Itinerary B

[3] Lapis lazuli: the precious stones of antiquity

An altarpiece depicting the Ascension, painted by Vincenzo da Pavia in 1533, stands at the centre of the high altar, while a sumptuous tabernacle made of lapis lazuli sits beneath it. Known since ancient times, and coming from China and Afghanistan, lapis lazuli had a price similar to gold. Deep blue in colour, their use, like that of purple, was a characteristic and symbol of luxury.