Tree Cathedral in Italy Celebrates Nature

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Photo by Aldo Fedele

From the Sagra Familia in Barcelona, to the Buddhist cave temples, architects and artists around the world have used nature to inspire beautiful places of worship. But Italian artist Giuliano Mauri has taken the connection between nature and spirituality a step further. In his Cattedrale Vegetale (or Tree Cathedral), the church is not just a symbol of nature, it’s quite literally a part of it.

Located in Bergamo in northern Italy at the base of Mount Arera, the Tree Cathedral’s five-aisle basilica gets its structure from 42 columns, formed by weaving more than 600 chestnut and hazel branches around 1,800 fir tree poles, the branches curving at the top to form the arches. A single beech tree is planted inside each column. As the beech trees mature, they will eventually take over the man-made columns, allowing the cathedral to remain an evolving strucutre.

Mauri, who passed away in 2009, laid the groundwork for the cathedral in 2002 with a similar structure in Valsungana, Italy as part of Arte Sella, an exhibition of environmetnal and natural art. Many of Mauri’s previous works had focused on “natural architecture,” such as his Mills and Ladder of Paradise. But the Tree Cathedral is his best known work.

Check out some impressive photos of the Tree Catheral below. And if you’re interested in other churches built in the natural architecture style, check out the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral in Bedfordshire and the Cathedral of Trees by Milton Keynes.

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Image Credit: Virtual Sacred Space

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Image Credit: Pierangelo Zavatarelli

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Image Credit: Arte Sella

Image Credit for Aldo Fedele: New York Times

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About the Author

I'm an organic-eating, energy-saving naturalist who composts and tree hugs in her spare time. I have a background in environmental law, lobbying, and field work. I believe in God; however, I do not call myself a Christian or a Jew or a member of any religion. I am merely someone who finds a spiritual connection to all humans and the environment. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .