The angels of Taranto

The vast façade of Taranto’s “Great Mother of God” Co-cathedral is an openwork that welcomes light, air, clouds. And angels, who “can take shelter inside”: so wished Gio Ponti, who designed the building in 1970.

Angels and the sea seem to have been the well-known Milanese architect’s inspiration in creating a church that so perfectly ties in with the Ionian city’s traditions. The three basins in the front square are the expanse of the sea and, instead of the usual dome, the front of the church is an immense sail. This 53-meter-tall façade is composed of two reinforced concrete walls, one meter from the other, with eighty windows that allow the sky and angels to peek inside.

Gio Ponti considered light a sign of God’s presence, ruling out any other decoration: it kneads and shapes matter making the invisible visible, joining creativity and mystery, beauty and infinity… Certainly even Saint Francis of Assisi would have appreciated the architect’s creative intuition. The author of his biography, Tommaso da Celano, recalled: “As choirs sing in front of the angels, he wanted anyone who could to sing along, psalmodizing with devotion.” Something that can truly happen in this church, wide open to the wonders of creation and to the angels above.

December 12, 2013

The angels of Taranto

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