Basilica of Sant'Abbondio

Como, Italy

The current edifice of Basilica of Sant'Abbondio rises over a pre-existing 5th century Palaeo-Christian church entitled to Sts. Peter and Paul, built by order of St. Amantius of Como, third bishop of the city. Erected c. 1 km outside the city's walls, it was intended to house several relics of the two saints which Amantius had brought from Rome.

The basilica acted as bishop's seat until 1007. Six years later bishop Alberic moved the seat within the walls. The basilica was then entrusted to the Benedictines who, between 1050 and 1095, rebuilt it in Romanesque style. The new edifice was dedicated to Amantius' successor, Abundius. The structures of the Palaeo-Christian church, discovered in 1863 during a restoration, are still marked by black and pale marble stones in the pavement.

The new basilica had a nave and four aisles. It was consecrated by pope Urban II on June 3, 1095.

The church has two notable bell towers rising at the end of the external aisles, in the middle of the nave. The sober façade, once preceded by a portico, has seven windows and a portal. Notable is the external decoration of the choir's windows. There are also Romanesque bas-reliefs and, in the apse, a notable cycle of mid-14th-century frescoes. Under the high altar are the Abundius' relics.

The medieval monastery annexed to the church, recently restored, will act as the seat of the local faculty of Jurisprudence.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1050-1095
Category: Religious sites in Italy

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Emmanuel Ramirez (4 months ago)
This is the second oldest church according to our guide. Unlike so many churches in Europe, which are often a mixture of various styles, here one finds quite a rather unaltered Romanesque construction. The Basilica, built in the 11th century over an even older church as has been found out by recent excavations, is aesthetically very pleasing - from the exterior as well as inside. There are also some wall paintings, although they date from the 14th century. In the middle are the relics of Saint Abbondio, a local bishop, and of two of his successors, rather unknown saints elsewhere. Next to the church is a courtyard, recently restored, which now gets used by the town's university
filip321 (9 months ago)
Astonishing view and great architecture!
M (9 months ago)
Beautiful and worth to visit
Robert Dammers (10 months ago)
Fascinating. The second-oldest cathedral in Como, built on the foundations of the oldest.
Aneta Nováková (15 months ago)
To feel silence and peace - come in.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.