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ABBEY OF S. LORENZO

ABBEY OF S. LORENZO

The Abbey of S. Lorenzo dates back to the second half of the XII century. It was built by Benedictine monks from the Vallalta monastery (Bergamo) who were called upon by Bishop Altemanno and came to Trento in 1146 to settle in the chapel. Following tradition it was founded by a community of nuns at a palaeochristian temple. According to a document from not long before 1200 the Benedictine monks were still working on the reconstruction of the church, "with more than 500 brothers". In the spirit of the order's founder they alternated prayer and study with the upkeep of an extensive piece of land situated on the shores of the River Adige that at the time took a different path from the present. A note from the second half of the 12th century specifies that the abbey was built on the "island" near to the river, outside the city walls by the "laboratores et familiares et operari" of the Benedictine community similarly called back to Trento by the patriarch of Aquileia, Pellegrino. It is actually lower than the present surrounding ground level due to flooding of the Adige, whilst the church, thanks to its sacredness managed to retain its original level.

The main facade features the portal and a mullioned window with three lights above and two Romanesque bas­reliefs at the sides. The apse, in Romanesque style is defined by semi cylindrical pilasters that divide it into spans whilst the belfry characterised by an elegant mullioned window with two lights was raised in the 18th century.

The interior has a nave and two aisles with cross vaults and frescoes of red and blue stars on a white background, supported by four cylindrical Romanesque capital columns. The presbytery, closed by a semi circular apse is raised above the room destined for the believers; which in turn is divided by a slightly elevated acute curvature arch. There is a convent next to the church that was open until 1778 when it then transformed over the years into a prison, a hospital, and army barracks until it was eventually destroyed in the fascist period making way for the construction of new buildings.

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  • Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento - Archivio APT Trento - foto Campanile