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Double-bell tower churches

The very first church design with a double-bell tower was made in the middle of the 16th century when the great Italian architect Antonio Palladio built a small church (tempietto) at the Villa Barbaro in Maser. A half century later the architect K. Maderna repeated this façade composition at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Rome.

In 1632 at the entrance of the Pantheon in Rome, Gianlorenzo Bernini made two small bell towers (nicknamed by the Romans as ``Bernini’s donkey ears’’), which were torn down when the church was restored in 1852. In this manner, the Pantheon also counted among double-bell tower churches in the era of Classicism, and is one of the sources of the architectural variation on this theme.

A key role in opening Russia to the double-bell tower church was played by the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky monastery that was built by I. E. Starov in 1776 to 1790. Empress Catherine II approved the plan in February 1776 because the classical forms of the Palladian style were harmonious with her tastes for Antiquity.

It was no accident that when in the early 1780s the Empress decided to build churches in her new taste in the four villages close to her main summer residence in Tsarskoe Selo that she entrusted the work to the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi, who was a faithful follower of Palladio.