The cathedral church of Rimini, Italy, The Tempio Malatestiano takes the popular name from Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, who commissioned its reconstruction.
The church’s breathtaking marble façade holds its viewer captivated. Incorporating sculptures made by by Agostino di Duccio and Matteo de’ Pasti the church is a view worth seeing. The gothic tradition of interment under the exterior side arches of a church is applied here and in each blind arch is a sarcophagus. The large arcades on the sides are reminiscent of the Roman aqueducts.
Seven chapels with the tombs of illustrious Riminese citizens are present under the large arcades on the right side. The inscriptions in the interior give credit to Matteo de’ Pasti as the architect. A triangular pediment set over the door of the entrance portal within the center arch enhances the beauty of the church.
Sigismondo Pandolfo’s sepulcher is present immediately to the right of the main door. A fresco by Piero Della Francesca portraying Malatesta kneeling before the saint, adds to the many charms of the church. The following chapel (Cappella degli Angeli) houses the tomb of Isotta and the Giotto crucifix, allegedly painted during his sojourn in Rimini.
The next chapel the Cappella dei Pianeti (“Chapel of the Planets”), dedicated to St. Jerome incorporates zodiacal figures by Agostino di Duccio. An interesting panorama of Rimini as it was in 15th century is also housed here.The Chapel of Liberal Arts, with di Duccio’s portrayal of Philosophy, Rhetoric and Grammar, comes next. The Chapel of the Childhood Games houses the tombs of Sigismondo Pandolfo’s first wives, Ginevra d’Este and Polissena Sforza, and is encircled by 61 figures of young angels playing and dancing, again by Agostino di Duccio.
The SI monogram (from the initial of Sigismondo and Isotta’s names, or, according to others, the first two letters of the former) sporting a rose, an elephant and three heads, characterizes the chapel, like numerous other places in the church. The Cappella Della Pietà, houses some of Malatesta’s ancestors. It consists of two statues of prophets and ten of sibyls.
A wonder in stone, tourists are attracted to this church as bees are to cosmos or dahlia stalks. Its beauty and symbolic architecture is much marked everywhere.