Just had to include three more favorite basilicas--before blasting you with marvelous bell towers.
First is Pisa's facade which takes the prize for most columns. And the baptistry and tower are coordinated! Columns are the dominant feature and all three structures were designed as synchronized whole. Sounds vaguely Leonardo-esque, doesn't it?
Then St Mark's in Venice--as you see, it is under renovation. But for flair and presentation, it is phenomenal. The wild assortment of decorations, statues, mosaics, and gargoyles remind one of the on-going Carnival atmosphere that Venice evokes. Picture the cathedral at one end of a huge square in which hundreds of people are feeding doves, others are drinking cafe, and a small stringed ensemble is playing classical music.
Milan is the cathedral of spires. I suppose they have been counted, but I have no clue how many there are. Seems there isn't a spot available that doesn't have one reaching up. Again, you see scaffolding: most cathedrals we saw were being cleaned or renovated. That is encouraging to someone who lives in Africa where buildings are just supposed to fall down and then be replaced.
Next time, I'll show you some bell towers and you'll see that Pisa's is leaning as much as ever.