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0116 Katarina Horvat-Levaj, The Sicilian Architect Tommaso Maria Napoli and the Baroque Cathedral of Dubrovnik

RIHA Journal 0116 | 6 February 2015

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

Katarina Horvat-Levaj

Peer review and editing managed by:

Andrej Žmegač, Institut za povijest umjetnosti / Institute of Art History, Zagreb


Richard Bösel, Renata Novak Klemenčič


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.



  1. The distinctive city-monument of Dubrovnik is world famous primarily for its historical centre built in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance within the impressive fortification perimeter, which earned the city the coveted status on the UNESCO list of world heritage. However, no less valuable is the Baroque transformation of the medieval-plan city, which the independent government of the Dubrovnik Republic managed to create during the reconstruction of the city after the catastrophic earthquake of 1667. With the calculated politics of the Senate – "Vijeće umoljenih" (Consilium Rogatorum) and the skilful help of diplomatic representatives in foreign countries, especially Abbot Stjepan Gradić in Rome, architects and engineers from Italy were employed on this all-encompassing task. Through their collaboration with local builders the city successfully returned to function in a relatively short period of time, and gained a new Baroque countenance. Many of the Italian architects arrived as relatively anonymous people, for whom the Dubrovnik engagement was the height of their career. Others became affirmed experts, but they did not succeed their full potential before they left Dubrovnik, which proved to be just a way station in their careers.1 However, one architect demonstrated a high level of artistic talent throughout the important centres of the European Baroque and proved to be an indispensable part of the formation of Dubrovnik's Baroque architecture. This was the Sicilian architect and Dominican, Tommaso Maria Napoli, and the present day monument with which he made his strongest mark is the most exceptional Baroque building in Dubrovnik, its Cathedral.

  2. In academic literature Tommaso Napoli was recognised first and foremost for his architectural works in Bagheria near Palermo – the Valguarnera and Palagonia villas, which have been highly esteemed by art historians such as Rudolf Wittkower, as examples of the Sicilian contribution to the development of the European Baroque.2 Christian Norberg-Schulz characterises Napoli as an inventive genius, architect, and mathematician whose plans of the Sicilian villas represent original variations of the usual concepts of Baroque garden palaces.3 Salvatore Boscarino explains the complexity of Napoli's Villas through the influences of his numerous trips to Rome, Dalmatia, Austria, and Hungary.4 One step further in this regard was made by Erik Henry Neil, who made a monographic presentation of the life and work of the distinctive architect, with works not just from the beginning and end of his career in his hometown of Palermo, but also in the wider expanse of Europe, from Naples and Rome to Vienna and the border areas of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire, where – accompanying Eugene of Savoy – Napoli gained experience designing fortifications.5 Thanks to Neil's collaboration with Croatian art historians6 his monograph included the Dubrovnik segment of Napoli's works that occured during his nine-year term as a state architect.7 The aim of this article is to draw attention to the results of recent research connected to the role that Tommaso Napoli played in the reconstruction of the building of the Dubrovnik Cathedral after the earthquake of 1667, shedding new light on both the architect and the Cathedral.

  3. Due to its imposing volume and spatial organisation as a three-nave basilica with a transept and a dome over the crossing, and the importance of its role as the church of the Dubrovnik Archdiocese and the Dubrovnik Republic, the Baroque Cathedral of the Assumption (1671-1713) has long drawn the attention of researchers. The information on the commission of the cathedral design and its ongoing construction are, therefore, well known: in 1671 Stjepan Gradić ordered the design from the Roman architect Andrea Bufalini, with the approval of the Senate. At first, the construction was led by Roman architects Paolo Andreotti (1672-74) and Pietro Antonio Bazzi (1677-78), subsequently by the Sicilian architect Tommaso Maria Napoli (1689-98) and finally the Dubrovnik builder, Ilija Katičić (1704-13).8 However, one question has remained unresolved: during the construction that lasted over four decades, was the Cathedral created according to the original Roman design, or did the individual architects change anything?

