As would happen to Giulio Romano in a completely different era, the understanding of the various details deviated - a trait quite typical of Alberti's genius. They were, nonetheless, united in a higher equilibrium, which would be transformed into a more modern approach to building from references to antiquity.
It should be noted that the late Gothic bell tower, which was begun in 1413, constituted an objective limit in the construction of the new church. The tower was not knocked down, but was to some extent incorporated into the general plan of the new vision for the city.
Are the current structures in line with Alberti's plans or are they the result of compromises made during construction? It is difficult to provide a conclusive answer to this question. It is also interesting to note how much the overall appearance of this vast basilica, situated within a small piazza, can be attributed to the artistic climate in Mantua at the time, then dominated by the teaching of Andrea Mantegna. Finally, it should be stressed that the exterior was once completely coloured, as can be witnessed from the fresco fragments that are still visible on a small section on the right-hand side. The impact of the colours must have been quite powerful: this we can deduce from tests conducted on residual pigments from the exterior and on a painting from the second half of the 18th century, which shows the church according to its original design.