The Domenico Friars were in a foul mood the day I visited! If you weren't with a group you couldn't visit the area behind the alter and they didn't take well to any questions! This massive, heavily restored Basilica dates back to the 13th century but looks freshly painted and polished. It appears pretty dull until you investigate the side alters which are decorative with beautiful paintings and ornamentation…at least the ones you can visit without being a part of a group! Midway down by the Friar in the booth you will have to deposit coins under his watchful eye to gain entrance to see the beautifully crafted tomb of St Domenico in fromt of the Cappella della Modonna. (Don’t ask the Friar questions!) The young Michelangelo sculpted the two winged lions at eye level, holding up the main alter and I believe some of the many statues on the alter along with Niccolo dell’Arca, a friar Guglielmo and Alfonso Lombardi. It’s really beautiful and worth trying to get in to see behind the alter the beautiful gold relic container. The second reason to visit is behind the main alter which apparently is closed to visitors not in a group, so even though I tried to enter with a group, I wasn’t allow in. No pictures are allowed; I took these before I was told not to; there is no signage indicating pictures are not allowed and lots of TA reviewers have added pictures...really grumpy Friars! I guess this church is on the tour guide route as it’s not a church you can wander freely and you will be constantly reminded about this during your visit!
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