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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Cathedral of San Donato

Cathedral of San Donato

Vicolo Parrocchiale 11, 10064 Pinerolo (TO) - ITALY

RELIGIONS Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox


The facade of the cathedral was entirely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1808. It is divided into three sections, one in correspondence with each internal nave, while the rest of the façade is covered with cream-colored plaster. On the lower part of the façade there are three splayed portals with painted lunettes. On the upper part of the façade, there are three rosettes; the central one is surmounted by a fresco depicting the Trinity. On the left side of the cathedral is the bell tower. The pictorial decorations of the interior of the church, showing stories of the Old and New Testament and images of saints on each column, were commissioned to the painters Giuseppe Rollini and Alessandro Vacca actively worked at the Medieval Borgo of Turin and carried them out between 1887 and 1892. It is particularly important to point out the presence of a fragment of a XV Century fresco depicting the Blessed Peter of Luxembourg, which is still visible on the first column of the right aisle. The chorus stalls of the cathedral are adorned with a series of wooden works dating back to 1689 representing lilies of France and enriched by a lectern with a biceps eagle and dolphins, a gift of Canon Belli in 1690.
The current cathedral of San Donato stands in the same place as an older church, built in the eleventh century by the will of Olderico Manfredi II, Marquis of Turin and Susa, mentioned for the first time in a document dated 1044. The original building, which, at that time, already had a nave and two aisles, probably in Lombard-Romanesque style, was restored in Gothic style possibly thanks to the powerful guild of wool merchants at the beginning of the XV Century. In 1748, with the setting up of the Diocese of Pinerolo, the abbey church of the Monastery of Abbadia lost its title of cathedral, which was given to the college church of San Donato. In the years from 1766 to 1778 imposing restoration works occurred in Baroque style, thanks to the first bishop, Monsignor D’Orlié de Saint Innocent, who gave the church a visible cut with the past. The church, which had already suffered the earthquake of 1808, was completely restored at the end of the century, following the architectural tastes of the age, which aimed at recovering the original Gothic structure of the building with large works. During the removal activities of the internal Baroque superstructure, it was not possible to recover the medieval pictorial decorations therefore the church was completely redecorated. In the second half of the twentieth century, following the Second Vatican Council, the presbytery was restructured according to the criteria of liturgical renewal.
The Cathedral of St. Donatus was added, together with the Waldensian Temple and the church of the Romanian Orthodox Parish of St. Stephen the Great, in an ecumenical itinerary. It is an urban route to discover the three Christian confessions present in Pinerolo, through a visit to the three places of worship. The tour was born in 2014, as outcome of a collaboration between Pinerolo Diocese, Waldesian Church and Ortodox Romanian Church, the three most important religions in town. Visiting Saint Donato’s Cathedral, Saint Stephen The Great’s Ortodox Romanian Parish and Waldesian Temple, you will discover symbols, furniture and architecture of these buildings and you will reflect on differences and similarities, which led to a useful dialogue between creeds.
Until 1800 the city of Pinerolo, due to its strategic position at the confluence of the valleys inhabited by Waldensian faith populations (Valli Chisone, Germanasca and Pellice), was considered the Catholic outpost against the "heretics", subjected for centuries to repression and persecution by the civil and religious powers After eight centuries the Catholic Church has recognized its errors and asked the Waldensian populations for forgiveness, through the words of Pope Francis: "On behalf of the Catholic Church I ask you forgiveness for the non-Christian, even non-human attitudes and behavior that, in history we have had against you. "
- Direct visit: to the Waldensian Temple, to the Cathedral of St. Donatus, to the Church of the Romanian Orthodox Parish of St. Stephen the Great and to the Monument to Tolerance erected in memory of the persecutions suffered by the Waldensians, symbol of tolerance and hope.

- Classroom activity
Artistic itinerary with detailed information on the three buildings of worship and on the Monument to Tolerance.
Historical itinerary with insights on the Pinerolo events of the three Christian communities.
Activity of verification of the acquired knowledge and skills

Waldensian Temple - Via dei Mille, 1, 10064 Pinerolo (TO) - ITALY



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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.