  4. Research at the State Archives in Dubrovnik, which began over ten years ago,9 shed light upon the aforementioned dilemma by showing that the only leader of construction that engaged in radical, characteristic and stylistic changes to the design was Tommaso Napoli. Given that the building of the Cathedral was organised and financed by the Dubrovnik Republic, every great change had to be approved at Senate meetings, and the decisions on changing "the Roman archetype" are recorded in the Acta Consilii Rogatorum but only during the period when the Sicilian was construction leader. Moreover, since the Acta Sanctae Mariae Maioris holdings included the "measures and estimates" (misura e stima) for all of the stone elements for the architectural sculptures on the exterior and interior walls of the original Cathedral, which Stjepan Gradić added to accompany the design by Andrea Bufalini, a precise comparison between the designed and completed cathedrals could be accomplished. With comparative research in Rome and Sicily, Napoli's changes to the Bufalini design are placed in their appropriate context.


Stjepan Gradić and Andrea Bufalini – designing the Cathedral (1671-1673)

  1. The main incentive for constructing the new Baroque Cathedral was the previously mentioned earthquake that hit Dubrovnik on 6 April 1667. While other sacral and public buildings, despite heavy damage, remained in such a state that they could be restored, "the pride of the city of Dubrovnik", the Romanesque Cathedral church, was instantaneously turned into rubble.10 However, from this tragedy happier circumstances emerged: in Rome, the people of Dubrovnik had a world-renowned compatriot, a man of great culture and well developed political connections, a priest, diplomat, and scientist – Stjepan Gradić (Stefano Gradi, Dubrovnik, 1613 – Rome, 1683).11 Therefore, Abbot Gradić was the first man to whom the people of Dubrovnik went for help, asking him to intervene on their behalf with the Pope and sympathetic statesmen. Gradić immediately engaged himself in every manner possible to help Dubrovnik,12 and within the wide spectrum of his efforts towards the reconstruction of the city, from raising funds to sending craftsmen and builders, his main task was the construction of a new cathedral (Fig. 1).

1 The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, Dubrovnik, view from the north with the city bell-tower and the church of St. Blaise in the foreground (photo: P. Mofardin)

  1. As could be expected, Stjepan Gradić chose the designer for the Cathedral in Rome. It was the previously mentioned architect, engraver, and geographer, Andrea Bufalini (Pietro Andrea, Pier Andrea Buffalini).13 Although he was without a great opus (at least not one that is known), he was part of the prestigious Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon, and a member of the Academy of St. Luke, where he also became a professor.14 In addition, Bufalini was connected with the Croatian fraternity of St. Jerome in Rome, who gathered in the church San Girolamo degli Schiavoni (dei Croati), during the period when Gradić was the head of their chapter.15 However, the key criterion why Gradić chose Bufalini was certainly in accordance with the postulate he had often pointed out, that "the commissioner is the first architect of the building",16 with the possibility of participating in the creation of the design. This included the implementation of his fundamental idea that the Cathedral should be, as was the previous cathedral, a three-nave building with a dome, while respecting the limitations laid down by the Senate, that the Baroque Cathedral should be based on the foundations of the Romanesque one. Thanks to Gradić's numerous textual interpretations of the design, made in 1671 and then elaborated over the next two years, we can today reconstruct its entire appearance with great certainty, despite the fact that the wooden models (maquettes) with which it was presented have long since disappeared.

