Monday, November 16, 2020


Altitude 408 m (1,340 feet). 9,200 inhabitants

It owes its name (Subiaco = under the lake) to the Simbruina Stagna (watertights of the Simbruini Mountains) built at the behest of Nero (54/68), damming the Aniene River at the foot of the Simbruini Mountains

Here Nero had a magnificent villa

Apparently Subiaco was founded at that time for the slaves working in the construction

Seminary Palace

1715, expanded in the years 1775/80 by Pietro Camporese the Elder (1726/81) and Carlo Colombi

Bridge of St. Francis

It was built on the Aniene River in 1358. It was restored in 1789 for Pope Pius VI Braschi (1775/99)

Rocca Abbaziale

Fortress with Abbey

It was built during the eleventh century by the Abate Giovanni (John the Abbot)

It was very disputed. Since 1455 it was the seat of commendatory cardinals including in 1471 Rodrigo Borgia, later Pope Alexander VI (1492/1503)

Maybe Lucrezia Borgia, Rodrigo Borgia’s daughter, was born here in 1480

The abbey passed eventually to the Colonna family

Another commendatory cardinal who became pope was Pius VI Braschi (1775/99) who had the architect Pietro Camporese the Elder connecting all the buildings in order to have a single building

In front of the façade there is a garden with some RUINS OF NERO’S VILLA

Inside there is the APARTMENT OF THE COLONNA FAMILY with frescoes maybe by the school of Federico Zuccari (about 1542/1609) and the APARTMENT OF PIUS VI

Cattedrale di S. Andrea

 Cathedral of St. Andrew

1766/89 Pietro Camporese il Vecchio (1726/81)

It was rebuilt after World War II


"Miraculous fishing" by Sebastiano Conca (1680/1764)


"Madonna with Child" maybe by the Florentine Carlo Dolci (1616/86) or Guido Reni (1575/1642)

S. Francesco

 St. Francis

1327, on the old Chapel of St. Peter in the Desert, dedicated in 1224 to St. Francis


"Marriage of the Virgin Mary" by Giulio Pippi aka Giulio Romano (1499/1546)


"St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata" maybe by Sebastiano Luciani aka Sebastiano del Piombo (1485/1547)


Triptych “Madonna and Child with Sts. Francis and Anthony” 1467 by Antonio Aquili aka Antoniazzo Romano (about 1435-40/1508)

"Antoniazzo here opens to modern perspective solutions that he combines with traditional values ​​of Roman medieval period: majestic, yet intensely human is the image of the Virgin Mary cuddling the baby, firmly planted on the ground are the Saints at her sides standing out on the precious golden background almost like statues" (Anna Cavallaro)

Under the altar S. Deodato’s body brought from the catacombs

In the apse wooden choir of 1504


Frescoes maybe by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi aka Sodoma (1477/1549)

"Nativity" maybe by Bernardino di Betto aka Pinturicchio (1454/1513)

S. Maria della Valle

1794/1851 Carlo Colombi

Polychrome wooden statue carved during the twelfth century "Our Lady of Perpetual Help"

Monastery of St. Scholastica

It is the only monastery surviving earthquakes and Saracen destruction of the thirteen small monasteries originally built at the behest of St. Benedict (480/547) in the valley of Subiaco

In Subiaco St. Benedict began and gradually perfected the kind of monastic life presented in his Rule, whose first draft dates from this period

In 529 St. Benedict left Subiaco to go to Cassino

Until the end of the twelfth century it was the only monastery of Subiaco, rebuilt and consecrated by Pope Benedict VII (974/983) with the name of the Monastery of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica

Originally it was called Monastery of St. Sylvester and got its current name during the fourteenth century

Complex of buildings built in different periods and styles:


Writing Ora et Labora (pray and work), with structures built during the twentieth century


1580/1689 also called, inappropriately, Renaissance Cloister


Fourteenth century, also called, inappropriately, Gothic Cloister with "Flamboyant Arch" of the fifteenth century


It is known as Cosmatesque Cloister, signed by the Roman marble worker Jacopo il Vecchio, son of Lorenzo di Tebaldo, who had begun the works probably before 1210

His son Cosma, from whom the art of Roman marble had its name, after his father's death, around 1240, together with his sons Luca and Jacopo continued and completed the construction

The BELL TOWER dates back to 1052/53

The present CHURCH, the last of five churches stratified over the centuries, dates back to 1769/76 designed by Giacomo Quarenghi (1744/1817) from Bergamo

He was a pupil of Paolo Posi and later became famous as the architect of the czars in St. Petersburg

Of the original church, dating back to the beginning of the thirteenth century, Quarenghi retained entirely the outer walls and built his new church inside

