Church of Saint Mary of Bethlehem

Sassari, Italy

The Church of Santa Maria represents the heart of the traditions of Sassari. On August 14th, after a long and exhausting procession carrying huge decorated wooden pillars representing candles, members of the Gremi (Guilds) enter the church proudly, with their votive candles. A religious observance since the Middle Ages, this is the festival of the Candlesticks, which fulfills a promise made to the Virgin Mary of the Assumption for having saved the city from the plague.

The simple facade of the structure on the outside hides the magnificent art and historical richness that lies inside the Church.  Founded in the Roman Age, with the arrival of Franciscan monks during the thirteenth century it was extended, adapting it to the new Gothic Cistercian canons typical of the area around Tuscany and Umbria. After the Aragonese conquest, the nave and on the short transept of the church was enlarged and a series of little side chapels were added. The construction of a new dome led to the transformation of the church in the first half of the nineteenth century. The monastery complex was built a couple of years later and filled with exquisite architectural and decorative elements, still visible today. It's impossible to ignore the fourteenth century polychrome Catalan wooden statue of the Virgin of Bethlehem, also called Virgin of the Rose.

From the sacristy you can access the cloister, dating from the thirteenth century, in which you can admire the fountain known as the Brigliadore.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Harry Paul (4 years ago)
P Cat (4 years ago)
Impressive architectural structure and decorations
The Ice Lemur (5 years ago)
The place was pretty good, the architecture of the church is really cool, like me
Harm S. Rutgers (5 years ago)
Great church, impressive
Kamila Červená (8 years ago)
Marvellous, next to my opinion the most beautiful church in Sassari
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