  2. Bufalini's conceptual design of the Cathedral, unanimously accepted by the Senate at the beginning of 1672,17 was accompanied by Gradić's study Istruzione per la fabbrica del Duomo di Ragusa, where alongside the explanation of the design and the description of the construction he also gave instructions for the sequence of construction.18 Although the building began in spring of the same year19 under the leadership of the architect and surveyor Paolo Andreotti, who was also chosen in Rome by Gradić,20 the collaboration of the design partners Gradić and Bufalini continued. Firstly, unsatisfied with the way Andreotti did "the measurements and estimates" of the stone elements, which coated the exterior and interior surfaces of the walls in the course of construction, Stjepan Gradić made another extensive study: Discorso sopra l'apalto delle cave di travertino,21 where in his discussion on the method of measuring and choosing stone, he assessed all of the stone elements of the Cathedral, giving their dimensions in Roman "palmus" (palm length).22 The most demanding parts of the Cathedral, the main façade and dome23 after much fine-tuning became the subject of separate detailed designs, which were also sent from Rome to Dubrovnik in 1672 and 1673, accompanied by Gradić's explanations and measurements of the stone elements.24

  3. Therefore, the Dubrovnik Cathedral was designed as a three-nave vaulted basilica with a transept and a dome over its crossing, with four pairs of side chapels and two sacristies (one sacristy and a reliquary) and a rectangular sanctuary (Fig. 2). Arcades on square pillars divide the cathedral aisles, while massive and elaborate piers on a trapezoid plan under the dome form the oblique angles of the centralized crossing (Fig. 3, 4). The floor of the Cathedral was designed at an elevated level so stairs lead up to the numerous entrances: three portals on the main façade at the axis of each aisle, and two side portals.

  4. The classic spatial conception of the Cathedral is evident in its articulation into three classical orders with linear mouldings of the portals and windows. The large order of Corinthian pilasters dominates the space, and partitions the pillars of the nave and the crossing as well as the walls of the transept and sanctuary. It is topped with continuous entablature and attica on which, according to the design, the barrel vaulting was meant to rest. The space of the cross-vaulted lower aisles and the chapels is articulated by a small order of Tuscan pilasters that support the arcade. The façades are divided in the same way, since in his instructions Gradić specially emphasised the need to unify the exterior and interior sculptural elements, so that the finishing cornice should be at the same level on the exterior and the interior (Fig. 5).

2 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, floor plan and longitudinal cross section (architectural drawing: I. Tenšek, I. Valjato-Vrus)

3 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, view towards the sanctuary (photo: P. Mofardin)

4 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, central nave and transept (photo: P. Mofardin)

5 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, arcades and the great order of pilasters in the main nave (photo: P. Mofardin)

  1. The complexity of the articulation and ornamentation accentuate the main façade with wider sections comprising the lower zone, and a narrower upper section with gables (Fig. 6). The emphasis on the central axis of the façade follows the double overhang stressing the central field with the main portal as well as the gradual increase in the sculptural qualities of the supports; from the pilasters to the free standing Corinthian columns (Fig. 7). The upper floor was supposed to be divided by composite pilasters and window-aediculae were successfully used to emphasise the central zone. The difference in width between the upper and lower parts of the façade was bridged by volutes, while stone balustrades, with pedestals for sculpture, can be found above the side chapels, extended above the entablature and over the sacristy along the side façade, thus – according to the design – concealing the roof. The monumental dome also emphasises the uniformity of the exterior and interior shaping, with composite pilasters on the high drum, and with an elegant lantern.

6 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, view of the main façade and the northern side façade (photo: P. Mofardin)

7 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, main façade, the expanding sculptural articulation of the façade design towards the central section (photo: P. Mofardin)


Paolo Andreotti and Pietro Antonio Bazzi – constructing the Cathedral according to the design (1672-1680)

  1. A comparison between the described and the completed cathedral shows that in the period between 1672 and c. 1680 the construction was carried out according to Bufalini's design, approximately up to the height of the great Corinthian order, including the vaulted aisles and side chapels. Although it was not possible to completely adhere to the design even in this phase, we can assume that the changes were more due to technical than design reasons. As Bufalini designed the Cathedral in Rome, without his own evaluation of the situation on the ground, but rather on the basis of a ground plan of the construction site sent to him from Dubrovnik,25 problems were encountered in "putting the design into practice" at the very foundation stage.