"He reduced to clear proportionality the perspective of longitudinal baroque churches, transforming the side chapels in niches inscribed in the geometric frame of pilasters, under a vaulted ceiling that ensures clear and uniform illumination" (Giulio Carlo Argan)

Restructuring 1851/52 by Giacomo Monaldi (1819/1905) who designed the apse supported by pillars and columns covered with scagliola, a type of fine plaster that mimics marble, in this case with the color of peach blossom

"Here was built the new solution with niches inspired by Palladio, which appeared to be Quarenghi’s idea, even if it introduced in the interior a sort of spatial illusion, in contrast to the clarity of the typical architecture of Quarenghi” (Claudio Giumelli)

Paintings of the seventeenth century by Vincenzo Manenti (1600/74), Pompeo De Ferrari

Paintings of the end of the sixteenth century by Marcello da Piacenza

In the vault of the narthex there are frescoes with "Stories of St. Benedict" about 1430 by the school of Umbria-Marche regions

In the entrance room "Two marble columns" from the Villa of Nero

The MONASTERY had the period of greatest splendor between 1000 and 1200

In 1465 the two German clergymen A. Pannartz and C. Sweynheym installed here the first Italian typography, that enriched the library, already existing, with incunabula and books of great value

The LIBRARY is now located on the north side of the Gothic cloister

It houses more than 100,000 volumes, 440 manuscripts and 213 incunabula

The dining hall is located in the west side of the Cosmatesque Cloister, once surmounted by the dormitory

Monastery of St. Benedict

Also called Sacro Speco, Sacred Grotto

It was built at the end of the twelfth century above the cave where St. Benedict spent three years of hermit life

It is embedded in the rock overlooking the valley and it consists of two churches one on top of the other, chapels and caves entirely painted in different periods

CORRIDOR, later hall of the old chapter house, with many frescoes of the school of Pietro Vannucci aka Perugino (about 1450/1523)

Upper Church

It was built mid-fourteenth cemtury

"Columns" from the Villa of Nero


Frescoes "Stories of Jesus" fourteenth century by the Sienese school


On the lower part of the walls frescoes with "Stories of St. Benedict" about 1430 by the school of Umbria-Marche regions


On the right two chapels interconnected with "Stories of saints" about 1430 by the school of Umbria-Marche regions


Rebuilt in the nineteenth century with original altar front and columns of the thirteenth century


Frescoes of the seventeenth century by Ottaviano Nelli da Gubbio (1375/1444) and Vincenzo Manenti (1600/74)

Board "Madonna with Child" of the school of Bernardino di Betto aka Pinturicchio (1454/1513)


So called for the miracle of the crow that carried away the poisoned bread from Brother Fiorenzo for St. Benedict

Lower Church

Chapels built into the rock at several levels

Paintings of the fifteenth century

Paintings by Magister Conxolus (second half of the thirteenth century) about 1280 belonging to the popular Roman school that had its highest representative in Pietro Cavallini

"In the naive paintings of Magister Conxolus is the freshness of art that, by its own power of observation, begins to come out of the darkness and face the light, watching life and taking it directly as model" (Hermanin)


Paintings by Magister Conxolus and Vincenzo Manenti (1600/74)


Sacred Grotto in English. Covered by a wall of cipollino marble from the Villa of Nero

"Statue of St. Benedict" 1657 by Ercole Antonio Raggi (1624/86)

The spiral staircase leads to the ATRIUM with frescoes of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries by Magister Conxolus and of the fifteenth century


Also known as CHAPEL OF THE ANGELS with Byzantine frescoes of the early thirteenth century including on the right "St. Francis" painted in 1223 during the time Francis was in Subiaco

"An anonymous painter captures the conventional patterns of Byzantine language; in a true representation of human and dignified sweetness, designed in a drawn style, he painted the oldest image of St. Francis known to us, highlighting some of the possibilities implicit in the Byzantine classicism, development toward a renewed naturalism" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)


Holy Stairs in English. So named because it was built on the route of the path that St. Benedict walked up to the Sacro Speco

Frescoes: "Triumph of Death", "Monk shows three young people what happens to human bodies after death in three different phases" "Baptism of Jesus", "Massacre of the Innocents" and "Saints" by the Sienese school

At the end of the stairs CHAPEL OF OUR LADY of the fourteenth century with frescoes of the Sienese school


Here St. Benedict would come to educate shepherds

"Madonna and two saints" Byzantine fresco of the eighth century, the oldest painting of the Sacro Speco


Frescoes by Vincenzo Manenti (1600/74) and fresco with "St. Benedict" of the thirteenth century

No comments:

Post a Comment