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The Angevins, a European dynasty: testimonies, settlements, relics



Charles I (early 1226/1227 – 7 January 1285), commonly called Charles of Anjou, was a member of the royal Capetian dynasty and the founder of the second House of Anjou. He was Count of Provence (1246–1285) and Forcalquier (1246–1248, 1256–1285) in the Holy Roman Empire, Count of Anjou and Maine (1246–1285) in France; he was also King of Sicily (1266–1285) and Prince of Achaea (1278–1285). In 1272, he was proclaimed King of Albania, and in 1277 he purchased a claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The youngest son of Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile, Charles was destined for a Church career until the early 1240s. He acquired Provence and Forcalquier through his marriage to their heiress, Beatrice. His attempts to restore central authority brought him into conflict with his mother-in-law, Beatrice of Savoy, and the nobility. Charles received Anjou and Maine from his brother, Louis IX of France, in appanage. He accompanied Louis during the Seventh Crusade to Egypt. Shortly after he returned to Provence in 1250, Charles forced three wealthy autonomous cities—Marseilles, Arles and Avignon—to acknowledge his suzerainty. Charles supported Margaret II, Countess of Flanders and Hainaut, against her eldest son, John, in exchange for Hainaut in 1253. Two years later Louis IX persuaded him to renounce the county, but compensated him by instructing Margaret to pay him 160,000 marks. Charles forced the rebellious Provençal nobles and towns into submission and expanded his suzerainty over a dozen towns and lordships in the Kingdom of Arles. In 1263, after years of negotiations, he accepted the offer of the Holy See to seize the Kingdom of Sicily from the Hohenstaufens. This kingdom included, in addition to the island of Sicily, southern Italy to well north of Naples and was known as the Regno. Pope Urban IV declared a crusade against the incumbent Manfred of Sicily and assisted Charles in raising funds for the military campaign. Charles was crowned king in Rome on 5 January 1266. He annihilated Manfred's army and occupied the Regno almost without resistance. His victory over Manfred's young nephew, Conradin, at the Battle of Tagliacozzo in 1268 strengthened his rule. In 1270 he took part in the Eighth Crusade organised by Louis IX, and forced the Hafsid Caliph of Tunis to pay a yearly tribute to him. Charles's victories secured his undisputed leadership among the Papacy's Italian partisans (known as Guelphs), but his influence on papal elections and his strong military presence in Italy disturbed the popes. They tried to channel his ambitions towards other territories and assisted him in acquiring claims to Achaea, Jerusalem and Arles through treaties. In 1281 Pope Martin IV authorised Charles to launch a crusade against the Byzantine Empire. Charles's ships were gathering at Messina, ready to begin the campaign when the Sicilian Vespers rebellion broke out on 30 March 1282 which put an end to Charles's rule on the island of Sicily. He was able to defend the mainland territories (or the Kingdom of Naples) with the support of France and the Holy See. Charles died while making preparations for an invasion of Sicily.


Angevins' family tree

The Château d'Angers

The castle of Angers, also known as the castle of the Dukes of Anjou, is located in the city of Angers in the Loire Valley, in the departement of Maine-et-Loire, in France. Founded in the 9th century by the Counts of Anjou, it was expanded to its current size in the 13th century. It overlooks the river Maine. The outer wall is 3 metres thick, extends for about 660 m and is protected by seventeen massive towers. Each of the perimeter towers measures 18 m in diameter. The château covers an area of 20,000 square metres. Two pairs of towers form the city and landward entrances of the château. Originally it was built as a fortress at a site inhabited by the Romans because of its strategic defensive location, but in the 9th century, the Bishop of Angers gave the Counts of Anjou permission to build a castle in Angers. The construction of the first castle begun under Count Fulk III (970–1040), who built it to protect Anjou from the Normans. It became part of the Angevin Empire of the Plantagenet Kings of England during the 12th century. In 1204, the region was conquered by Philip II and the new castle was constructed during the minority of his grandson, Louis IX ("Saint Louis") in the early part of the 13th century. Louis IX rebuilt the castle in whitestone and black slate, with 17 semicircular towers. Then Louis gave the castle to his brother, Charles in 1246. In 1352, King John II le Bon, gave the castle to his second son, Louis, who later became count of Anjou. Married to the daughter of the wealthy Duke of Brittany, Louis had the castle modified, and in 1373 commissioned the famous Apocalypse Tapestry. Louis II (Louis I's son) and Yolande d'Aragon added a chapel (1405–12) and royal apartments to the complex. In the early 15th century, the castle hosted the dauphin who would become King Charles VII. Later, in the 16th century, Catherine de' Medici had the castle restored as a powerful fortress, but, her son, Henry III, reduced the height of the towers and used the castle stones to build streets and develop the village of Angers. Today, owned by the City of Angers, the massive castle is a museum housing the oldest and largest collection of medieval tapestries in the world, with the 14th-century "Apocalypse Tapestry".

In a dimly lit modern gallery in the basement of the castle of Angers stands the mesmerizing Apocalypse Tapestry commissioned by Louis I, the Duke of Anjou, in the late 14th century, around 1373. It is a large medieval set of six tapestries, woven in Paris between 1377 and 1382, which depict, through 90 scenes, the story of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation by Saint John the Divine in colourful images. The interwoven tapestries were originally about six metres high and 140 metres long in total. This is the most famous tapestry from the 14th century, a period when tapestry was the most used kind of art to celebrate the magnificence of royal patrons. In 1480 the tapestry was given by a later Duke of Anjou to Angers Cathedral and it was partly destroyed and dispersed during the French Revolution. Fortunately it was recovered and restored in the 19th century by a canon of the cathedral and is now on display at the Chateau d'Angers, representing one of French cultural heritage masterpieces. The tapestry, that was designed by Jean Bondol, also known as Jean de Bruges, a Flemish artist at the court of Anjou's brother Charles V of France, shows the story of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation by Saint John focusing on the heroic aspects of the last conflict between good and evil and featuring battle scenes between angels and beasts. It is dominated by blue, red and ivory coloured threads, supported by orange and green colours, with gilt and silver woven into the wool and silk. The figure of St John is present in almost all of the panels. The work depicts the seven seals, seven golden candlesticks, seven angels and seven trumpets and, of course, the four horsemen, who are released by the opening of the first four seals. One of the most beautiful images, after all the blood and fury, is that of John on the point of walking up the river of life into the new Jerusalem. The house of Anjou is promoted through its coat of arms: the fleur-de-lys symbolises a resurgent France in its battles with the English. The tapestry took nine years to be completed and it was rarely shown. It was only exhibited for special occasions such as the marriage of Louis’s son, Louis II of Anjou, to Yolande of Aragon at Arles in 1400.

