San Lanfranco Church

Pavia, Italy

San Lanfranco is a Romanesque-style Roman Catholic church and former abbey. A paleochristian church at the site, dedicated to the Holy Sepulcher (Santo Sepolcro) was located near here, and the first documentation of a monastery here date to 1090. The monastery became associated with the Vallumbrosan Order, and hosted the bishop Lanfranco Beccaria, till his death in 1198. Pope Alexander III elevated Lanfranco to sainthood the next year. This church, which held his relics, was rebuilt starting about this time, and leading to consecration in 1236, with the bell-tower dating to 1237, and the facade to 1257. The small cloister was designed in 1476 by the architect Giovanni Antonio Amadeo. Amadeo also designed and sculpted the elements of the Arca di San Lanfranco which serves as funereal monument and tomb to the saint.

Located outside the walls of Pavia, the abbey was frequently requisitioned by armies besieging the town. Over the years a number of events, including floods and fires, damaged the church and abbey. Soon after 1782, the monastery was suppressed.

While the exterior of the church is mainly plain brick, the interior still contains frescoes from the 13th to 15th centuries. Among the most notable, is a fresco depicting the murder of St Thomas Becket, whose life had parallels with San Lanfranco. The remains of the small cloister include Romanesque carvings on the columns. The larger cloister has 15th century Renaissance style decorations in the capitals. The tomb of the Saint (Arca de San Lanfranco) was completed from 1498-1508 with designs by Amedeo, and is notable for the carved bas-reliefs by Amedeo and his followers depicting the life of the Saint.



Your name


Via Riviera, Pavia, Italy
See all sites in Pavia


Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Anna (5 months ago)
Beautiful ancient church that stood on the bank of the Ticino in the middle of the woods, with an adjoining monastery of the Monks of Vallombrosa who founded the church dedicating it to the Holy Sepulcher. Then the new church was built where Bishop Lanfranco was buried, in the marble ark. The structure is a Latin cross, with a single nave, late Romanesque architecture, many important frescoes, two cloisters, a beautiful bell tower ... It is worth a guided tour!
Ales Gandini (6 months ago)
Historic and charming church very.picturesque 1 beautiful place that is worth a lot to be visited.
isabel Panchana (6 months ago)
Beautiful Church !!! Too bad I can't find the opening hours.
Luca Tirnusciolo (11 months ago)
Dating back to the 12th century, it contains the tomb of Bishop Lanfranco Beccari, built in 1498 by the sculptor and architect Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, the great sculptor and architect born in Pavia who worked for both the Certosa and the cathedral together with Bramante. Inside the church there is a fresco, one of the oldest in the city (13th century), discovered in 1930 under the plaster, depicting the murder of Thomas Becket. The scene portrays the bishop wearing the chasuble while being hit by five hit men. The façade is gabled, tripartite and narrow at the sides by two voluminous buttresses. In the middle part there are circular openings, in the center the square stone portal. The front is surmounted by a blind loggia, typical of the Pavese Romanesque. The upper part is decorated with ceramic basins (examples of archaic pavese majolica). The bell tower which dates back to 1237 is closer to the Lombard Romanesque: Inside there is a marble sepulchral ark that houses the body of San Lanfranco Beccari. work by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, The construction of the ark dates back to 1489 and was commissioned by the abbot Pietro Pallavicini de 'Scipione.
Vincenzo Fietti (21 months ago)
Molto freddo
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kraków Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).

The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.

The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.

On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.

The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.