Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ancient Churches in Northern Italy

Our Ambrosian correspondent Nicola de’ Grandi recently paid a visit to the archeological zone of Castelseprio, about 30 miles to the northwest of Milan. This was a Roman military outpost which became a small but important fortress town in the Middle Ages, but was then destroyed by Milan in 1287. Close to the area of the castle are two churches, Santa Maria ‘foris Portas’ (outside the gates), built in the 7th or 8th century, and the 8th-century Monastery of Torba, which remained a Benedictine women’s house until 1492. Although both fairly ruinous now, they still preserve a number of interesting fragments of their ancient fresco decorations; those which remain in the former, an extensive cycle on the Infancy of Christ, are more extensive and in better condition. Those

Santa Maria Foris Portas

Above left, Christ the Pantocrator; in the middle, above, the Angel appears to Joseph; below, the Presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple.
The Divine Throne with angels to either side.
Above, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem; below, the Nativity
The Adoration of the Magi
A closer view of the Nativity Scene
The Annunciation and Visitation

The Monastery of Torba

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