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.



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Via Riviera, Pavia, Italy
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Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Luciano Benini (10 months ago)
Un luogo di culto in stile antico, senz'altro da visitare. Da visitare anche la zona oratorio, con la passeggiata del chiosco, attualmente in fase di un meritato restauro. Le sale dell'oratorio, recentemente restaurate, accolgono due volte alla settimana studenti delle scuole medie inferiori e superiori per un'attività di doposcuola, gestita dall'associazione Eduche'
Francesca Laforenza (10 months ago)
The Romanesque basilica of S. Lanfranco has undergone a delicate, respectful renovation. There you can breathe an even more intimate and evocative atmosphere. Its location a little distant from the city center but surrounded by greenery and very close to the waters of the Ticino make it even more precious and unique.
Cristina Tarasconi (11 months ago)
It is a beautiful church to which the recently restored cloister is added. I went to an evening concert in the cloister and the atmosphere was really suggestive.
Anna (15 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 (16 months ago)
Historic and charming church very.picturesque 1 beautiful place that is worth a lot to be visited.
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