The Apocalypse Tapestry

The Apocalypse Tapestry



Angers Cathedral The Angevin dynasty reached its height with Henry II. The dynasty had risen through ruthless expansion and strategic marriages, until it was the dominant power reaching from the British Isles to the West of France. Angers, in the Maine-et-Loire department of north-west France, was the centre of this powerful empire. Angers Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of St. Maurice, is the first example of the Angevin gothic style (also known as Plantagenet gothic style) to be built in France. It is a catholic church that was built at the beginning of the 11th century by Bishop Hubert de Vendôme as a single-nave Romanesque cathedral and it was consacrated on August 16th, 1025. When it had just been finished, the building burned down in 1032. The Bishop of Angers, Geoffroy de Tours, and then his successors, Normand de Doué and Renaud de Martigny decided to reconstuct the cathedral. The original romanesque cathedral underwent a remarkable transformation in the mid-12th century, largely under the direction of Guillaume de Beaumont, the Bishop of Angers from 1203 to 1240. The external facade shows the three different periods of the construction of the cathedral. The lower portions are Romanesque, with thick walls, rounded arches, a Romanesque portal and a central window. The Angevin gothic features can be spotted clearly while looking at two slender spires, with rich decorations and a delicate dissymetry. The western Portal is profusely decorated with carvings; during a cleaning intervention in 2009 the remains of vivid polychromic decoration were found and, according to detailed analysis, it has been established that these oldest polychrome remains date from the 12th century. Entering the cathedral, we can see how a new church was built on the base of an earlier one: in fact, at the top of the Romanesque lower walls new walls and vaults were constructed in the Angevin variation of Gothic architecture, which took its name from the historic province of Anjou, a fiefdom of the French crown. The vaults were composed of high crossing ribs, supported by rows of clustered columns and pillars in the nave below. This allowed the construction of very large windows on the upper walls between the ribs, filling the interior with light. The stained glass windows represent another important element in the structure of he cathedral: they partly dates from the 12th century, others were destroyed during the WWII and then rebuilt. There are two imposing rose windows and 36 others in the cathedral. The north rose window shows Christ displaying his wounds to remind visitors of his suffering for Mankind, and the south rose window shows Christ on His throne, representing a renewal of the world. The rose window in the south transept is divided in 24 sections: the twelve upper ones illustrate the signs of the zodiac, the lower ones show twelve Angers city elders. The rebuilding of the nave was followed by that of the choir and the new transept. The choir followed a similar design as the nave, with the grand arches replaced by large blind arches topped with a narrow passageway, now decorated with a wrought-iron railing, below the large windows of the upper level. The arches are taller and more slender than those of the nave, and the decoration more stylised. In 1806, a monumental porch that stood in front of the facade of the cathedral, was destroyed. This porch, in the Angevin Gothic style, placed in front of the entrance gate, had two levels. What remains today is four pointed arches, the only witnesses of the old medieval porch. There were various projects for reconstruction, but none of them was realized.

St Maurice Cathedral, Angers

  • the altar

  • stained glass

  • pulpit

  • a relic

Plessis-Macé castle

Originally built in 13th Century, this black slate and shale fortification stands on the outskirts of Angers, exactly in the village of Plessis-Macé in Longuenée-en-Anjou which belongs to the Maine-et-Loire Departement. It hosted several French kings. The first fortification was a motte-and-bailey castle, that is a fortress with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised area of ground called a motte, accompanied by a walled courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade. It was built probably in the 11th century by a Macé or Mathieu de Plessis or his father, and it was rebuilt in stone not much later. Around 1300 it passed to the La Haye-Joulain family. In 1434 Catherine de La Haye-Joulain, wife of Geoffroy de Beaumont, donated the castle to Louis II de Beaumont-Bressuire. Louis was either their son or a cousin of Geoffroy and was a faithful knight and chamberlain of king Louis XI of France, the son of Marie of Anjou. The castle was transformed by Louis de Beaumont into a grand country home during the 15th century, at the beginning of Renaissance, after it had been partly destroyed during the Hundred Years War. The Beaumonts hosted the kings Louis XI (1472) and Charles VIII (1487) at the castle. The château features a flamboyant gothic style that can be seen in its impressive tufa stone balcony and chapel (containing a rare gothic tribune). It is possible to appreciate the contrast between the elegant stately residence and the remains of the medieval fortress with well-preserved towers and a beautiful facade which is decorated with carved arches and balconies. Today the castle is run by the Anjou-Theatre, a public cultural institution, and it is venue for the annual theatrical Festival of Anjou and other cultural events.



Castel Nuovo (New Castle), also known as Maschio angioino (the Angevin Keep), is a medieval castle located in front of Piazza Municipio and the city hall (Palazzo San Giacomo) in central Naples. Its scenic location and imposing size makes the castle, first erected in 1279, one of the main architectural landmarks of the city. It was a royal seat for kings of Naples, Aragon and Spain until 1815. Named Castel Nuovo (New Castle) to distinguish it from the city's other fortresses, the construction of its former nucleus is due to Charles I of Anjou, who in 1266, defeated the Hohenstaufens, ascended to the throne of Sicily and established the transfer of the capital from Palermo to the city of Naples. The royal residence of Naples had been until then the Castel Capuano, but the Norman ancient fortress was judged as inadequate to the function by the Angevin king who wanted to build a new castle near the sea. The construction of the Castrum Novum started in 1279 and finished just three years later, a very short time considering the techniques of construction of the period and the overall size of the work. However, the king never lived there and the new palace remained unused until 1285, the year of the death of Charles I. Castel Nuovo has five round towers united by impenetrable stone walls. Its main entrance is an intricately carved white marble triumphal arch squeezed between two of the watchtowers.

The Palatin chapel, or "Santa Barbara" is the only surviving element of the Angevin family. It was damaged by an earthquake that struck the city in 1456 and subsequently restored. The Palatine Chapel overlooks the sea and is accessible through an extraordinary Renaissance portal, which gives way to a single and long nave with Gothic characters. The chapel was entirely frescoed by Giotto with scenes from the Old and New Testaments, of which few fragments remain today in the glances of the windows. In addition, there are many statues that remain wonderful examples of the Neapolitan Renaissance, for example the Tabernacle with the Madonna and Child by Domenico Gagini, a pupil of Donatello and Brunelleschi. Today, the nave and sacristy are used as a museum exhibiting paintings, furniture and precious sculptures from the Neapolitan Renaissance.

Upstairs, there is the Hall of the Barons, the Sala Maior (Main room) of the Angevin castle. It was commissioned by Robert of Anjou, known as the Wise, the patron king who welcomed to his court artists and writers like Boccaccio and Petrarch. Here, too, Giotto immortalized his genius, decorating the walls with representations of the heroes of antiquity (Aeneas, Solomon, Paris, Hercules, Achilles, Caesar, Alexander). Historically the castle's Throne Room, it is used today to host the city council meetings and cultural events.


