The Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a masterpiece of the Romanesque art and symbol of the city of Modena. The Architect Lanfranco and the sculptor Wiligelmo laid the foundation stone in 1099. In 1106, in the presence of the Countess Matilde di Canossa, the body of Saint Geminiano (Patron saint of the city) was transfered and it lies in the crypt. The Cathedral, consecrated in 1184, summarizes the ancient culture of the classical tradition with the new Lombard art, creating a fundamental model for the medieval civilization. Next to it, there is the Torre Ghirlandina, almost 90 metres high, built by the town for defensive purposes. Its first four floors, the oldest ones, are richly decorated with bas-reliefs representing ladies, knights, monsters and mermaids. The last floor, the octagonal spire and the cusp date back to the XIII/XIV century.
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