Longobards in Italy
"The Longobards in Italy, Places of Power, 568 - 774 A.D." comprises seven groups of monuments built by the Longobard / Lombard elite. They are considered a unique and exceptional testimony to the transition between antiquity and the European Middle Ages.
The included sites are:
- Cividale del Friuli
- Campello sul Clitunno
- Monte SantíAngelo
Visit September 2012
I visited the two inscribed sites in the former Longobard Duchy of Spoleto: the Clitunno Tempietto and the Basilica San Salvatore in Spoleto. They both were almost impossible to find. I relied on my car navigation to get me there, thinking that the sites would be posted from the main road also. But I had to search for quite a while: these are really minor sites, far off the beaten track.
I started at Clitunno, a small town in the mountains north of Spoleto. Some kind of market was going on, and both sides of the main street were littered with parked cars. The Tempietto is situated outside the center, actually along the main road but not visible from there. A tiny sign points to its location. Normally you can get there by car, but the road was blocked now due to the festivities. So I just walked there, and had to ask once again for directions (as one sign really isnít enough). It turned out to be a cute little temple. Looked pre-Romanesque to my untrained eye, a bit similar to the Asturian monuments. The iron gates around it were closed unfortunately: opening hours seem to be only in the afternoons. So I just took some pictures from behind the fence.
Then I went back to Spoleto, about 20 minutes away. Spoleto is a touristy city, with lots of history and an enormous castle as the main point of attraction. The San Salvatore Basilica isnít in the city center however, it lies on the other side of the main road. It took a while for me to find it, signs are only visible when youíre almost there.
The church looked deserted when I arrived, and I was afraid that it would be closed too. But the main door was open, although no one was around. The main focus of the church interior is the re-use of Ancient Roman pillars in the church choir. They look well-preserved. The rest of the church is simple early Romanesque. It does have a certain charm however. Next to it is a huge modern cemetery.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|john booth (New Zealand):|
I succeeded in reaching six of the listed locations forming part of this site :
Cividale del Friuli - Longobard temple. Reached by train from Udine
Brescia - St Salvatore/Santa Giulia monastery.
Monte Sant'Angelo - Sanctuary of St Michael, attracted numerous pilgrims. Reached by bus from Foggia and Manfredonia.
Benevento - St Sophia church
Spoleto - Basilica of San Salvatore. Reached by bus 'D' from thestation to the cemetery. The basilica adjoins the cemetery on the uphill side.
Campello sul Clitunno - Longobard temple. A 3km walk from the station past the Clitunno spring.
| Date posted: December 2012|
|Ian Cade (England):|
My first taste of this site, which is spread across Italy, was in the delightful town of Cividale del Friuli tucked up in the North East near the Slovene boarder. The town was a rather wonderful clump of cobbled streets, erratic squares and precipitous bridges cut through by the powder blue waters of the river Natisone.
This was the first capital of the Longobards in Italy so seemed like a great place to start with this site. The actual inscribed bits of the town are limited to the cathedral and the area surrounding it. I must admit to not finding the cathedral particularly remarkable, however the real highlight was behind in the Lombard Temple. The temple is in a pleasant ecclesiastical complex, and is pretty tiny, however the delicate, almost brittle looking woodwork and frescos were exceptionally rewarding. The wonderful view from the jasmine scented terrace at the exit was great.
After this I had a trip around the museum which had a fine selection of Roman (the town was founded by Julius Caesar), and Longobard exhibits, including the contents of graves from the nearby necropolis.
I doubt I could design a more pleasant place to while away a sunny Sunday morning, a slow cappuccino overlooking the Duomo was the perfect way to slow down after a wonderful night out in nearby Udine, which is a lovely place to bar hop on a Saturday night.
Hopefully in the future I will visit more of this serial inscription; if they are even half as pleasant as my first visit they will be well worth the effort.
[Site 6: Experience 7]
| Date posted: July 2012|
|John S. (USA):|
I have visited the San Salvatore-Santa Giulia museum complex and Brescia. Although the highlights of the complex are the Winged Victory and the richly decorated Santa Maria in Solario containing the crucifix of the Lombard king Desiderius, I think the museum's most significant contribution is the extent to which it documents the history of Brescia. From prehistory to today, the museum is packed with artifacts, both fascinating and mundane, tracing the development of the city through the ages. Outside of the museum, one can also explore remains of civilizations from the Romans and beyond through open-air excavations. This summer, I will also visit Cividale, Castelsprio, and Monte Sant'Angelo, so I will update when I get the chance.
I suspect that this list will most likely be expanded in later years. Namely, Pavia would probably be added for being the Lombard capital and for a few surviving churches from the era. Also, Monza will probably be added as well for housing the Lombard crown.
| Date posted: July 2011|
|Klaus Freisinger (Austria):|
Being interested in medieval history and all things Italian, I was really looking forward to seeing this site inscribed. Sites from late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages are rather underrepresented on the list, and this seems to fill the gap at least a bit. When I looked at the individual sites, I was slightly surprised to find a site that I had been to a few years ago - the Sanctuary of San Michele in Monte Sant'Angelo, in the southeastern region of Puglia. Dedicated to the Archangel Michel, this is one of Italy's most important shrines and pilgrimage sites. I knew about the connection of this place to the Normans, but I was unaware of any Longobard influence here. Well, there isn't such a big one really, it's just that one Longobard king (Rothari) was buried there. I'm not sure this is enough to include it in a Longobard-themed WHS, but I probably missed his burial chapel when I was there (reason enough to return one day...). The other sites seem to be worth a visit as well, although I'm surprised that Pavia, capital of the Longobards, is not included (it is a separate site still on Italy's T list).
| Date posted: July 2011|
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