Santa Chiara is a religious complex in Naples that includes the Church of Saint Clare, a monastery, the cloister, tombs and an archeological museum. History This Cathedral was built during the Angevin period, between 1313 and 1340, by Queen Sancha of Majorca and her husband King Robert of Naples (Robert the Wise). Devoted patrons of the Franciscan Order, Robert and Sancha built an unusual double convent to house both nuns of the Order of the Poor Clares and monks of the Order of Franciscan Friars and they dedicated the church to Santa Chiara, Clare of Assisi. The original church was built in a simple Gothic style, with the typical Neapolitan yellow tufa, but it was decorated in Baroque style by the Neapolitan painter Domenico Antonio Vaccaro in the 17th century. However, after being seriously damaged during the 2nd World War, a long and controversial renovation work restored the church to its original Gothic splendor. A small part of a fresco still remains from the medieval decoration attributed to Giotto.

Description The entrance on Via Benedetto Croce is made of a large 14th century Gothic portal. The double slope facade is preceded by a portico with three pointed arches.To the left of the church, stands the bell tower of the 14th century, later restored in a Baroque style. The church has the plan of a large and long rectangular nave with nine lateral chapels on each side of that single nave. The roofs of the chapels are vaulted and they support the gallery that runs the length of the nave. Above the gallery the lancet windows of the clerestory give light to the nave. An unusual feature of the building is that the lateral chapels are absorbed into the body of the church, giving Santa Chiara’s church its distinctive rectangular appearance. Another unusual feature of the building is the fact that the church does not have an apse: after the lateral chapels there is a section of the church with the high altar in the centre, flanked by the rectangular friars’ choirs on either side. Behind the altar there is the tomb of King Robert, and behind that a wall separates the main body of the church from the nuns' choir. There are also four windows in the wall which mirror the four windows on the external wall of the church. There is a large stained glass lancet window above the altar. Above that there are three rose windows. A fourth, smaller, rose window is located in the roof, above the level of the wooden beams of the ceiling. Several tombs of the Angevins and other monarchs are sheltered in the church with Robert the Wise’s one: those of Charles of Calabria, Mary of Valois, Mary of Durazzo, and of the Bourbon kings of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand I and Francis II. The fine cloister outside the church is richly decorated with majolica tiles and it is a pure gem of the 18th century, designed by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. He left the original medieval plan of the cloister with its pointed arches but redesigning parts of it, adding two wide paths in the middle, the fine majolica decorations on the pillars with motifs of vine shoots and wisteria twisting up, flowers, lemons, while the seats are decorated with scenes of the city and country life in the eighteenth century.


Castel Sant’Elmo Castel Sant'Elmo (Saint Elmo castle) is a medieval fortress located on Vomero Hill, not far from the area of San Martino, in Naples. From its terraces (its place-of-arms, precisely) it offers a breathtaking view of the city of Naples and its Gulf. The name "Sant'Elmo" derives from the 10th-century church on whose base it was built, dedicated to Sant'Erasmo, then shortened to "Ermo" and, finally altered to "Elmo". The date of foundation is unknown, but the first historical references date back to 1275, when the Normans built a tower called Belforte on the top of a sacred building, the church of St. Erasmus, because it was the highest place in the city. In 1325 Charles I of Anjou decided to expand this tower, therefore it gradually became a fortress. The building, whose architectural features from a distance resemble those of the Castel dell’Ovo, was one of the city’s fortifications and was used above all to protect it from invasions from the sea. The Angevin fortress was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1456, which demolished the external walls and the towers. The Aragonese rulers of Naples, and notably Don Pedro de Toledo, the first governor and cousin of the Viceroy, included it in a comprehensive scheme designed to fortify the land perimeter of the city, based on four separate strongholds. “Castel Sant'Erasmo” acquired, then, its hexagonal star shape between 1537 and 1547. In 1538 a commemorative inscription was placed above the entrance gate, surmounted by Charles V's coat of arms and the two-headed Imperial eagle. The building underwent several restorations and changes over the centuries but, despite successive rebuildings, it conserves its original structure. Built of volcanic tufa, it overlords over Naples, and, for centuries, it was a symbol and bastion of government oppression. The fortress, that became a prison in 1952, now serves as a museum, exhibition hall and offices.

National Museum of Capodimonte – Naples

Saint Louis of Toulouse crowning his brother Robert of Anjou (tempera on wood, 250 x 18 cm) is a painting by Simone Martini, commissioned by Robert of Anjou during the artist’s stay in Naples around 1317. It is now in the National Museum of Capodimonte in Naples. The painting is of particular relevance to the Neapolitan historical and political context as it shows Robert being crowned by his elder brother Louis of Toulouse, who was later made Saint. Louis, son of Charles II of Anjou, had abdicated in favour of his brother Robert in 1296, in order to enter the Franciscan Order and he was canonized in 1317, shortly before the creation of that painting. The painting was, therefore, considered and presented by the new king, Robert of Anjou, as a kind of political manifesto that legitimised his power.

The Angevins in Aversa - Joanna and Andrew’s castle

The town of Aversa was founded by the Normans around the years 1022 - 1038. Rainulfo Drengot was its first Earl. Thanks to his brilliant policy and to his noble successors, Aversa gradually turned from a little borgo into a small capital and an important city which also became the base from which the Normans forged a state in Sicily and Italy. After the Norman and Swabian domination, Aversa was conquered by the Angevins, mainly becoming a hunting area. It was especially loved by the queen Joanna I of Naples and, in fact, the Angevins often lived in the Royal castle, of which no visible ruins remain and in its place, today, in Via Roma, in Aversa’s historic centre, there is the Parish Church of Madonna di Casaluce. Joanna I and Andrew of Hungary’s decision to settle in the Norman castle, that was choosen as their own residence, fostered a demographic and economic growth in the county and the fortress also became a strategic defensive structure of remarkable importance. It was just in that castle that one of the most bloody events of the XIV century happened: some Neapolitan noblemen, led by Charles of Durrës, who was aspiring to the throne of Naples, threw Joanna’s husband, Andrew of Hungary, from a window with a rope around his neck. The murder didn’t remain unpunished: Andrew’s brother, King Louis I of Hungary, head of the Capetian House of Anjou, marched into Italy and stopped in Aversa where he took his vengeance during a specious banquet of reconciliation. Joanna, who had probably taken part in the conspiracy against her husband, escaped to Avignon. The noblemen that had been invited to the banquet were arrested and, some of them, executed. Charles of Durres was hung from the same window he had used to kill the young Hungarian prince. It is to be said, anyway, that the presence of the Angevin court in Aversa enriched it with several buildings, among which churches (St. Nicholas’ church, St. Louis of the French’s Church), monasteries and the Real Casa dell'Annunziata (about 1315), an orphanage, and then a hospital, that played an important role in Aversan public life.

In the “Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian” by A. Arcuccio (XV century) it is possible to see, in the distance on the left, the castle as it was in that time A detail of the painting that shows the castle. What remains of the castle today in Aversa, near the Church of Madonna di Casaluce.

