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Italy: Province of Asti

 

Located in the hilly landcape of Asti and at the foot of Monferrato the Abbey of Vezzolano fascinates its guests with its walls that were built of alternating layers of sandstone and brick, a choir screen that is abound in figures and its legendary foundation. Charlemangne was hunting in the region when three skeletons appeared to him. Thus he decided to found an abbey to dignify the Virgin Mary.

 

Albugnano: Abbey Santa Maria of Vezzolano

 

Idyllically located in the hilly countryside of the Province of Asti at the foot of Monferrato St. Maria in Vezzolano fascinates by the altering layers of sandstone and bricks. The complex that can be seen today is composed of a church, a cloister and a chapel. Those three buildings remain from the abbey founded by Charlemagne.
The construction of the church must have been interrupted several times and was affected by Romanesque and Gothic style. The façade is decorated with sculptures that are geared to Lombard and Burgundy elements. However, for the layered facade, there are comparable examples in Liguria and Tuscany. The choir screen inside the church which is decorated with 35 figures is one of the highlights of the building. The interior design is also dominated by the red and white layers, the pointed arches give an impression of the design in the Gothic style. However, the windows in the choir represent the typical Romanesque style.
According to a legend the construction of the church goes back Charlemangne who was hunting in the area of Vezzolano when three skeletons appeared to him. Thus he decided to found an abbey to dignify the Virgin Mary. This first building was destroyed by Saracens in the 10th century and finally rebuild in the 11th and 12th century.