0116 The Sicilian Architect Tommaso Maria Napoli and the Baroque Cathedral of Dubrovnik

  • Katarina Horvat-Levaj (Author)
    Senior research adviser, Institute of Art History, Zagreb

    Graduated art history and archaeology and got her master's and doctor's degrees at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. Since 1982 she has been employed at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb, where she is now head of the scientific-research project Architecture and Town Planning in Croatia, from the 16th to the 18th century – Origins and Context. She teaches as assistant professor at the Art History Department of the Faculty of Philosophy of Split University. She was awarded Croatian Annual National Award for Science (2003) for the book Baroque Palaces in Dubrovnik, and the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts' Annual Award (2012) for the book Academic Church of St Catherine in Zagreb for which she also received Croatian Society of Art Historians’ Annual Award. 

Identifiers (Article)


The design of the Dubrovnik Cathedral (1671-1713) – a monumental three-nave basilica with a dome over the crossing – was commissioned, thanks to Abbot Stjepan Gradić, from the Roman architect Andrea Bufalini. Among the leaders of construction, which lasted for over four decades, the Sicilian architect Tommaso Maria Napoli stands out. During his nine-year stay in Dubrovnik (1689-98) he was the only one who engaged in radical changes in the design. Through his changes to the vaulting and lighting of the main nave and sanctuary, as well as the introduction of terraces above the side chapels, he gave the building better proportions, and moreover he balanced its volume by enriching the Cathedral with the plastic expressiveness characteristic of Sicilian architecture at that time. Napoli was the only architect involved in the construction of the Dubrovnik Cathedral who had an international reputation, from his native Sicily, to Naples, Rome, and the Habsburg Monarchy. This makes his inventive corrections to Bufalini's design even more significant.


Dubrovnik, cathedral, Baroque, three-nave basilica, Tommaso Maria Napoli, Rome, Sicily