Benedictine settlements in medieval Italy
The cultural landscape of the Benedictine settlements in medieval Italy is part of the Tentative list of Italy in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The Cultural Landscape of the Benedictine Settlements in Medieval Italy is a series of eight medieval Benedictine settlements, scattered along the Italian peninsula. They constitute the highest and more representative material evidence of Benedictine monasticism, a cultural phenomenon that was born on the Italian peninsula and spread throughout medieval Europe. Two of the complexes are directly connected with the life of St Benedict: the Subiaco Benedictine Complex, where he spent three years as a hermit, and the Montecassino Complex, that was founded by St Benedict himself and was where he wrote his Rule.
Map of Benedictine settlements in medieval ItalyLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
After visiting Ivrea from Torino in the morning I visited the Sacra di San Michele, one of the ten elements of this TWHS, in the afternoon.
Of a few TWHSs around Torino I decided to visit this particular one after hearing about "The seven churches related to Archangel Michael on a mysterious straight line (ie, his sword)", and this Sacra is one of the seven. 3 out of the 7 are already WHSs: Skellig Michael in Ireland, Mont Saint Michel in France and Sanctuary of San Michele (Longobards) in the south of Italy.
On this Sunday there was a shuttle bus at 16.30 from the train station of Avigliana, which is about 40 km west of Torino, to the Sacra, where I arrived at 17.15. Although I was the only passenger in the shuttle, there were several dozen tourists at the Sacra. The entrance to the Sacra closes at 17.30 on Sunday. The last shuttle back to Avigliana train station left the Sacra at 18.45. So I had 90 min. there, which seemed to be the minimum time one should spend here.
Having approached the Sacra from the foot of the mountain by the shuttle bus, I can testify that the view of this imposing church on top of the 962 m Mt. Pirchiriano is no less spectacular than the view of Mont Saint Michel in France. This Sacra has the Italian Alps in the background while Mont Saint Michel has the English Channel. As such, the Sacra inspired Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose and in 1994 was designated as the Monumental Symbol of the State of Piedmont. The view from the Sacra of the surrounding area was also quite spectacular.
Now, while this nomination groups 10 elements related to the Benedictine Order, at the Sacra there was not much mention of the Benedictine Order, possibly because I was only given a few page info sheets in English that guided me through the Sacra.
I am a little confused about this straight line with 7 churches, because on one hand I initially read that somebody discovered this line only a few years ago. On the other hand I saw a panel at the Sacra that calls this line as a historic pilgrimage route from Skellig Michael to Jerusalem.
I only regret that I could not capture the spectacle of this church on top of the mountain very well in a photo. I asked the shuttle driver to stop for me to take photos on the way, but he did not understand English. You can see better photos here:
Read more from Tsunami here.
Includes Former TWHS Sacra di San Michele
2016 Added to Tentative List
The site has 10 locations