8 Dubrovnik, the central space of the city with the square around the Cathedral, as conceived after the earthquake in 1667, layout at ground level (architectural drawing: I. Tenšek, I. Valjato-Vrus)

  1. The first change was passed at the beginning of construction in April 1672, which included a provision from the Senate that "the façade should be turned towards the east"26 (Fig. 8). Namely, as was customary in the Middle Ages, the Romanesque Cathedral had a sanctuary in the east while the main façade faced west, towards a small square with irregular contours (Bunićeva poljana) and with a baptistery and an unfinished gothic bell-tower, which was spared in the earthquake.27 The reorientation of the Baroque Cathedral arose from a new sensibility for space, because the extent of destruction on the eastern side was such that it enabled the formation of a wider square28 (Držićeva poljana) open towards the Rector's Palace Square (Pred Dvorom) and the main street (Placa – Stradun), and connected with the port by a city gate. Although the decision to form a larger Cathedral square was of great importance, it also caused certain difficulties in the construction of the foundation, since the heavy Baroque façade with projections and columns had to be placed on top of the semi-circular apse of the earlier sanctuary instead of on the strong bearing wall of the Romanesque façade. In addition, the first construction leader, Paolo Andreotti, abandoned the key decree of the Senate that the new Cathedral should be completely founded on the old (Fig. 9).29 The reason for this could have been structural, i.e. he may have thought that the new foundations were safer than the old ones, but it could also have been down to aesthetic sensibility, because by rotating the axis of the Cathedral by a few degrees towards the south he managed to make the corners of the new Cathedral right angles, and to better assimilate the façade with the surrounding environment. At the same time, probably because of the size of the Romanesque structure, Andreotti failed to meet Gradić's request that the identical architectural elements of the exterior and interior walls be on the same level, putting the interior plinths and bases on a higher level instead.

9 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, the foundations of the Baroque Cathedral in relation to the Romanesque Cathedral, layout and transverse cross-section with a view towards the sanctuary (architectural drawing: I. Tenšek, I. Valjato-Vrus)

  1. However, despite these changes, or perhaps precisely because of them, Gradić considered Andreotti – an experienced Roman surveyor who had even been hired by Carlo Rainaldi30 – to be "the best architect for the execution of the design".31 The construction progressed well during the first two years. In accordance with Gradić's directions, raising of the walls was closely followed by stone panelling and the erection of ornamentation and architectural elements including plinths, bases, pilasters, framed openings, as well as the exterior façade of finely carved rectangular blocks – pelle piane. The rhythm of the production is evident from Andreotti's signed expenditures for a number of stonemasons.32 The Senate, however, was less forgiving: after accusing the first construction leader of disobedience, and after a series of conflicts, in April 1674 Paolo Andreotti went to Rome for a vacation, from which he never wanted to return.33 The construction was quickly halted, and Gradić once again found himself in Rome with the task of finding a new leader of construction. He even consulted Carlo Fontana, and in the end arranged to employ the relatively unknown Pietro Antonio Bazzi.34

  2. Bazzi arrived in Dubrovnik at the beginning of 1677, and considering the work achieved on the Dubrovnik Cathedral during Andreotti's tenure, we can assume that the construction of the walls and their travertine coating had reached the level of the capitals. The Corinthian capitals were the most demanding aspect of masonry in the Dubrovnik Cathedral, and they were its main decoration. Therefore, as we can see from the special model of a ʺlargeʺ capital made at Bufalini's recommendation, the designer gave much attention to this element so that, in Gradić's words, "this type of decoration would be carried out carefully and with the given measures"35 (Fig. 10). However, Bazzi soon came into conflict with the Senate, this time because of payment, and after a year, in February 1678, he left Dubrovnik.36 The Cathedral was once again left without a construction leader, but for some time the works continued under the leadership of local craftsmen, which is demonstrated by certain discrepancies in some elements and their more traditional forms. For example, the arched windows of the side chapels are at odds with the barrel vaulting,37 and archaic rosettes edged with geometric designs are modelled alongside the Corinthian capitals of the pilasters in the main nave.38