It is probably one of the most ancient churches in Aversa, built between the XI and XII centuries. The church was partly destroyed in 1135, when Aversa was attacked by Ruggero II of Sicily, but it was restored during the Angevin period, by Charles II of Anjou, who preserved the original structure, adding the emblem of the Angevin dynasty, the lilies, that are visible on the keystone under the first bay of the central nave.In gothic style, the church in divided into three naves, with round and pointed arches resting on pillars in yellow tufa, and a presbytery topped by a dome that dates back to the 19° century. In the central nave, larger than the lateral ones, different structures can be recognised: the first half of the nave is featured by pointed arches which support two groin vaults of Angevin origin. On the intersection point of the ribs of each vault it is possible to see a circular keystone, one of them shows the image of the Agnus Dei, the other one the Angevin coat of arms. Features of the lateral naves are pointed arches, dating from several periods, resting on octagonal columns in yellow tufa. The Angevin areas are lighted by pointed-arched windows.

Saint Nicholas’ church

The church of St. Louis of the French (today, St Domenico’s church)

It was founded by Charles I of Anjou in 1278, it was built on the ruins of another ancient church, St. Antonino (the king also wanted a convent to be built there, later), and it was completed by Charles II, Charles I’s son, who devoted it to his uncle Louis IX, who had been king of the French and then was made saint in 1297. The new monumental complex included the little Norman church of St Antonino, with the kind permission of the bishop of Aversa, Leonardo Patrasso, a close friend of the Angevin monarchs. The XIV century origin of the church can be seen in the apse, in a big window that opens between two quadrangular buttresses and in some basements of the convent featured with lobed single lancet windows (single-light windows). The original plan of the church was that of a large rectangular room, but in 1742 the monastic Order decided to carry out a radical restoration work and assigned the architect Filippo Raguzzini to lead it. On the tympanum there is, still today, St. Louis statue.

Castle of Casaluce, near Aversa

The castle of Casaluce, a little town in the outskirts of Caserta, was built in a wooded area between the cities of Aversa and Capua. That site, that was higher than the surrounding territories, was considered extremely strategic and it already housed a Roman settlement along Via Campana, a street that connected Capua and Pozzuoli. We only have uncertain information about its foundation, but it probably dates back to the beginning of the XI century. Some reports attribute its building to Rainulfo Drengot, some others cite Robert Guiscard. It was destroyed for the first time in 1135, when Ruggero II of Sicily invaded Aversa and also fought against all the rebel feuds in the surroundings. Once abandoned, then, the castle underwent the same fate of the town of Aversa: it came under the Swabian rule, at first, and under the Angevins’ one, later. The Angevins restored and modified the Norman structure of the castle, giving it the aspect it still has today, even in its ruins.

Saint Francis of the Nuns - Aversa

The conventual complex of St. Francis of the Nuns was founded, under the Swabian rule, around the year 1230 by Altrude and Margherita Rebursa, noble women of Aversa, in the area of Saint'Andrew, near the Castle of Riccardo Rebursa. When Conrad of Swabia was defeated by Charles I of Anjou, in 1268, the convent became an Angevin possession. Charles I wanted the demolition of the Norman walls and the expansion of the city with the inclusion of new territories. And he also was determined to destroy anything that was linked to the Rebursa family, even the monasteries they had founded, like St. Francis of the Nuns. Charles I of Anjou was succeded by his son Charles II, whose accession to the throne marked a change in the policy within the reign of Naples. He carried out a remarkable restoration and reconstruction work for the Mendicant Orders of Dominicans and Franciscans and, between 1304 and 1306, he also financed the enlargement of the monastery of St. Francis of the Nuns. As regards the architectural structure, the convent shows different features and styles according to the different dominations that succeded in the area. The church plan in the XIII century was that of a large rectangular room with a cross-vaulted ceiling in the presbytery area, typical of the Franciscan architecture and similar to all the religious monuments built by Charles II of Anjou in the kingdom of Naples. The Angevin features are still recognizable in the the cloister, especially in the lancet vaults and pointed arches in the Eastern, Southern and Northern ambulatory. In the Northern ambulatory it is also possible to spot the symbol of the Angevin dynasty in the capitals of the columns, which show a stylised lily. The remains of some frescoes in the cloister seem to depict a non-unitary narrative cycle, but a close analysis of the depictions reveals that the episodes represented relate to Saint Clare, Saint Francis of Assisi, the Virgin Mary and other religious characters. Stylistic comparisons of pictorial works from central and southern Italy in the Angevin period, together with the inscriptions in Gothic/Angevin characters found in other frescoes on the walls of the cloister, have led to state that the author of these works can be identified as an Angevin painter.

Duomo of San Lorenzo-Scala

The Cathedral of Scala is dedicated to San Lorenzo who is also the patron saint of the coastal town. Built in the 11th century, it was modified in Baroque times but has maintained the medieval crypt, the Angevin sepulchre of Marinella Rufolo, an important episcopal mitre and a Crucifix from the 13th century. The interior is made up of three naves divided by round arches resting on the pillars; the bell tower is quite massive and has three levels. The size of the Cathedral, compared to the surrounding square, testifies the importance that Scala had in the past, especially within the Duchy of Amalfi. In this period several workshops opened and in some of them gold was worked thanks to the Byzantine and especially Arab influence. It is just in the Duomo of Scala that an ancient silver chalice from the 14th century and a bishop's headdress, the mitre, are thoroughly hosted. The precious mitre was donated by Charles of Anjou on the day of Saint Lawrence to celebrate the victory over the Saracens in 1270. The facade is rather dark and contrasts with the white internal walls characterized by a rather simple but very elegant style, typical of Italian rococo. The white walls exalt by contrast the colourful canvases on the ceiling that depict episodes from Saint Lawrence’s life and martyrdom. The majolica floor is of great beauty and at the height of the transept there is a painted grill, surrounded by angels and flowers, that is the symbol of Sain t Lawrence’s martyrdom. It dates back to 1853. On the floor, in the middle of the central nave, there is a big painted rose with a lion and a ladder, symbols of the city of Scala. It is possible to notice that the lion has a lily in one of his paws, the emblem of the Angevin dynasty. The Duomo is built on three levels as there are two crypts: the Crypt of Paradise and the Crypt of Purgatory. The Crypt of Purgatory was discovered by chance only in 1958 and is located between the Crypt of Paradise and the Duomo. At the time of the discovery, many human bones were found there. The Crypt of Paradise is in Gothic style and differs from the low and quite dark Crypts of the other Cathedrals of the Amalfi coast because, thanks to the very high cross vaults, it is very well-lit. On the central altar there is a wooden Christ that dates back to the second half of the 13th century. It represents the deposition of Jesus from the Cross and, thanks to a recent restoration, its colours have reacquired the original brightness. In the Crypt of Paradise there is another ancient monument: Marinella Rufolo’s tomb. It is a Gothic monument with a double slope, adorned with spiers and embellished with marble bas-reliefs. In 1300 the marriage between Antonio Coppola and Marinella Rufolo was celebrated in the Cathedral of Saitn Lawrence: Antonio was a member of the Coppola family from Scala and Marinella was a member of the Rufolo family from Ravello. It is said that the wedding was organized for political reasons and to smooth out the conflicts between the two most important families of Ravello and Scala, even though, after the wedding, the newlyweds deeply fell in love with each other.


