Complex Santa Sofia with the church and cloister in Benevento
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Complex Santa Sofia with the church and cloister in Benevento

Piazza S. Sofia, 82100 Benevento BN, Italy

The Lombards left across Italy, from North to south, great traces of their domination. In terms of architecture and urban planning of the best examples of this style is the church of Santa Sofia in Benevento. Despite its size, relatively small, at the time it was of great importance for the ambition to take on the structure of the homonymous church of Constantinople, with its hexagonal plant, whose vertices are connected six columns connected by arches, supporting the dome; with an internal hexagon which is in turn surrounded by a ring decagonal, with eight pillars and two columns at the entrance. Of the monastery adjacent to the church instead remembers with particular interest the cloister, which the Romanesque structure with arabesque decorations combines in a very harmonious way. The church, Lombard early medieval architecture symbol, bold and imaginative, between sites of "The Lombards in Italy. Power Centers (568-774 d.C.)"Today is the UNESCO. The monumental complex of Santa Sofia with the historic scriptorium (the birthplace of the Beneventan script from scribe monks endeavored), has been for centuries one of the most visited by Christian pilgrims destinations. The church, located in Benevento, erected at the behest of the Lombard Duke Arechi II around 760, It presents a small plant to a hexagonal shape in the central body with columns from the Temple of Isis, surrounded by a decagonal ring supported by columns in limestone. The three apses is circular zone, with walls that form part of a star in the central portion. The original frescoes, that once covered the inside of the Church, They are visible only in the two lateral apses. I still alive colors and shapes harmonious lines of the Annunciation and the Visitation to the Virgin, prove the presence of Byzantine workers between the eighth and ninth centuries, confirming Benevento cultural capital of those years. Destroyed by the earthquake of 1688, with the restoration of 1951, stripped of Baroque style desired by the archbishop Orsini, He has regained its medieval appearance.

UNESCO admission criteria

The World Heritage Committee decided in June 2011 to place this monument in the List of World Heritage List based on the following criteria: (ii) the Lombards iluppo monuments are a testimony of culture and art Carolingian; (iii) the Lombards places of power expressing artistic and monumental new and extraordinary, testifying to the specificity of Lombard culture in early medieval Europe. Taken together they constitute a cultural series unique and clearly identifiable, whose many languages ​​and aims express the power of the different elites Longobarde; (we) the places of the Lombards and their legacy in the cultural and spiritual structures of European medieval Christianity are very relevant. They have significantly boosted the monastic movement and contributed to the creation of a forerunner destination of great pilgrimages, Monte Sant'Angelo, with the spread of the cult of St. Michael. The Lombards also played a key role in the transmission to the nascent European world of the classic works of literature, technique, architecture, science, history and law.

History, art and culture

The Church of Saint Sophia, wanted by the Lombard Prince of Benevento Arechi II in the eighth century, He has been elected the 25 June 2011 UNESCO World Heritage Site (alongside so Carolino Aqueduct of Vanvitelli some time in the World Heritage List). The Church of St. Sophia is located in Benevento and is an integral part of the serial site "The Lombards in Italy. The places of power (568-774 d.C.)”, along with other notable witness in other parts of the country dating back to Lombard. For Italy, the serial site "The Lombards in Italy" is the 46th in writing in the famous list. With the Lombard Duchy of Benevento - commonly called "Longobardia Minor", to distinguish it from "Longobardia Maior" to Pavia capital - He lived a progressive socio-economic recovery, conquering its safer and more stable conformation as the Principality 774 al 1077. Prince Arechi II, who took the significant title of Dux Samnitium, He made complete in 762 the Church of St. Sophia, one of the most daring and imaginative obstruction of the Middle Ages, today brought back to its original shape. Adjacent to the church is the cloister, not the original one, but rebuilt in the mid 1100 with distinctly Roman characters and Arabic influences. It is spread over an almost square plan with sixteen pillars between which there are fifteen quadrifore and a trifora, surmounted by segmental arches resting on shelves. The church was entitled (Greek) to Agian Sophian namely not to a holy, a woman who, for particular virtues, it was canonized, but the Holy (or Divine) Wisdom. It was a tribute, therefore, the highest form of knowledge, to what, overcoming all sensible experience limits, It captures the perfection and being universality, God himself. Apparently, the idea came to Paul Deacon, gray eminence of Arechi, for a clear political intent: a tribute to the Church of Constantinople Justinian, with which, evidently, Prince wanted to maintain the best relations. The Church still bears traces of ancient frescoes and has a very original plant. Attached to the Church and the Cloister is the Museo del Sannio, founded in 1873 by the Province, which contains most of the treasures found in the Sannio. The monastery of Saint Sophia Church, with its beautiful cloister, now houses the Museo del Sannio, It was a center of cultural production: The chronicle of the Holy Sophia, who belong to the example of fa scritto il (cod. Vat. years. 4939), a precious medieval diary. Other Lombard monuments are scattered throughout the rest of the Sannio.

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