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Built on an antique Roman construction around 875, it has undergone various transformations in Romanesque style. Towards the end of the 15th century, the cathedral's style was adapted to the architectural canons of the time. Prospero Sogari, called Clemente, was the sculptor who looked after the work which, however, remained incomplete. His works include the statues portraying Adam and Eve found on the central door, while on the sides, between the marble strips which cover the façade's median surfaces, within the niches, are the Saints Crisanto and Daria, and the Saints Venerio and Gioconda, completed by Clemente and his workshop between 1572 and 1580. The statue of the Madonna and Infant with the Fiordibelli husband and wife (benefactors) dominates on the front of the tower. Made of gold embossed copper plate, it is a goldsmith's work of art made by an artist of exceptional talent, Bartolomeo Spani from Reggio (goldsmith, sculptor, architect, who lived between the 1400's and the early part of the 1500's). The entire Duomo preserves chapels covered in valuable, finely sculptured marbles. The sepulchre of Orazio Malaguzzi (on the right of the entrance), by Clemente, is particularly remarkable. The funeral monument of Valerio Malaguzzi (1510), made by Bartolomeo Spani, is of particular interest (3rd chapel on the right). Imposing on the other side is the sepulchre of Rangoni ( by Clemente) in the last chapel (on the right-hand side) next to the choir.
Inside the Cathedral, the crypt, whose construction dates back to the 12th or 13th century, is of notable value. The architecture is arranged in cross vaults, supported by 42 columns with fragmentary capitals, most of them date back to the 15th century (two show the date 1491), but some are older. The oldest part is at the altar, containing the sarcophagus with the bodies of the Martyred Saints, Crisanto and Daria. A general restoration took place in 1923. During the restoration work was found a considerable fragment of Romanesque flooring (a mosaic from the 3rd-4th century), which leads from the crypt to an underground room through a flight of steps. Geometric figures and animals, including a deer at a spring, can be distinguished in the mosaic. The crypt is formed of three chapels: inside the chapel in the centre is the sepulchre of the martyrs Crisanto and Daria, the chapel on the right is dedicated to soldiers killed in war and was decorated by A. Govi in 1923; a short flight of steps leads beneath this chapel to the Bishops' tomb; in the left-hand chapel is a bas-relief depicting two Magi Kings (13th century), which was used as the tombstone of Bishop Enrico Casalorci (+1312) who is depicted on the other side.
Source: local Staff Reggio Emilia