The Abbey of Viboldone was founded in 1176 and completed in 1348 by the Humiliati, an order of monks, nuns and lay people who worked in the abbey producing wool cloths and cultivated the nearby fields with innovative techniques.
After the suppression of the Humiliati by Pope Pius V (1571), the abbey went to the Olivetan Benedictines, who were forced to leave the abbey in 1773, when Lombardy fell in Austrian hands. After several years of abandonment, the abbey is currently home to the Community of Madre Margherita Marchi (Benedictine nuns) since 1941.
The façade (finished in 1348) is hut-shaped, with mullioned windows and visible brickwork with white stone decorations, and divided into three sectors by two semi-columns. The entrance portal is in white marble, and is surmounted by a lunette with marble sculptures of the 'Madonna with Child between the Saints Ambrose and John of Meda'. At its sides, two Gothic niches houses statues of the Sts. Peter and Paul. The door is in dark wood, and dates to the 14th century.
The bell tower has an appearance similar to that of the façade, with frames in cotto and small arcades at the bases of the double and triple mullioned windows. The latter are surmounted by small circular windows.
The interior is rather sober, with few decorations, aside from the extensive fresco decoration of the Giottesque school. It has a rectangular hall plan, with a nave and two aisles with five spans each (the first ones in Romanesque style, while the remaining ones are Gothic with cotto columns and high cross vaults). The arches are ogival.
The fresco decoration includes the Madonna in Maestà with Saints and the large Universal Judgement with, in the middle, Jesus and at his left the Damned, overlook by Satan. Other frescoes, depicting Renaissance musical instruments, are housed in the Music Hall, located in a building annexed to the church.References:
The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.
The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.
The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.