Abbey Cathedral of Santa Tecla (1690-1702)
The Cathedral of Santa Tecla in Este is the oldest and most important place of worship of the walled city, built on the remains of an ancient Christian church, destroyed by an earthquake in 1688. Its foundation dates back to the IV-V century A.D., originally site of a pre-existing pagan temple. The church was dedicated to Saint Tecla, a virgin and martyr native of Anatolia. During the Middle Ages the building was progressively enlarged and the church at one point had five naves. During the restoration work carried out between 1583 and 1592, following the project of Vincenzo Scamozzi, the façade was rebuilt facing the new centre which in the meantime had arisen. In 1688 the earthquake seriously damaged the cathedral, which was then demolished and rebuilt. The Venetian architect Antonio Gaspari designed a one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece in Baroque style, with its original oval layout and oblique architecture. The construction lasted until the third decade of the eighteenth century, with works of embellishment which had not however led to the execution of the façade, which according to the project of the Gaspari, had to be richly decorated with marble and statues. The Cathedral of Santa Tecla in Este houses a large number of works of art of the eighteenth century by illustrious artists such as Tiepolo, Corradini, Grigoletti, Zanchi and Amigoni. The most famous work of art is certainly the great altarpiece – currently undergoing restoration – located in the apse depicting Santa Tecla, who intercedes with the Eternal Father for the liberation of the city from the plague of 1630, made by Giovan Battista Tiepolo in 1759. The canvas of considerable size is considered a masterpiece among the paintings with religious subjects by the famous Venetian artist. Another work of immense value is located to the right of the presbytery, in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. It is the group of sculptures depicting the Triumph of the Eucharist by the Venetian master Antonio Corradini. The Cathedral houses the uncorrupted body of Beata Beatrice d’Este, the second patron saint of the city, under the altar dedicated to her.
Opening times: Standard time: from 7am – to 11.45am and from 15.30pm – to 17pm – Daylight saving time: from 7am – to 11.45am and from 16.00pm – to18pm. On Sundays and religious holidays it is open only in the afternoon hours. Free entry
After eight years the Tiepolo Altarpiece returns to the apse of the Cathedral
The Parish Church of Santa Tecla in Este has celebrated Christmas 2020 by having back in the apse of the Cathedral its very own Pala by Giambattista Tiepolo, where it rightly belongs: it was placed there for the very first time back in 1759, on Christmas’s Eve day.
After 261 years from that significant event and eight years of meticulous restoration, the Pala del Tiepolo is placed again in the Cathedral: an event that we would have loved to celebrate with the Community, especially in 2020 that makes the 250th anniversary of Tiepolo’s death, but the situation only allows you to admire this great masterpiece.
Eight years have passed since the Pala left the city of Este to begin the long restoration process. Meanwhile, the Cathedral, built between the end of the 1600s and the beginning of the 1700s,
has been completely restored, both externally and internally, highlighting all the peculiarities of its original elliptical-shaped architecture.
The restoration of the Altarpiece had to undergo a meticulous cleaning job, but now, on the eve of this particular Christmas 2020, Giovanbattista Tiepolo’s Altarpiece has returned home and the joy of the Atestines, which they hope to share soon with all future visitors to the City, shines strongly already in the words of its representatives:
«How wonderful to see Tiepolo again after eight years in his natural location in the Cathedral! We take it as a sign of hope that can only fill our hearts of pure joy. There has been a great effort from many sides to bring the Pala back to Este as soon as possible. Now we can finally admire it in all its solemnity» says the mayor Roberta Gallana.
«It is not possible to have a great party and inauguration due to the emergency we are experiencing – says the parish priest of the Duomo, Don Franco Rimano – but this will helps us enter into the meaning of this painting that describes with dramatic images the suffering of the citizens of Este due to the plague, but also the trust in the presence of God who acts with his strength in favor of men and for the their salvation. Santa Tecla, patron saint of Este intercedes for the life of our city. On this Christmas, our patroness invites us not to lose trust in God who guides and supports us in this difficult situation».
From Este Merry Christmas to all of you and see you soon!