Basilica of San Gavino

Porto Torres, Italy

The Basilica di San Gavino (Basilica of Saint Gabinus) is a proto-Romanesque church in Porto Torres, Sardinia, Italy. A former cathedral, it is now a place for the veneration of local martyrs and a parish church.

Turris Libisonis (present day Porto Torres) was a bishopric seat from 489 until 1441, when the see was moved to nearby Sassari. The basilica is located in the Monte Angellu section of Porto Torres; an area where archaeological excavations have found a Paleo-Christian necropolis and two ancient basilicas, dating to the 5th – 7th centuries AD; one of which was built over the tomb of Saint Gabinus whose remains are interred in the present church.

The earliest known document mentioning the church dates to 1065. According to it, the church was founded in the early 11th century by Gonario I, giudice (duke) of Torres and Arborea, who commissioned the work to Pisan masters. The construction continued under his son Barisone I, and was inaugurated by the giudice Marianus I of Arborea and archbishop Constantine of Castra in 1080.

An epigraph in the Romanesque portal testifies restoration work in the 15th century, which introduced Catalan-Gothic elements.

In the 18th century the crypt was renovated to house the remains of Torres' martyrs found in 1614.

Architecture

The church is located between two courtyards, known as atrio Comita and atrio Metropoli. In the southern side is the main entrance, a 15th-century portal in Catalan Gothic style. It is surmounted by a rounded arch supported by two columns, whose capitals have angels with coats of arms.

The church has two apses, one on each shorter side of the rectangular plan. The exterior is decorated by blind columns and Lombard bands. The ceiling is covered with lead plates.

Interior

The interior has a nave and two aisles separated by two series of rounded arches which are supported by twenty-two columns, taken from ancient edifices, in gray marble and pink granite, and three pairs of cruciform pilasters. Most of the capitals are of Roman origin. The nave is some three time wider than the aisles, and is covered by wooden trusses; the aisles have instead cross vaults.

Roman sarcophagi housing the alleged remains of St. Gabinus and St. Ianuarius.

The high altar, which until the 19th century was in the middle of the nave, is now in the south-western apse; the opposing apse has a wooden catafalque of the 17th century, housing polychrome statues of the martyrs Gabinus, Protus and Ianuarius.

The aisles led to the anti-crypt, in Renaissance style with statues of martyrs, and the crypt, which houses ancient Roman sarcophagi; the latter in turn house remains attributed to the Turres' martyrs.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Angie Bassan (2 years ago)
It's a church, what else can I say ☺️
Edoardo Giacomini (2 years ago)
One of the oldest
Nina Laubič (2 years ago)
A very beautiful place. Basilica and park infront of it.
Gábor Horváth (2 years ago)
Very intresting. Going back in the times 2-3000 years b.C.
Paul Robinson (2 years ago)
Visited here on a day trip when docking in Porto Torres with Tui cruises.Basically there isn't a great deal to see or do in this dirty place.Having said that the beaches are clean but the town has dog mess everywhere⅞. Anyway we found this little place which is about a 20 minute walk from the town centre.It was built between 1030 and 1080 and has two apses facing each other.Refused to pay the entrance fee but from what I could see it there wasn't much to see inside.If you are religious then this may be for you.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.