Abbey of Santa Giustina

Padua, Italy

The Abbey of Santa Giustina is attached to the basilica which was built in the 520s AD by the Prefect Opilius to house the remains of St. Justina of Padua and of other Christian martyrs of the city. By the 10th century the community has been under the Rule of St. Benedict.

At that point the monastic community undertook renovations of the basilica. In 1110 the abbey was sacked by the troops of the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V during his invasion of Lombardy, in order to punish the monks for their loyalty to Pope Pascal II. The basilica complex was devastated in 1117 by a very strong earthquake which wreaked havoc throughout northern Italy and Germany. After the basilica and monastery were rebuilt, excavations resumed and in 1174 the remains of the patroness of the abbey was discovered, as were those identified in 1177 as those of Luke the Evangelist.

A period of decline in the observance of its way of life began to develop in the monastic community. The abbey reached the height of its influence under the leadership of Ludovico Barbo. He was successful and the abbey became the nucleus of the Congregation of Santa Giustina, which spread to include monasteries throughout Europe who came under the guidance of the Abbot of Santa Giustina. The congregation later became called the Cassinese Congregation. The abbey developed ties with centers of learning across the continent.

The life of the abbey came to an end in 1797 when, along with all other religious communities, it was suppressed in the occupation of Italy by the French Revolutionary Army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, which established the Cisalpine Republic in the city. Its artworks and the most valuable collections of the abbatial library were sent to Paris by the occupying forces. The monks were expelled and the buildings and property were sold off in 1810. The cloisters were then used as a military hospital, later as a barracks.

The buildings were returned to the Catholic Church in 1917 and Pope Benedict XV re-established the abbey with all its ancient rights and privileges. The basilica and abbey now have the government status of a national monument and operate under the authority of the Superintendent of Monuments and Civil Heritage.

The building is a Latin cross that extends from east to west. At 118.5 metres long and 82 metres wide, the Basilica of Santa Giustina is seventh largest in Italy. There are three main chapels. The presbytery with the choir, and the two chapels for saints Luke and Matthew that form the transepts. Each has a semicircular apse and are flanked by two chapels. Each aisle has six smaller chapels, square plan. The 26 pillars supporting the roof domes, each dome is set directly on the barrel vaults. The central bays are covered by eight domes covered with lead: the central one, with the lantern, is almost 70 metres high and is topped by a statue of copper depicting Santa Giustina, about 5 metres high. The floor of the basilica was laid between 1608 and 1615 on geometric design, with yellow, white and red marble. There are many pieces of Greek marble, from the Basilica Opilionea.

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Details

Founded: 520 AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Torry Clark (2 years ago)
Beautiful monastery. Not nearly as ornate at the Basilica of St. Anthony but worthy of a visit.
Miroslaw Pieprzyk (2 years ago)
This is absolutely magnificent place. One of my favorite saint Anthony. I was so grateful to see the beautiful art inducing wonderful fresco by maestro Pietro Annigoni.
Nagothu Bhargav (3 years ago)
The Abbey is of the 10 the century named after the saint Giustina of 4th century. You can find great architecture of the ancient church, relics of the first bishop of Padua, St. Giustina, St. Luck the Evangelist and others. Benedictine Monks were living here from the 10th century.
Fr. Carlos Borja (3 years ago)
You can find the tombs of St Luke and St Matthias... Truly a hidden gem!!!
Hanna Astephan (3 years ago)
A nice place to visit. Images the nearby Prato della Vale are also included.
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