Friday, 04 May 2012 13:16

The Abbey of San Colombano at Bobbio

Written by  matta
Rate this item
(0 votes)


The Benedictine monastery of Bobbio, founded in 614 by the Irish monk Colomban in 614, was for the entire medieval period one of the most important monastic centers of Europe, from a religious, political and cultural point of view. This early monastery, during the tenure of the abbot Agilulfo (883-896), was abandoned and rebuilt in a different location with a new abbey church. In 1040 the abbots of Bobbio obtained an Episcopal See, separating it from the abbey, leading to the decay of the original monastery and to a separation between the two churches. Apart from the abbey, the Bishop-Count Guarnerius built a new Cathedral in 1075. These two major monuments underwent notable modifications in the intervening centuries, which impede a reconstruction of the medieval traces. Like Guarnerius’s Cathedral, the abbey church of San Colombano was also radically transformed, enlarged in the fourteenth century, rebuilt in 1456, and frescoed starting in 1526. Thus, from the Romanesque abbey complex, only the bell tower, apse, and a splendid mosaic pavement in the modern crypt remain.

The original abbey church was a three-aisled Latin cross, with three apses and a barely projecting transept. It was divided in half by an iron screen, which separated the monks’ choir from the space reserved to the parishioners. The nave was painted by Bernardino Lanzani from San Colombano al Lambro between 1526 and 1530. The building preserves many of its objects of art: in the crypt is the sarcophagus of San Colombano, with episodes of his life. Along the stair to the crypt, beneath the pavement, is an extensive segment of early-twelfth-century mosaic pavement from the old building, which was discovered in 1910. The mosaic, like those in San Savino in Piacenza and San Michele in Pavia, includes episodes from the second book of Maccabees, fights between fantastic animals and the labors of the month. The complex also contains the abbey museum, which houses a collections of archaeological materials and works related to the figure of San Colombano from the fourth to the eighteenth century.


Additional Info

  • Address: Piazza Santa Fara 5, Bobbio, Piacenza
  • Province:
  • Phone: +39 0523 936219
  • Opening Days and Time:

    Sono visitabili i locali della basilica, il museo dell'abbazia, il chiostro interno e il museo della città. Nei giorni feriali la basilica è aperta dalle 8.00 alle 19.00 e nei giorni festivi dalle 8.00 alle 12.30 e dalle 14.30 alle 19.00.

  • Guided Tour: Per visite guidate contattare l'associazione Rabisch (Tel: +39 338 6357868 - Si offrono visite per gruppi di studenti, adulti e disabili. Guide disponibili in lingue straniere.
  • Recommended Restaurants:
Last modified on Monday, 07 May 2012 18:15