10 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, the capitals of the columns on the façade (photo: M. Drmić)

  1. Despite this the construction once again quickly came to a halt, and the fact that they did not even try to find another architect in Rome highlights the difficult situation in Dubrovnik caused by political problems with the Ottoman Empire. When we add to this that Stjepan Gradić – the main initiator of all of the efforts in the construction and financing of the Cathedral – died in 1683, it is understandable that after Bazzi's departure it took more than a decade before the conditions would be right for Dubrovnik to once again invite an architect from Rome. The construction of the Cathedral took off in a new period, by then it was the era of the Late Baroque, with a new, more than established person in the role of construction leader, which is reflected in the substantial interventions in Bufalini's design.


Tommaso Maria Napoli – altering the Cathedral design (1689-1698)

  1. After decades of crisis a new era in the history of the construction of the Dubrovnik Cathedral began in 1689, with the architect Tommaso Maria Napoli (1659-1725), a Dominican from Palermo. Although the circumstances of Napoli's arrival are shrouded in a veil of secrecy because there were no more letters from Stjepan Gradić to the Senate, it would appear that Gradić was also indirectly responsible for this highly successful choice. Given that Napoli was a student or a follower of Gradić's acquaintance and consultant Carlo Fontana in Rome,39 it is most likely that it was Fontana who recommended this talented Sicilian architect to the people of Dubrovnik.

  2. Immediately upon his arrival in Dubrovnik Tommaso Napoli joined the Dominican monastery.40 By the decision of the Senate of 13 July 1689 he was awarded a yearly wage of 100 ducats, in addition to his travel expenses from Rome.41 However, already in November 1690 the Senate retroactively raised his wage to 200 ducats,42 and his special status is also evidenced by the permission given to him to stay in the archbishop's residence.43

  3. The reason for this is definitely the professional reputation that this thirty year old had managed to achieve before his arrival in Dubrovnik, although his masterpieces, the Late Baroque villas Valguarnera (1712) and Palagonia (1715) in Bagheria near Palermo, which earned him a place in anthologies of the European Baroque,44 were built later. After Napoli had joined the Dominican order in his home city (1676), he first studied architecture and mathematics at the Dominican seminary in Palermo with the architect Andrea Cirrincione, then continued his studies in Naples (1679-80), and subsequently finished them in Palermo (1682).45 He was appointed as the secretary and reader for the monastery of St. Dominic in Palermo, and after the death of his mentor he became the leader of the restoration of a well-known architectural complex with a three-nave basilica and extended side chapels, like the Dubrovnik Cathedral.46 Sources from 1687-88 record his stay in Rome, where he published his treatise Utriusque Architecturae Compendium with geometric formulas for polygonal fortresses, and a special chapter devoted to palaces and their stairways as central areas.47 The aforementioned topic announced his future direction, which he would in part realise in Dubrovnik, while the dedications of two copies of his treatise clearly speak of his Roman schooling and life plans. One copy of the treatise was dedicated to Carlo Fontana,48 who influenced other Sicilian architects in the circle of the Academy of St. Luke, like Filippo Juvarra, as well as architects from central Europe, like Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt. The other copy Napoli dedicated to the Neapolitan general Antonio Caraffa,49 who was in service in Hungary, thus paving the way to his career as a military engineer in the service of Eugene of Savoy, which had begun with a trip to Vienna and his involvement in liberation Mohács, Osijek (1687), and Belgrade (1688).50 The next year Tommaso Maria Napoli was invited to Dubrovnik.

