Tree cathedral grows in Northern Italy

Anybody that’s ever been to Europe has surely been inside one of the continent’s many cathedrals. But even if you’ve seen all the stone and stained glass you’d ever care to see, the Northern Italian city of Bergamo is giving the cathedral a fresh look by making one of the structures entirely out of living trees.

The man behind the work is the recently deceased Giuliano Mauri, an Italian artist who was commissioned as part of a project for the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity. The frame of the building will initially be made up of more than 1,800 fir tree poles, 600 chestnut branches, and 6000 meters of hazel branch, planted in-between with growths of live Beech trees. As the Beeches grow, the wood frame will decompose, allowing the living trees to take over the structure.

Mauri’s work is not only a novel work of art, it’s an interesting contrast to the more permanent stone halls of worship that have come to dominate our images of Christian Europe. A blending of the natural, the artistic and the religious, all in one. Head on up to Bergamo, about 40km Northeast of Milan, if you’re interested in paying a visit.

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