Neapolitan manufacture 13th century; 14th century gold, silver, gems, glass pastes, fabric, beads, enamels de plique on gold, opaque enamels on silver champlevè, translucent enamels It is considered the most valuable European middle ages mitre. The bottom is decorated with about 19,330 Eastern pearls that describe foliage motifs of Gothic elegance. The mitre is decorated all around (in titulo and in circulo) with gold plates, bearing cabochon gems surrounded by other small gems and pearls. On the back there are three golden quadrilobes with enamels de plique, decorated with delicate vegetal elements that, together with rectangular and square filigree plates, can be stylistically attributed to Sicilian workshops for goldsmiths of the 13th century. The small lilies on the crest of the mitre and comparisons with Saint Louis of Touluse’s mitre in a painting by Simone Martini in Museum of Capodimonte allow us to state that the mitre must have been made in an atelier of the Angevin court, commissioned by Chales II of Anjou in 1297, when Ludwig was appointed Bishop of Toulouse. Other sources claim that the mitre was commissioned by Amalfi’s Bishop Andrea de Alaneo (1294-1319) who wanted it in Gothic style, but reusing the Sicilian plates of Norman origin that once had decorated an ancient mitre, which no longer exists, commissioned by Bishop Filippo Augustariccio.

Marinella Rufolo’s tomb

It is situated in the crypt of Scala Cathedral and is a sepulchral monument in stucco and masonry with a canopy. It displays the emblems of the Rufolo and Coppola families (diagonal stripes with three lilies for the former, a chalice with an “A” for the latter). The canopy structure recalls the royal Angevin tombs created according to the model created by Tino da Camaino, who built sepulcral monuments for the Angevin queens and princesses too (Mary of Valois, Catherine of Austria and Mary of Hungary). The monument is composed of three parts: a sarcophagus in the middle, a large canopy and a back wall decorated with reliefs. The sarcophagus is surmonted by an effigy representing Marinella Rufolo, now damaged in some parts, which shows the woman with joined hands and two little dogs at her feet. The front side is decorated with bas-reliefs representing Saint Anthony Abbot, the Virgin Mary with the Holy Child and Saint Nicholas from Bari. The two columns that support the canopy extend upwards creating two spires decorated with floral motifs and the edges of the canopy are decorated with lilies. On the highest part of the canopy there is a capital supporting a little statue representing Moses. The front wall is decorated with bas-reliefs representing Marian moments like the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin Mary.

Amalfi Cathedral

One of the highlights of the Amalfi Coast and one of Italy finest churches, Amalfi cathedral is located in Piazza del Duomo in the centre of Amalfi. The beautiful Roman Catholic Cathedral is dedicated to the Apostle Saint Andrew whose remains are housed in the Crypt after being brought to Amalfi from Constantinople in 1206.

Cloister of Paradise

Chapel of Crucifixion



The Congress of Cracow The Congress took place in Cracow around September 22–27, 1364. It was a meeting of monarchs initiated by King Casimir III the Great of Poland. The pretext for calling the meeting was probably a proposed anti-Ottoman crusade, but the Congress was actually concerned mostly with European diplomacy issues, such as the balance of power in central Europe and negotiating a common response to the Turkish threat through the project of a central European league of states. A lot of monarchs joined the Congress, among these there were Peter I of Cyprus, who tried to persuade a dozen European monarchs to join the crusade, Louis I of Hungary, father of Jadwiga, and Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. One of the issues discussed was the ratification of the peace treaty involving Louis I and Charles IV that was arbitrated by Casimir III and Bolko II. Another important issue was the Angevin succession to the Polish throne; in fact, in that occasion, Casimir III of Poland confirmed Louis' right to succeed him in Poland if he died without a male heir. The Congress, which took place in what today is known as Market Square, was intended as a manifestation of the Polish king's power and wealth and echoed throughout Europe. It included a famous banquet at the house of the Cracow merchant Mikołaj Wierzynek, which was organised by the city Council. An important source is a poem of Guillaume de Machaut, who described the banquet in Wierzynek's house.

The Battle of Grunwald The Battle of Grunwald was fought on 15 July 1410 during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War. The alliance of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led respectively by King Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila), and Grand Duke Vytautas, defeated the German knights of the Teutonic Order, a crusading military order, led by Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen. The order had created, by the beginning of the XIV century, a strong feudal state that governed not only Prussia but also the eastern Baltic lands. That expansion and increasing power aroused the hostility of both Poland, whose access to the Baltic Sea had been cut off, and Lithuania, whose territory the knights continued to menace despite Lithuania’s conversion to Christianity in 1387 with Władysław II Jagiełło’s marriage with Jadwiga. Consequently, when a rebellion broke out against the order in Samogitia (1408), Poland and Lithuania joined forces and decisively defeated the knights at Grunwald (1410). Most of the Teutonic Order's leadership were killed or taken prisoner. The battle shifted the balance of power in Central and Eastern Europe: the Teutonic Knights never regained their dominance and Poland-Lithuania became the major power in eastern Europe. However, despite the scale of their victory, the Polish-Lithuanian army failed to take Marienberg, the main residence of the order’s grand master, and peace was made the following year on mild terms.

University of Cracow It was founded on 12 May 1364 by the Polish king Casimir the Great and it comprised three faculties: of liberal arts, medicine and law. After the king's death, the University ceased to exist, but Queen Jadwiga, who died in 1399, contributed to its restoration. Władysław-Jogaila and Jadwiga jointly asked Pope Boniface IX to sanction the establishment of a faculty of theology in Cracow. The pope granted their request on 11 January 1397. Jadwiga bought houses along a central street of Cracow for the university and left a considerable portion of her private estate and her personal jewllery to the University in her last will. The University's structure was already complete in 1397, with the formal establishment of the faculty of theology. However, the faculty was only set up a year after Jadwiga's death: Władysław-Jogaila issued the charter for the reestablished university on 26 July 1400. The University, located in the then capital of the Kingdom of Poland, never again interrupted its educational and scholarly activity. Not only does it constitute a symbol of continuity of the Polish state, but also places Cracow among the most important educational centres in the country.

The Wawel Royal Castle Little is known of the first royal residences at the Wawel until Casimir III the Great, who reigned from 1333 until 1370, had a Gothic castle erected next to the cathedral; this consisted of multiple structures situated around a central courtyard. In the 14th century, it was rebuilt by King Władysław II Jagiełło (also known as Jogaila) and Queen Jadwiga of Poland.

