Thursday, 06 September 2012 10:01

The Basilica of San Savino

Written by  matta
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The Basilica of San Savino is one of the most important architectural remains of the Romanesque period in northern Italy. Situated on Alberoni Street in Piacenza, it is dedicated to the second bishop of the city and the founder of the basilica in the fourth century, probably in 394. In this period, San Savino sought to organize the spiritual and community life of the people of his parish. He died in 420: his successor, San Mauro, decided to keep his body in the church, placing it in the main altar. In 902, the Hungarians arrived in Piacenza and destroyed in a large part the building that was rebuilt a second time in 903 by the bishop Everardo. In924 a second raid razed it to the ground again but it was completely rebuilt in the eleventh century. The first document mentioning its existence dated October 15, 1107, year of the consecration of the Basilica by Bishop Aldo. The church had a great period of prosperity until the late fifteenth century, when in 1495 it passed to the Geronimini fathers. The building underwent several transformations in the Baroque period: in 1721, for example, the façade was rebuilt with a porch supported on twin columns. In later centuries, there are not further modifications of the original mapping: only in 1903 began a long intervention of restoration directed by Ettore Martini, who decided to abide by the Baroque façade and restore only the interior of the church.

The basilica seems inside very rational and severe: brick walls, arches and stone pillars give an impression of sobriety. The church is a classical basilical plan, with three naves ending in three apses. Seven pairs of bundle pillars support the vaulted ceiling. Capitals are all carved with zoomorphic or fantasy figures. There are three spans in the nave and in the aisles. In the third span, there is the presbytery that is connected to the crypt by a staircase. The two floor mosaics preserved in the presbytery and in the crypt are outstanding: the first is a metaphorical composition featuring cardinal virtues through knight fight scenes and animals of all kinds while the second, the oldest one, represent the twelve months of the year. The crypt is underground and it extends lengthwise under the presbytery. The space of the crypt is divided into three naves and eight spans, with a vaulted ceiling supported by pillars. There are thirty carved capitals. Another interesting element in the basilica is the crucifix in the apse, which is one of the few objects in carved wood that we preserved from the Romanesque period. On the northern side of the building stands the central apse and a smaller apse, both rebuilt in modern times. On the opposite side, the belfry reminds Lombard influences.

Additional Info

  • Address: Via Giulio Alberoni n. 35, Piacenza
  • Province:
  • Phone: +39 0523 318165
  • Opening Days and Time:

    Orario: dalle 9.00 alle 12.00 e dalle 16.30 alle 18.30 sabato 9.00 – 10.00 / 16.30 – 18.00 domenica 9.00 – 11.00/ 16.30 – 18.00

    Orari sante messe: feriali ore 8.30, 18.00; festivi ore 8.30, 11.00, 18.00

  • 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.
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