of the church is in the shape of a Latin cross with three naves, seven altars and three chapels. In the right nave, one can admire the chapel of St Terence, where the relics of the saint and other patron saints of the city are kept, and a 14th-century fresco of Our Lady of the People. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament with marble remains of the ancient baptistery is in the left nave. The two chapels date back to 19th-20th century renovations.
Photo credit: Regione Marche