IT is a fortified residence on the Vistula River in Cracow, and the Wawel Hill on which it sits constitute the most historically and culturally significant site in Poland. It was enlarged over the centuries into a number of structures around an Italian-styled courtyard. It represents nearly all European architectural styles of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Queen Jadwiga of Poland

Jadwiga (1373 or 1374 – 17 July 1399) was the first woman to be crowned as monarch of the Kingdom of Poland. She reigned from 16 October 1384 until her death. She was the youngest daughter of Louis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, and his wife, Elizabeth of Bosnia. Jadwiga was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou. In 1375, it was planned that when becoming old enough, she would marry William of Austria and she lived in Vienna from 1378 to 1380. However, when Louis died, the Polish nobility didn’t accept Mary, first daughter of Louis and wife of Sigismund of Luxembourg, as their monarch and stated that they would be obedient to a daughter of King Louis only if she settled in Poland. Queen Elizabeth then chose Jadwiga to reign in Poland, but did not send her to Cracow to be crowned. During the interregnum, Siemowit IV, Duke of Masovia, became a candidate for the Polish throne. The nobility of Greater Poland favored him and proposed that he marry Jadwiga. However, Lesser Poland's nobility opposed him, and they persuaded Queen Elizabeth to send Jadwiga to Poland. Jadwiga was crowned king in Poland's capital, Cracow, on 16 October 1384. Her coronation either reflected the Polish nobility's opposition to her intended husband, William, becoming king without further negotiation, or simply, emphasized her status as the monarch. With her mother's consent, Jadwiga's advisors opened negotiations with Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who was still a pagan, concerning his potential marriage to Jadwiga. Jogaila signed the Union of Krewo, pledging to convert to Catholicism and to promote conversion of his pagan subjects. Jogaila, who took the Catholic baptismal name Władysław, married Jadwiga on 15 February 1386. Legend says that she had agreed to marry him only after lengthy prayer, seeking divine inspiration. Jogaila, now styled in Polish as Władysław Jagiełło, was crowned King of Poland on 4 March 1386 as Jadwiga's co-ruler and he worked closely with his wife in that role. After her sister Mary died in 1395, Jadwiga and Jogaila laid claim to Hungary against the widowed Sigismund of Luxembourg, but the Hungarian lords did not support their claim and Sigismund easily retained his Hungarian throne. Jadwiga died four years later due to postpartum complications.

The cult of St. Queen Jadwiga Jadwiga's cultural and charitable activities were of exceptional value. She was known for her piety, great generosity and care for the poor and the sick. She was also benefactor of many monasteries and she established new hospitals, schools and churches, and restored older ones. In her last will she left her private property to the Cracow Academy, which she had founded, and which was later renamed Jagiellonian University. Jadwiga promoted the use of vernacular in church services, especially the singing of hymns in Polish. The Scriptures were translated into Polish on her order. Her cult began short after her death and history notes many cases of healings and miracles performed by her intercession.

Władysław II Jagiello’s tombstone

Legends about Jadwiga Among the numerous legends about her miracles the two best-known are those of "Jadwiga's cross" and "Jadwiga's foot": Jadwiga often prayed before a large black crucifix hanging in the north aisle of Wawel Cathedral. During one of these prayers, the Christ on the cross is said to have spoken to her. The crucifix, "Saint Jadwiga's cross", is still there, with her relics beneath it. Because of this event, she is considered a medieval mystic. According to another legend, Jadwiga took a piece of jewellery from her foot and gave it to a poor stonemason who had begged for her help. When the king left, he noticed her footprint in the plaster floor of his workplace, even though the plaster had already hardened before her visit. The supposed footprint, known as "Jadwiga's foot", can still be seen on a stone on an outside wall of the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On 8 June 1979 Pope John Paul II prayed at her sarcophagus; and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments officially affirmed her beatification on 8 August 1986. The Pope went on to canonize Jadwiga in Kraków on 8 June 1997. In the 19th century, with the rise in patriotism, the cult of Queen Jadwiga of Poland also increased in popularity, as she was not only identified with Christian ideals, but also considered a personification of Poland’s glorious past. Jadwiga’s footprint

Jadwiga’s burial place St. Jadwiga’s remains were exhumated several times. When she died she was buried in the chancel of the Wawel Cathedral, to the north of the base on which the main altar is situated. Some centuries later, also due to restoration works, some artists were asked to make models for a new sarchofagus for Queen Jadwiga. In 1900 a new sarchofagus was designed and carved in Rome by Antoni Madeyski, it was made of Carrara white marble and according to Italian reinassance style. Jadwiga’s remains were taken there in 1949 and a plaque with the inscription “Translata 14 –VII A.D. 1949” was put in the original location of the queen’s burial. Another exhumation of the queen’s remains took place in 1987 when their status as relics was confirmed by the Church. They were transferred into a new reliquary made of bronze and placed in a niche cut at the base of the Crucified Jesus altar where Jadwiga used to pray during her lifetime. Reliquary of St Queen Jadwiga at the base of the Crucifix in the Wawel Cathedral



Known as the castle of Visegrád, the complex peaking on the top of the Várhegy, is the most emblematic building of Visegrád. The whole Citadel is the highest sight of Visegrád, it has an extraordinary view on the Danube Bend from its terrace and hosts many exciting exhibitions – mainly about the Middle Ages. Located 40 km North of Budapest, on the right bank of the Danube, the double castle system was built by Béla IV, after the Tartar invasion, between 1249 and 1256, from the dowry of his wife, Queen Mary of Laszkarisz. The first part of the new system was the Upper Castle, a fortress on top of a high hill. The castle was laid out on a triangular ground plan and had three towers at its corners. At the beginning of the 14th century, at the time of the Angevin kings of Hungary, the castle became a royal residence and was enlarged with a new curtain wall and palace buildings: Charles Robert I (Caroberto of Anjou) built a three-level palace on the East side of the Upper castle. The Anjou sovereign, who came from Naples but was a relative of the Arpàd-House, moved the royal seat to Visegràd which became the capital of Hungary. The king also placed the Holy Crown in the keep of the castle thus determining the role of the Upper Castle as for 200 – intermittently - years the royal insigna were kept there until 1529. Around 1400, during the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg, the castle was further modernised: the king had a third curtain wall built and enlarged the palace buildings. The Women’s House was completed too, providing the ladies of the court with a residence that was considered modern at the time. The Citadel was connected to the Lower Castle with a high stone wall that went all the way down to the bank of the Danube, ending in a watchtower, the Solomon Tower. At the end of the 15th century, King Matthias Corvinus had the interior renovated. Visegrád Castle provided the venue for the famous Royal Summit of Kings in 1335: the Czech, Polish and Hungarian kings met there to set a political and economic alliance, and thus the name The Visegrád Four (Slovakia becoming the fourth after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia) was born.

The castle of Visegrád – The Citadel

Permanent exibition

View from the castle on the river Danube

Solomon Tower on the bank of the Danube

View while going up to the castle

Stairs that lead to the castle

Picture of the original castle on a wall inside the castle

Charles Robert I

Panoptikum Inside the castle it is possible to visit the Panoptikum, a representation of the Angevin court in Medieval time made of wax statues. All the wax figures were made with meticulous work, paying close attention to the period dressing of the figures and adjusting them into the desired poses. They are life-size and match the period perfectly, making it easier to imagine life back then. This way, the figures depict an even more exciting picture of the era, a person, or a past event. A special room is dedicated to the memory of the Congress in 1335. The Royal Summit of Kings was of central importance, as it was the occasion when the Hungarian, Czech, and Polish kings made an alliance. According to chronicles, the event lasted 3–4 weeks with feasts, hunting events, and musical dance merriments.

