Abbey of Santissima Trinità

Venosa, Italy

The Abbey of Santissima Trinità is a Roman Catholic abbey complex at Venosa. The architecture of the abbey shows Roman, Lombard, and Norman influences. The complex lies within the archaeological park of Venosa.

The date of construction of the monastery is unknown; some elements may date from the eighth century. A foundation date of 954 AD is documented in the spurious Chronicon Cavense of the forger, scholar and priest Francesco Maria Pratilli (1689–1763). Following the Council of Melfi in 1059, the church was transformed from a cathedral to an abbey by a bull of Pope Nicholas II, and the number of monks increased from 20 to 100. In the same year he invested Robert Guiscard as Duke of Puglia and Calabria, and Guiscard made the abbey the religious centre of his domain.

The old church stands on the site of an Imperial Roman building, probably a domus, which shows traces both of earlier Republican occupation and of later Late Classical modification. Some walls of the church are built directly on the mosaic floors of the earlier structure.

To the south of the church and oriented at right-angles to it are the remains of an early Christian basilica, probably built in the late fifth or early sixth century, with a hexagonal font in a trefoil apse.

Old church

The Romanesque entrance to the church is flanked by a pair of stone lions. The church is laid out on a typical early Christian basilica plan, with a narthex and atrium, a wide central nave and lateral aisles, transept and semi-circular apse with ambulatory. Alterations were made by the Lombards in the 10th century,[citation needed] and by the Normans between the 11th and 13th centuries. Two Corinthian columns stand in the nave.

In the right aisle is the Hauteville Tomb, in which five members of the Norman Hauteville family are buried. Their bones, previously buried separately, were gathered into a single monument in the mid-16th century by Agostino Gorizio Barba da Novara, bailiff of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem.

In the left aisle is the tomb of Aberada or Alberada of Buonalbergo, who married Robert Guiscard in 1053 but was repudiated by him for the Lombard princess Sichelgaita of Salerno. Aberada's son by Guiscard, Bohemond I of Antioch, hero of the First Crusade, died in Bari in 1111 and buried in Canosa di Puglia.

Construction of L'Incompiuta began in the last quarter of the 11th century. Use was made of materials from monuments of various civilizations, including the Roman, Lombard and Jewish. The layout is unusual for Italy, and French in conception; it shows similarities to that of the cathedrals of Aversa and Acerenza.



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Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Ilario Bonomi (3 years ago)
Astounding to find a treasure of this magnitude completely abandoned to itself, with no one caring who enters and who leaves and the protection of the wonderful internal environments, which are literally overflowing with frescoes, mosaics and sculptures ranging over several centuries. Do not forget the crypt, where you can still see other frescoes. When will an entrance ticket that allows better use (perhaps with guided tours, even to the former abbey environments) and greater protection of the heritage preserved here?
Olivier Mondet (3 years ago)
Very nice archaeological site and abbeys. One is not complete.
Kendra Studio Esoterico (4 years ago)
I was delighted, church open to the public, free admission. Aesthetically it is very impactful and it is possible to admire many original frescoes of the time and the statues. Moreover, inside the church it is possible to admire the original remains of the abbey and some archaeological finds abroad. Too bad for the closed book store to which we could not access. I will be back!
Lorenzo de Conciliis (4 years ago)
The old abbey is beautiful. The archaeological park is interesting and with excellent explanations. The unfinished abbey is not to be missed, romantic and evocative
nicola (5 years ago)
One of the most important places of worship of the Vulture. It contains remains of ancient structures dating back to the Roman period and, in stratification, dating back to the Normans and the Lombards. Benedictine abbey built around the 5th and 6th centuries, on an ancient pagan temple. I attach photos with the times of the Holy Masses, scheduled for next Sunday, dedicated to the SS. Trinity.
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