Brugnato Cathedral

Brugnato, Italy

According to some sources, supported by finds in the foundations, the first religious building on the site of Brugnato Cathedral was constructed in the 7th century over a palaeochristian necropolis, the church of a monastery dependent on Bobbio Abbey, founded by and dedicated to Saint Columbanus. It was rebuilt in the 11th-12th centuries, passed to a resident community of Benedictine monks, and became in 1133 the seat of the diocese of Brugnato (suffragan of the Archdiocese of Genoa) which had spiritual authority over the middle and upper Val di Vara.

With the arrival of the Ghibellines during the 14th century, and the consequent flight of the bishop, who took refuge in Pontremoli, the cathedral lost importance, although it remained as the church of the abbey of the Benedictine community. In 1820 the diocese was merged into those of La Spezia and Sarzana-Luni to form a single diocese with its seat in La Spezia, leaving the abbey church with the title of 'co-cathedral'.

Restoration work in the 1950s brought about the rediscovery of the remains of the original Romanesque church which were the objects of study in 1994 when archaeological excavations conducted by the archaeological authorities of Liguria revealed the ancient perimeter walls, the floors and a baptismal font beneath the centre of the nave.

Architecture

The groundplan is based on two asymmetrical naves separated by columns, a fairly common arrangement in the religious buildings of Lunigiana although less so in the churches of Liguria. Above the massive columns are thick semi-circular arcades.

There are differences between the two naves: the central and larger one is covered by barrel vaulting and ends in a semicircular apse with three single-light windows; the smaller side nave to the south however has bays of groin vaulting and terminates in a square wall inside within an external curved apse.

Interior

The interior, which is very sober, with few decorative elements retains traces and sculptured fragments from the ancient primitive church, as well as some frescoes among which, on the second column on the south, is one of the 14th century depicting Saint Columbanus giving a blessing; another, discovered during the works of 1994, is on the wall of the lesser nave and shows the Presentation in the Temple, in which may be recognised, not only Jesus, Joseph, Mary and the high priest, but also Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Laurence.

A painting by Vincenzo Comaschi, dated 1821, depicts the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus on her lap among angels and Saints Francis and Laurence. Near the high altar is a polyptych showing Scenes from the life of Christ.

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Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

sofia capone (7 months ago)
I visited the Co-Cathedral two days ago on the occasion of the FAI spring days: it is a truly fascinating place. Some windows on the floor near the altar allow you to see the oldest finds, the old foundations. For the rest, the dominant Romanesque style is accompanied by some more modern elements, such as the rose window for example. On one of the columns it is then possible to observe a fresco of San Colombano dating back to the fifteenth century
Lorenzo Taboni (3 years ago)
Ogni chiesa è una suggestione
sabatino catena (3 years ago)
Sono le 14,30 di sabato: non c'e' nessuno, tutto chiuso, solo noi x strada. Come si fa a dire cosa offre? Si vedono muri del 1300 ma non è così interessante.
sabatino catena (3 years ago)
It's 2.30pm on Saturday: there is no one, everything is closed, just us on the road. How do you tell what it offers? You can see walls from the 1300s but it's not that interesting.
Filippo Zolezzi (3 years ago)
Sede storica, non grande ma pittoresca
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