Astrological fresco cycles in Ferrara and Rimini
In the famous Palazzo Schifanoia extended explanations will be given about the famous cycle of astrological frescoes in the Salone dei Mesi ("Hall of the Months"). The fresco decoration was ordered by Borso d'Este and executed in the years 1469–70 by Cosmè Tura, Francesco del Cossa and Ercole de' Roberti.
A purely pagan cycle of the months presents the months of year as an allegorical pageant with the appropriate Olympian gods in their triumphal carts, flanked withe the personifications of the zodiacal constellations. The learned and elaborate scheme of the allegorical presentations must have come from the court intellectuals of Borso d'Este, perhaps from the court astrologer Pellegrino Prisciani, with some details drawn from Boccaccio's Genealogia deorum.
Church of Santa Maria in Vado, Sanctuary of the Most-precious Blood: In the year 1171 on Easter Sunday during the mass, when the Host was broken into two parts by the prior Peter of Verona a stream of blood spurt from the Host and sprayed onto a semi-circular vault above the altar. The witnesses have seen the blood and the host turned to Flesh. Two similar miracles have occurred in Orvieto and Bolsena.
Detailed explanations will be provided about the Tempio Malatestiano, the cathedral church of Rimini. It was Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta who commissioned its reconstruction by the famous Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti around 1450. Inside we will mainly focus on the Cappella dei Pianeti ("Chapel of the Planets"). The decorative stone reliefs representing zodiacal figures were sculpted by Agostino di Duccio. Their symbolic lay-out probably pertains to the lesson of the script, written by the ancient philosopher Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs (De Antro Nympharum).
The signs of the Cancer and the Capricorn at the two endings of the zodiacal strip represent the door of the Earth and the door of Heaven. Descending in the sub-lunar realm (passing the Cancer tropic) the soul receives the mantel of the physical body. The Capricorn door is the opening through which the soul is liberated in to the hyper-uranean heavenly dimension. Find out where in the composition is hidden the only missing planet, the Sun and the pertaining sign of Leo.
On the outside lateral façade of the church are kept the tombs of illustrious Riminese citizens. In the first sarcophagus is buried the Greek philosopher Georgius Gemistus Pletho, who had brought Plato's philosophy to Italy in the 15th century and promoted a radical neo-pagan religion.