Baroque architecture reflects the style of the Baroque era, which began in late 16th century Italy. This particular type of architecture spread throughout Europe and became very popular in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and France. Baroque is characterized by new explorations of elements such as form, light, dramatic intensity, and shadow and was often used in the Catholic Church. For those looking to witness some of the more impressive examples of Baroque architecture, be sure to visit the following cities:


9 Beautiful Examples of Baroque Architecture

1. The Mafra Palace - Mafra, Portugal

The Mafra Palace in Mafra, Portugal is one of the most important Portuguese Baroque monuments from the 18th century. It is characterized by a basilica, a convent, and an exhibit of beautiful Italian sculptures along its entrance. The Mafra Palace’s construction began in 1717 and was completely finished in 1755. A fun fact about the Mafra Palace is that the palace was not occupied permanently by Portuguese royalty, who considered the rooms too gloomy.


2. Trevi Fountain - Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and is generally regarded the most beautiful fountain in the entire world. The fountain is composed of three architectural elements: a façade, sea reef, and statues made of Carrara marble. Trevi Fountain is renowned for its tradition of visitors throwing coin (using their right hand) over their left shoulder in hopes to return to Rome again in their lifetime.


3. The Church of San Lorenzo - Turin, Italy

The Church of San Lorenzo in Turin, Italy is world known for its curved bays and central dome space and was designed by Guarino Guarini from 1668 to 1687. The church is often referred to as the pinnacle of Baroque architecture.


4. Le Invalides – Paris, France

Le Invalides in the 7th arrondissement of Paris is a remarkable set of buildings containing museums and monuments all relating to the military history of France. The buildings also contain a hospital and retirement home for war veterans. The most popular part of Le Invalides is the gold domed building which serves as a burial site for the war heroes of France.


5. The Wurzburg Residence - Wurzburg, Germany

Built by Balthasar Neumann, The Wurzburg Residence in Wurzburg, Germany is characterized by unity of its style and unsupported vaulted ceiling features. Interiors of the residence include the grand staircase, the chapel, and the grand salon. It was heavily damaged during World War II and restoration has been in place since 1945.


6. St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basilica is a beautiful late Renaissance church in Vatican City known as one of the largest churches in the world and the burial site of Saint Peter. Designed by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s Basilica is the most famous work of Renaissance architecture.


7. St. Paul’s Cathedral – London, England

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is largely recognized by its 111 meter dome. Built for Paul the Apostle, the cathedral was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962. St. Paul’s Cathedral is a central icon in the English national identity and is often used in promotional materials for London.


8. The Church of Gesu - Rome, Italy

The Church of Gesu in Rome was first the first church built by the Jesuits to impress and illustrate their affluence. The church’s interior is characterized by its magnificent stuccos, marbles, sculpture and frescoes. The Church of Gesu has served as the model church for numerous churches around the world including the Church of St. Michael in Munich and Corpus Christi Church in Niasviz.


9. Saints Peter and Paul Church - Krakow, Poland

Popular for its statues of 12 disciples lining its front fence, Saints Peter and Paul Church in Krakow, Poland is one of the most striking examples of Italian Baroque architecture influence in Poland. Built in between 1597-1619 by Giovanni Maria Bernardoni, it is the biggest church in Krakow.


This article was written by Walter Godinez.