The Holy Crown The Holy Crown of Hungary, also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, named in honour of Saint Stephen I of Hungary, was the coronation crown used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most of its existence; kings have been crowned with it since the 12th century. The Crown symbolized the King's authority over the Lands of the Hungarian Crown and it was a key mark of legitimacy: it symbolizes a halo signifying the wearer's Divine Right to rule. According to popular tradition, St Stephen I held up the crown before his death (in the year 1038) to consecrate it and his kingdom to the Virgin Mary. After this, Mary was depicted not only as patrona (patron saint) of the Kingdom of Hungary but also as its “queen”. This consecration was supposed to empower the crown with divine force to help the future kings of Hungary under the "Doctrine of the Holy Crown". By the 13th century, the tradition had already developed, according to which only the one who was crowned with the Holy Crown by the Archbishop of Esztergom in Székesfehérvár could be the legitimate Hungarian king. Knowing this, it is not surprising that already during the Middle Ages, it was really important to keep the crown as safe as possible. But in 1440, the crown was stolen by Mrs Helen Kottaner, a lady in court, under the orders of Queen Elizabeth, king Albert’s widow, who wanted it for her child to be born, Ladislaus. Luckily, it was found later. The Holy Crown was then taken to Frederik, Austrian Emperor. In 1463 king Matthias Corvinus Hunyadi reacquired it from him on certain severe conditions, and then he had a special bill about the guarding of the Holy Crown, the traditional place of which was the Upper castle of Visegrad up to 1529. Anyway, the original one is now displayed in the Parliament in Budapest.

Medieval history of weapons and Royal hunting in the Middle Ages.In a room of the castle it is possible to see shields, armour, bows, maces, and all kinds of stabbing and cutting tools used in medieval times. Another exhibition is that of all kinds of game in stuffed form – there are mouflons, wild boars, various deer, and water birds.

Zsámbék, Ruins of the Premontre monastery church. Zsámbék is located 30 km west of Budapest. In the 1180s the wife of Béla III of Hungary, Margaret Capet, who was the step-sister of the French king Philippe Auguste, granted land around the village to a knight named Aynard, in recognition of his service to the King for safely escorting Margaret from Paris to Esztergom in 1186. Aynard's family built the Premonstratensian* church. * The Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Premonstratensians, the Norbertines and, in Britain and Ireland, as the White Canons, is a religious order of canons regular of the Catholic Church founded in Prémontré near Laon in 1120 by Norbert of Xanten, who later became Archbishop of Magdeburg. It quickly spread in France, in Eastern Europe, above all in Hungary, and in Palestine. The monastery church was built between 1220 and 1235, as a private family church, and might have been the last of such churches in Hungary. It was damaged in 1241 during the Mongolian invasions, but, during the reign of Béla IV of Hungary, the church and monastery were rebuilt. It is a stunning monument of Hungarian medieval architecture. Inspired by French architecture, the church shows elements of late Romanesque and early Gothic styles. It was a three-nave basilica, with the cloister attached to one of the sides. In 1398, the Aynards went out of favour and the king ordered their property to be confiscated. Zsámbék monastery was transferred to the noble Maróthi family and, in 1477, when these became extinct, Matthias Corvinus transferred the monastery to the Pauline Fathers, a religious order founded in the XIII century. The church and the monastery were then rebuilt in the Gothic style. The monastery was badly damaged during Turkish rule in Hungary, around 1541. In the 17th century, the church became property of the Zichy family. Unfortunately, in 1736 the church collapsed as a result of an earthquake, and since then it has been deserted.

This castle is located in Tata, next to the Lake Öreg. It was built by Sigismund of Luxembourg, Hungarian king, between 1397 and 1409. Sigsimund of Luxembourg was also an Angevine. The castle was a preferred retreat for kings and aristocrats. It was burnt by Hapsburgs and later on the king Mathias Corvin renovated this castle. During the Turkish times it was one of the defensive bastion system’s building. The walls of the castle reflect the marks of romantic style which is due to the Esterházy family. This family bought it from the Habsburg king, they wanted to absolutely rebuild it, but that’s never happened. Parts of the Bollywood film were shot at the castle. Nowadays, this castle is a museum owned by the government, and there is also an exhibition at the top of the tower.


The Royal Palace of Visegràd The Mongolian invasion of 1242 destroyed the eleventh-century castle of Visegrád. Subsequently, a new castle was built on the hill rising above the Danube, and a new settlement was born on the bank of the river. In 1323, King Charles I (Caroberto) chose Visegrád as his seat and granted the privileges of a free royal town to the settlement. The buildings wanted by Charles Robert I were later developed into a splendid palace in the second half of the 14th century under his son, Louis the Great and, then, Sigismund of Luxemburg. The excavated ruins of the Royal Palace tell us about its Gothic and Renaissance past. The terraced building complex consisted of three main parts: the northern Matthias Palace, the Royal Chapel and the Palace of Beatrix. The royal palace remained the official seat of the Hungarian kings from the 1330s until 1408 and for a while it served as a country residence even later (until the Turkish occupation in 1544). After Charles I’s death, in 1342, his son Louis (the Great) continued the construction of the palace wanted by his father. But his large project was interrupted because of the murder of the king’s brother, Prince Andrew, in Naples, and the ensuing Neapolitan war. For the time of the war, the royal court moved to Buda. When the campaigns came to an end in 1352, the king took up the construction of the Visegrád palace again. He had a new palace wing erected on the site of the unfinished chapel. The palace complex was probably completed by 1355 when the royal court moved back to Visegrád. Construction work, however, continued even after this date. The chapel was fully completed by 1366. After the completion of the chapel, a two-storey palace laid out on a square ground plan, with an internal courtyard in the centre, was erected on its north. The new apartments of the king and the queen were placed here. The building was furnished with flush toilets installed in a separately standing tower and a bathroom with hot and cold running water. Flower gardens enclosed by walls were attached to its side. The upper garden and the internal courtyard of the palace were decorated with splendid fountains. In the centre of the courtyard stood the Renaissance Hercules Fountain, a masterpiece by Giovanni Dalmata, the king’s sculptor. What can be seen today in the courtyard is a reconstruction of the Hercules fountain created by G. Dalmata, a piece of the earliest examples of Renaissance art in Hungary. The remains of the original fountain are displayed in the museum of the Palace. From the third level of the palace an upper garden opened, surrounded by a Gothic loggia. Between 1477 and 1484 Matthias Corvinus had the palace complex reconstructed in late Gothic style, after his marriage to the Neapolitan princess Beatrix of Aragon at the end of 1476. Through works lasting a decade, King Matthias had the palace turned into a magnificent country residence. After the Ottoman Turks' siege in 1544, the palace fell into ruins. By the 18th century it was completely covered by earth. Its excavation began in 1934 and continues today.

