COMPLEX OF SAINT SOFIA (UNESCO HERITAGE SITE 2011)

The Holy Wisdom Church is one of the most beautiful and original religious building of ltalian Middle Ages. The ancient façade of the church remembers a military Lombard tent. The stone drew-bell was built outside of the church, in a safety distance, because of the earthquakes that made it fall on the vestibule, in front of the entrance.
On the entrance door you can notice a beautiful bass-relief in the lunette. In the middle of a shining golden mosaic, there’s Jesus on the throne with the Virgin Mary and Saint Mercury at his sides and also a little character down on his knees that is supposed to be, by his crowned head, Prince Arechi the Second who, in 759 a.C., wanted the Holy Wisdom Church to be built. The building became the “Sanctuary of Lombard people” in ltaly. Inside, the aisle, once star-shaped and completely painted, now is geometrical ordered, and his circumferences measures 23 metres and 50 centimetres
Walking from the centre of it, you can cross an hexagon with six columns decorated by ancient Capitals, to a decagon of eight columns, each of them parallel to the corresponding perimetrical wall. The survivor frescos, that testify oriental art influences, represent on the left, looking at the altar, episodes of San Giovanni Battista’s life (e.g. the announcement to Zaccaria and his dumbness for the Battista’s birth); on the right, episodes of Virgin life (e.g. the Announcement and the Visit).
All the missing parts are due to earthquakes, a real problem for the Samnitic land. The ancient covering of the Church was supposed to be hut-shaped, based on the moving external structure. The cloister was a Benedectine nunnery and it was built up with the Church. The cloister has a squared shape (the square represents Jerusalem) and has a recess due to the trespassing of the connected church. The arcades are composed by fifteen windows with four lights and just one three millioned window. In the middle of the place there is a well, protected by and ancient capital.

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MUST SEE

1 Visit of Benevento’s historic center. Rocca dei Rettori is the symbol of different historical changes: from the sunnis to the romans, and then longboards. Next to it is the Acros Museum with findings of Iside’s Temple. In front of it is the complex of St. Sofia. Sideways there are the Museum of Sannio and the Cloister. In the area there is also the Hortus Conclusus, an artistic installation realized in 1992 by the artist Mimmo Paladino. Going on you can find Arco di Traiano, erected in 114 d.C. in honor of emperor Traiano. Next to it is the church of St. Ilario, of Longobardian origin.

2 Advancing into the center of the city you’ll find the Cathedral (V century), famous in the Medieval Europe for its bronze doors (that were destroyed by the bombing of ’43; only a few tiles with holy images survived). On the right, going through the Sacrament’s Arch (an honorary arch built between the end of the first century and the beginning of the second century in front of the roman city’s Foro), you’ll arrive to Triggio, the heart of the new Longobard city, where San Gennaro was born. Next there is the roman theatre, built in the second century by the order of emperor Adriano and enlarged by emperor Caracalla. In the end there is Leproso’s Bridge (third century a.C.) and the Basilica of Madonna delle Grazie.

3 Tour of Benevento’s districts, a territory full of touristic, historic, artistic, cultural and natural attractions (Paleolab Museum – geopaleontological area of Pietraroja, park of Taburno, Fortore, Telesina Valley, Caudina Valley, Terra di San Pio, the wines and the torrone sweet, ecc.).

HOW TO GET HERE
Aeroport of Naples Capodichino, Aeroport of Bari, Aeroport of Rome Fiumicino.
By train: from Naples and Caserta
By car: Motorway A1 Naples-Milan, Motorway A14 Milan-Bari, Motorway A16 Naples-Bari

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