The Duomo di Santa Tecla is considered to be the most ancient religious place in Este. The Christian community has worshipped continuously on this site over 1,000 years. Indeed, the earliest church, dedicated to the Virgin and the martyr, Santa Tecla, may have been built here between the 4th and 5th centuries.
The present Baroque building, the masterpiece of Antonio Gaspari, is 50 metres long, while its inner width and height are each 24 metres. The Duomo is covered with an oval dome and has eight radiating chapels: six quadrangular and two lateral, spatially elaborated and crowned by windowed drums with small oval cupolas. An imposing 50-metre-high campanile with a decorated clock dates from the 12–13th centuries. In 1295, the Magnifica Comunità reconstructed the church tower, which had been seriously damaged at the hands of Ezzelino da Romano in 1251.
The St Tecla’s cathedral consists of three chapels and six altars, the oratory of San Valentino, sacristies and a picture gallery.
The famous apsidal altarpiece, painted by Giovan Battista Tiepolo in 1759, is found in the main chapel. The painting depicts Santa Tecla praying to God the Father for Este’s liberation from the plague.
Among other artworks of the Duomo is a magnificent organ with 4,364 pipes. This precious instrument was made by Pietro Nachini in 1757 and enlarged in 1781 by his follower, Gaetano Callido, a grand master of organs from Este. Beneath the organ is a neo-Baroque wooden choir dating from 1909.