Thursday, 07 June 2012 11:39

Abbey of Pomposa

Written by  matta
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The first monastic community was probably already present in the area known as the “Insula Pomposia” between the 6th and 7th century. However, the first precise reference to the Abbey of Pomposa was not until 874. The abbey changed hands several times between the pope, emperor and the archbishopric of Ravenna, until finally achieving full autonomy in 1022.
The abbey’s flourishing over the following centuries was tied not only to its political and religious import, but also to its situation between major tributaries of the Po and the Via Romea, which connected pilgrims and merchants between northern Europe and Rome. The abbey’s economic and cultural influence reached their apex in the 11th century under the direction of Abbot Guido. It was at that time that the monastery was enlarged and the cloister, towers and the Palazzo della Ragione were added, giving it the appearance of a fortified city.
When the banks of the Po flooded in 1152, the whole area was turned into a swamp, and the monks were decimated by malaria. The last monks left the abbey definitively in 1671. While the church became a parish in 1663, the abbey remained abandoned for centuries. Following the Napoleonic suppressions, the conventual structures were utilized for agricultural storehouses and service areas, until 1920-1930, when the whole complex was restored to its original configuration as an abbey.

The abbey church is a three-aisled basilica. The central apse is a semi-decagon, a typology characteristic of the area of Ravenna, as far back as the church of Sant’Apollinare in Classe. It was probably built between 751 and 874: parts of the church’s building materials are spolia from Ravenna, which fell in 751 to the Lombard dominion under King Liutprand. The church that was built at that time only partially coincides with the present church, up to the seventh bay. The structure of the church underwent various modifications, as excavations have shown. Between the 9-10
th centuries, a narthex was added on the left side. The church probably terminated in three apses. From an inscription inserted on the pavement, we know that on May 7, 1026 it was rededicated, during the abbacy of Guido (1008-46), a period of important transformations and expansions in the whole monastery. Between 1000-26, the crypt was reimagined in the form of an oratory, the narthex was inserted and two new bays were added. The windows of the narthex were filled and a portal was added to the main entrance. The present-day atrium and the campanile were also built at this time.



Additional Info

  • Address: Via Pomposa Centro, 16, 44021 Codigoro FE
  • Province:
  • Phone: +39 0533 719152
  • Opening Days and Time:

    lunedì – domenica 8.30 -19.30 (entrata a pagamento)

  • 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: