Old European towns old enough to have a prominent church seem to have one unifying characteristic. You stand in the shadow of the church, and even if it is a small chapel, the building has gravity. The very land emphasises the church’s presence. It isn’t just some fancy building down the street. The topography leads you to it’s foundations, rooted in the soil that feeds us. The town crouches in the church’s shadow, almost huddling around it for safety.
That must drive those European intellectuals nuts.