The Romanesque architecture style is one of a kind characterized by its whopping great quality. This architecture is a fusion of Roman, Ottonian, Carolingian, Byzantine, and German traditions, originated in medieval Europe ranging from 6th to 11th century that later on lead to the rise of Gothic Architecture in the 12th century. They have well-defined structures, methodical plans, and symmetrical forms with features such as semi-circular round arches, barrel vaults, embellished arcading, thick walls, and large towers.

Here follow some of the important iconic Romanesque Architecture buildings, the best way to experience this style of architecture.

1. Pisa Cathedral | Romanesque Architecture

A medieval Roman Catholic cathedral, building style known as Pisan Romanesque, is situated in the Piazza Dei Miracoli, a Cathedral Square in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy. It was erected outside Pisa’s medieval walls, has various stylish elements such as classical, Byzantine, Islamic, and Lombard-Emilian. The original plan was a Greek cross but today’s plan has a Latin cross with a nave on center with two aisles on each side with apse and transepts having three naives.

The exterior decoration is lavish with mosaic, multicolored marble, high arches with Islamic and southern Italian influence, blind arches with lozenge shapes, and numerous bronze objects.

The interior is covered with white and black marble with monolithic grey marble columns having Corinthian capitals and a wooden 17th-century coffered ceiling painted and decorated with gold leaf.

2. Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Tower of Pisa is a freestanding bell tower of the Pisa Cathedral is a Romanesque Architecture example famous for its four-degree lean. The tower heights about 183 feet on the lower side and 185 feet on the higher side with the weight estimated to be 14,500 metric tons. The north-facing staircase has around 296 steps.

The structure began to lean during construction in the 12th century due to soft ground and unstable foundations. The structure was stabilized to reduce the tilt from 5.5 degrees to 3.97 degrees. The ground floor is a blind arcade engaged by columns with classical Corinthian capitals.

The tower is harmonized with gothic elements and has seven bells, one for each note of music scale. The entire Piazza Dei Miracoli was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

3. Cluny Abbey | Romanesque Architecture

It is a former Benedictine monastery in Cluny which is dedicated to St Peter. The abbey with three churches was built in succession from the 4th to the early 12th centuries. They also have Romanesque sculptures that are considered masterpieces. It’s considered the prestigious monastery in Europe when most of it was destroyed during the French revolution in 1790, and the remains are maintained.

4. Canterbury Cathedral

The cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures of Romanesque Architecture located in Canterbury, Kent, England. Norman is the term used to describe Romanesque in England.

The Norman built church has a central axis about 5 meters south with an aisled nave of nine bays, a pair of towers at the west end, aisleless transepts with apsidal chapels, a low crossing tower, and a short quire ending in three apses. The interiors are richly embellished with glass windows, marble pavements, and many-colored paintings.

5. Basilica of Saint-Sernin | Romanesque Architecture

Located in Toulouse, France; the former abbey church, Saint-Sernin is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe noted for its quality and quantity of Romanesque sculptures. Taking a crucifix form, ceilings are vaulted, contains radiating chapels to display relics.

The exterior bell tower is slightly inclined towards the west, standing over the transept crossing, with five tiers having Romanesque arches.

The interiors have a central nave barrel-vaulted; the four aisles have rib vaults and are supported by buttresses.

6. Ely Cathedral

It is an Anglican cathedral outstandingly known for both its scale and stylish details with the great architectural value.  It’s been built in monumental Romanesque style, with certain elements being rebuilt in exuberant Gothic style. Its central octagonal tower with lantern above provides a large internal space along with the west tower standing out as a notable feature in the surrounding landscape.

7. Durham Cathedral

This cathedral holds an important position and considered the first of its kind in the Norman architectural traditions. It was entirely made of stone, with stone ribbed vaulting dispersing weight into the columns making the walls between the columns unnecessary. Windows were inserted on the walls to allow more natural light. Proper usage of the pointed arch, vault, buttresses to cover large spaces and build taller buildings.

8. San Miniato Al Monte

This Basilica in Florence, central Italy is one of the highest points in the city, is considered the finest Romanesque example and the scenic church in Tuscany. The exterior has a geometrically patterned marble façade crowned by their symbol eagle.

The interior has a choir raised on a platform above the large crypt housing mosaic patterns, zodiac details, and paintings by famous artists.

9. Abbey of Saint-Étienne

Abbaye aux Hommes is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Normandy. It was built in Caen stone, and later an important feature ribbed vault was added, for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered the forerunners of Gothic, with the original Romanesque apse being replaced by a gothic chevet complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses.

10. Abbey of Sainte-Trinite | Romanesque Architecture

Abbaye aux Dames is a former convent, now the home for a regional council of Normandy. Its façade has two large towers each with doors leading to its aisles. The central bay’s pediment echoes the nave roof. The aisles have a groin vault, nave surmounted by the gallery, with the center of the church having a transept housing the main altar.

The northern transept in is Romanesque style while the southern transept has gothic columns within the Romanesque decoration.

11. Basilica De San Isidoro

This church is located in Leon, Italy on the site of an ancient Roman temple. Built-in Romanesque Architecture style, the basilica has major additions in gothic style.

The arches crossing the transepts have Islamic art having many styles merging harmoniously. They have a Royal Pantheon and a museum containing numerous examples of early medieval art including jeweled chalices and works of ivory and precious metal.

12. Santo Domingo De Silos Abbey

It’s a Benedictine monastery in the village of Santo Domingo de Silos in the southern part of Burgos Province in northern Spain. The monastery has two storey cloister has large capitals with carved scenes and relief panels. The paired columns along each side of the cloister each share a capital. Each capital’s decoration is unique, and they contain a variety of animals, foliage, or an abstract design.

13. Peterborough Cathedral

Saint peter’s cathedral is in the United Kingdom, known for its imposing Early English Gothic West front façade with three enormous arches. It has a slightly asymmetrical appearance as one of the two towers that rise from behind the façade was never completed, but only visible from a distance.

14. Modena Cathedral

It is a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Modena, Italy; a world heritage site and an important Romanesque building in Europe. The exterior has a façade with notable embellishments, reliefs, portraits, and sculptures. The interior is divided into three naves with a marble parapet between the central nave and the crypt.

15. Basilica of Sant’ambrogio | Romanesque Architecture

It is a church in the center of Milan, Northern Italy. The church is mostly built in brickwork of different origins and colors, with parts of stone and white plastering. The basilica has two bell towers. The hut-shaped façade has two orders of loggias and the portico’s arcades are supported by pillars, flanked by semi-columns. The basilica has a semi-circular apse, and smaller, semi-circular chapels at the end of the aisles; there is no transept. The interior has the same size as the external portico.


Nissevitha Rini, an architect craving to make a difference amidst havoc. She ardently believes in visualization with purpose. Weirdly responsible, highly perceptive, sometimes offbeat but a profound thinker. A euphoric and peppy soul, now explores her inner desire in writing out her mind and architecture.