  4. Although the construction of the Cathedral was undoubtedly the primary task of Dubrovnik, it would appear that while Tommaso Napoli was the state architect of the Dubrovnik Republic the most urgent task was finishing the Gothic / Renaissance Rector's Palace, which was also badly damaged in the earthquake. Immediately involving himself in the renovation, Napoli enriched the traditional concept of local craftsmen with expressive Late Baroque architectural sculpture, as well as with the distinctive oval Rector's Chapel, dedicated in 1691.51 The completion of the renovation and the return of the Rector to the Palace brought another important task which was entrusted to Napoli: converting the Rector's former temporary residence, the first municipal house on Placa (between Zlatarska and Kovačka Streets), into the temporary residence of the archbishop.52 Finished in 1691,53 the residence housed Giovanni Vincenzo Lucchesini (archbishop 1689-93),54 and soon afterwards Napoli himself (1694), as it comprised of two individual apartments. When the construction of the Cathedral was resumed after a pause of an entire decade, it was necessary to implement certain preparations, as we can read from the decisions of the Senate, who at a meeting held in January 1690 decided that at the next meeting "there will be no discussion on anything other than the construction of the Cathedral and armoury",55 so that they could choose the stewards of the construction,56 and not until one year later, on 16 January 1691, they decided to entrust the restoration of the Cathedral to them.57

  5. However, Tommaso Napoli was an ambitious architect with the experience of building a similar basilica in Palermo, and with a knowledge of Roman and Neapolitan Baroque sacral architecture, which had changed greatly in the twenty years since the emergence of Bufalini's design. So he wanted to intervene in the unrealised design of the upper zones of Dubrovnik Cathedral, which, of course could not happen without the approval of the Senate (Fig. 11). As early as 1691, on the meeting of 5 May ʺthe father architectʺ proposed that window openings should be made in the ʺcross vaultingʺ (i.e. the main nave and sanctuary), which was accepted with eleven votes (seven votes were cast against the motion).58 With haste, on 19 June, the Senate had to decide between the completion of the ʺcross vaulting in the Cathedral according to the architect's opinionʺ or keeping "the archetype created in Rome".59 They chose Napoli's proposed change of Bufalini's barrel vault with a cross vault by twelve votes to seven. Other than these important changes to the vaulting and lighting, about which there are written decisions, the Cathedral itself – through a comparison between the constructed building and Gradić's analyses ("measures and estimates") of Bufalini's design – shows that Napoli's interventions in the upper part of the Cathedral were far more radical (Fig. 12).

11 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, the upper zone of the Cathedral with terraces above the side chapels, made according to the design of Tommaso Napoli (photo: P. Mofardin)

12 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, Napoli's changes to Bufalini's design, transverse cross-section with a view towards the main façade, completed state (left), reconstructed original design (right) (architectural drawing: I. Tenšek, I. Valjato-Vrus)

  1. The differences between the planned design and the constructed Cathedral are noticeable at the level of the entablature, for which Gradić gave precise measurements, insisting that the interior and exterior should be made to be at the same level.60 However, the interior entablature in the nave, transept and sanctuary is lower, and the entablature on the main façade is raised, while on the side façades it is reduced to the architrave, on top of which rests the balustrade. The reason for the changes of the interior entablature is connected to the reduction in the height of the main nave of the Cathedral, which was achieved by reducing the attica. With the slight decrease of the architrave and cornice with indentations (the frieze remained the same as in the design) and the more noticeable lowering of the wall above the entablatures, Napoli made the attica almost a metre lower than it had been designed (Fig. 13). The attica, interspersed with pilasters above the curved entablature over the large order of Corinthian pillars, serves as a base for the stone transverse arches of the cross vaulting (Fig. 14).61 Through the introduction of this more modern type of vaulting, which covered the two-bay sanctuary as well as the four-bay nave, the walls were freed up to enable much larger windows to be punched into the walls than it would have been possible with barrel vaulting.