Hercules fountains

Heaters in the rooms inside the palace Bedroom



Church of Saint Simeon a video of the church The Church of St Simeon in Zadar was built as an Early Christian three-nave basilica, then it became a Gothic building and later a monument of provincial Baroque features. On its main Altar there is a silver-gold plated casket with the relics of St Simeon, dating back to 1380. The Casket of St Simeon is considered to be the most valuable work of Medieval goldsmith art in Croatia; it was ordered by the Hungaro-Croatian Queen Elizabeth, wife of Louis I, for the relics of St Simeon. It was made by the goldsmith Franciscus de Mediolano (of Milan), who was living in Zadar at the time. Covered inside and outside with a thin lamina of 240 kg of pure silver and also a considerable quantity of gold, it shows intricate details carved on the cedar wood used to give shape to the chest. All free surface of the chest is filled in with more or less standard vine, leaves and winding rosettes of leaves ornamentations decorated with gold.The casket of St Simeon

Monastery of St Francesco d’Assisi in Zadar It is a Roman Catholic Franciscan monastery dating back to the 13th century, it was built around 1221. It was consecrated on October 12, 1282 by bishop Lovro Periandar. Throughout the centuries, the monastery was the focal point of religious life in the city of Zadar. It was also home to the Franciscan school, precursor to today's University of Zadar. Its church is the oldest Gothic church in Dalmatia and has a great importance for Croatian history, because in its sacristy, in 1358, the Venetian Republic and the Hungarian-Croatian king Louis I of Anjou signed the Treaty of Zadar with which the Venetians gave up their Dalmatian holdings.

Dubrovnik / Ragusa In 1301 the Angevin Charles Robert became King of Hungary and he gradually began the long process of restoring the royal authority in a realm that had been previously disintegrated. During this disintegration much of the Kingdom of Croatia, a kingdom attached to the Hungarian crown since 1102 with the rule of the Hungarian king Coloman, had come under the control of the Croatian noble family of the Šubići. But, during the 1340s and 1350s Charles Robert’s son and heir, Louis, restored the royal power here as well. More precisely, it was in 1358, after the end of the Venetian-Hungarian war, that the Adriatic coast came under the reign of the Hungarian King Louis of Anjou. Obviously, the Angevin rule in Dalmatia brought to some changes in the local legal orders of certain eastern-Adriatic cities that had been Venetian territories. In some of them, as Dubrovnik (formerly Ragusa), the local political elite began to remove the Venetian name from statutory provisions. The Angevin authority relied on local nobilities as an instrument in the preservation of power. And Ragusan ambassadors played a crucial role in the establishment and maintenance of relationships between their hometown and the Angevin court. Thanks to their multidimensional interactions, the Angevin central power and the periphery peacefully coexisted and mutually interwined in the critical period before the Treaty of Visegràd in 1358.

The Clocktower


The Hungarian and Venetian rules had alternated many times in the city of Zadar since the beginning of the 11th century, until Louis I of Anjou launched the last war against Venice, in 1356–1358, from which he emerged triumphant. His victory was crowned by the Peace of Zadar on February 18, 1358, which made him the ruler of all Dalmatia. During the reign of Louis I of Anjou, Zadar played a central role in the king’s government and policy in Dalmatia and Croatia, as it was the most important trading city in Dalmatia and beacause of its excellent location and its close relationship with the Croatian hinterland. The king didn’t bring any meaningful change in the administration of the city, but the elite of the city of Zadar gained an important place in the king’s Dalmatian elite. Louis I decided to appoint the people who would serve as Comes (Counts) at his court. Also, with the flowering of chivalric culture, the number of knights of the court increased and, for the most part, the knights were from Zadar. The knights of the court were part of the king’s closest circles for diplomatic and military matters in Dalmatia and Croatia and they took part in missions entrusted to them by the ruler.

Street of Zadar today

Zadar, western part of the city, on the sea.

The church of St Vidus in the village of Vid (ancient Narona) In ancient times Narona was a Roman colony and an important trading town on the river Neretva in Dalmatia. The remains of the ancient city of Narona are located in a village today called Vid, about 4 km west of Metkovic. In late antiquity Narona was the seat of a diocese, from where Christianity spread into the hinterland of that part of Dalmatia that today belongs to Bosnia-Herzegovina. At that time the first Christian churches were built in the Lower Town. Their remains were discovered in the sites of Vodovod, St Vidus and Eres Bare. During the excavations in the site of St Vidus in 1972 and 1990-93, archaeologists found the remains of an Early Christian Basilica and a baptistery from the 5th century. After the fall of Narona, the basilica began to decay. The construction of today’s church of St Vidus began in the 17th century and it was built over the eastern part of the Early Christian Basilica. The church of St Vidus is a single nave building with a rectangular apse. In front of the church there is a covered vestibule, above which there is a bell tower with three bells. During the 18th and 19th century it was often closed because of its decaying state. It was repaired ad used as a parish until 1961.

Angevin symbol in St Vidus church

  • The external wall of the apse, the pointed-arched window dates back to the Angevin period

  • The cloister of St. Louis of the French

Saint Francis of the Nuns-Aversa

One of the most relaxing and interesting parts of the Cathedral is the Cloister of Paradise. It was built around 1266 by Bishop Augustariccio who wanted to create a churchyard for the noble people of Amalfi. Then, it was restored in 1908. Its structure develops around a central garden that, as a matter of fact, is surrounded by interwoven pointed arches resting on small double columns with crutch capitals. There are many frescoes on the walls and beautiful mosaic covered pieces of a Byzantine pulpit that was once located in the nave of the church. On the southern wall of the cloister there is the Chapel of the Crucifixion with an interesting fresco.

Cloister of Paradise

Chapel of Crucifixion

This chapel is the biggest of the cloister. It was built, probably, between the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th, and we know that at the end of 15th century, it belonged to Lisolo Fajboli. The entrance is characterized by two lowered archs, unloaded on the little central column, covered by paintings of the 17th century with angels and skulls proving the sepulchral function of the place. The inner part is partially covered by an ornament of the same period: on the little cross vault, there are angels that have Marian features and, on the shutter of the recess, Saint Joseph and an Annunciation Angel. It is clear that this paintings have, in large part, covered more ancient representations that appear from the underlying level of the plaster: only the Announciation Angel is visible on the front wall, dating from the 14th century, which certainly mirrors an Annunciation Virgin today hidden by the bricklaying. The Chapel takes its name from the fresco of the Crucifixion that covers completely the ogival wall on the left. The work has been attributed to Roberto d’Oderisio, an artist trained into the Neapolitan Giottesque environment and mentioned by the king of Naples, Carlo III from Durazzo, as proto-painter of the court in 1382, as successful completion of his long and virtuos career. The fresco represents an actualization of the episode of the Crucifixion, depicting soldiers in Angevin armours. In the foreground there are Our Lady of Sorrows supported by pious women, on one side, and Saint John and Mary Magdalene holding tight to the the cross. Around them, a crowd of hooded characters, soldiers on horseback and sufferers. Above them, a crucified Christ between two crucified thieves.