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Abbey of Pomposa

The Abbey of Pomposa is considered one of the most important Italian Romanesque buildings. 
The ancient Benedictine Monastery now includes the Basilica with the Atrium, the Romanesque Bell Tower, the Chapter Hall, the “Sala delle Stilate”, the Refectory, the Dormitory and the Palazzo della Ragione. These buildings housed in the Middle Ages one of the most important centre of spirituality and culture in the world.

Favourable climatic events had allowed, between the sixth and seventh century, the establishment of a group of Benedictine monks from Ravenna, who had chosen an island between the Po River and the sea that favoured meditation and industriousness for its tranquillity.

At the beginning of the fourteenth century Pomposa had jurisdiction over 49 churches in central and northern Italy. When San Guido Strambiati became Abate in Pomposa (1008-1046) the most fertile period of the Benedictine Abbey began, which will be visited later by prominent figures such as St. Peter Damian and Dante Alighieri. In the same period there was Monk Guido of Arezzo to whom we owe the "invention" of the musical notes. The rich library of the monastery was also very famous; here we saw the revival of classical studies, literary, religious, then be irretrievably lost.

The Palazzo della Ragione witnesses the exercise of justice by the Abbot on the territories subjected to the monastery. In the centuries of the splendour of the Abbey, architectural and pictorial arts flourished, who left us all the wonderful fourteenth cycles of the Basilica, the Refectory and the Chapter House.

Following catastrophic events, however, then, the whole area became unhealthy because of malaria (remember that Dante stopped here in 1321 by contracting the disease that then would have caused his death) and the economic and cultural interest abandoned this coastal territory: the monks left Pomposa for the new Convent of St. Benedict of Ferrara.

The recovery of the Abbey was implemented from the end of the 1800s, when all the buildings were brought to new life. Finally, in 1976 the Museum Pomposiano was established: it collects, in the large room of the former dormitory of the monks, the remains of sculptures, paintings and other works of art related to the history of the Monastery. What most leaps to the eyes of those who arrive in Pomposa is the 48-meter high bell tower, erected in 1063. 

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