13 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, view of the attica and clerestory windows in the main nave modelled according to the design of Tommaso Napoli (photo: P. Mofardin)

14 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, cross vaulting in the main nave constructed according to the design of Tommaso Napoli (photo: P. Mofardin)

  1. The original appearance of the source of light for the main nave and the sanctuary of the Dubrovnik Cathedral is the greatest unknown factor of Bufalini's design, because Gradić does not mention it at all, neither in his measurements nor in his directions for the construction of the vaulting. Although the Senate approved Napoli's "opening" of the windows through the cross vaulting of the Cathedral, it is difficult to imagine that Bufalini had not foreseen clerestory windows in the basilica, they must have just been significantly smaller. Napoli's tall windows were placed in the axis of the bays – four pairs in the nave and two pairs in the sanctuary. Not only did they bring light into the Cathedral space, but their segmented lintels and sculpturally moulded stone frames indented with "ears" (from the interior and exterior sides) enriched the otherwise classical concept of architectural sculpture in the style of the Late Baroque (Fig. 15). Napoli gave special attention when making the interior stone frames of the upper rectangular window in the main façade (which was an integral part of the design), as well as its counterpart on the back wall of the sanctuary. In addition to the moulded stone frames with "ears", typical Late Baroque decorative details adorned the lintels, with textile motifs and garlands inserted into the central segment of the pediment (Fig. 16). Along with the prominent local masons like Jerolim Skarpa and Ilija Katičić, the artistry in these skilfully carved details was probably also demonstrated by the Neapolitan mason Nicolao dello Gaudio, who worked as Napoli's associate on similar projects in the Rector's Palace.62 This new sculptural repertoire was supposed to cover the portal of the Cathedral, as it seems evidenced by the decision of the Senate from 1693 to approve the design of the door.63 Considering that all of the portals of the Cathedral have linear mouldings and classical pediments in line with Bufalini's design, Napoli's recommendation in this section was probably not realised.

15 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, clerestory window from the main nave (photo: P. Mofardin)

16 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, window in the sanctuary with sculptural details made according to the design by Tommaso Napoli (photo: P. Mofardin)

  1. Napoli's intervention in Bufalini's design influenced the formation of the exterior of the upper part of the Cathedral just as radically. The main innovation were the terraces above the side chapels and the sacristy, as opposed to the single awning roofs covered with fluted balustrades envisaged in the design.64 But while the side balustrades needed to be raised above the entire entablature in Bufalini's design,65 and therefore on the higher level like the balustrades on the main façade, Napoli put them on the appropriate lower level, removing the frieze and cornice. In order for the balustrades of the terraces to be in harmony with the main façade, the façade entablature was raised (to the height of the balustrade), although between those two elements there was an obvious clash that could not be covered, not even with decorative elements of cornicing with ovulus – angular cones put between the dents.66 The construction of terraces above the vaulted side chapels created a need for articulating the walls that formed attics above the side aisles, which were, like the interior attica in the nave, articulated with pilasters and a narrow finishing cornice. Once again, we can recognise the hand of the local craftsman in the small transenne and the mascarones between them (Fig. 17).

17 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, view of the terraces and the upper area with buttresses for the vaulting, made according to the design by Tommaso Napoli (photo: P. Mofardin)

  1. In addition to introducing the terraces, undoubtedly inspired by the Sicilian architectural tradition that began with the already mentioned Dominican church in Palermo, Tommaso Napoli made a strong mark on the exterior appearance of the upper part of the nave, where he placed powerful buttresses with an effective appearance in the shape of a simple volute between the newly formed large windows. With special attention he designed the buttress-volutes in line with the main façade (Fig. 18, 19). The fact that it was formed in such a way that "on top they had a rich geometric bunch of large leaves, with their ends laid like a snail, stretched and gently twisted as though they were made of putty"67 clearly places the construction in the Late Baroque period, and speaks of the southern Italian roots of the author. The upper façade zone itself, between those volutes, was made according to the original design with the slight difference that instead of the planned composite order68 the Corinthian order was applied.

18 The Cathedral, Dubrovnik, buttresses from the vaulting of the main nave made according to the design by Tommaso Napoli (photo: P. Mofardin)