Abbey of Goleto (AV)

From the Baths of Tufaro you can reach the ruins of the Abbey of Goleto dating from the Middle Ages, around 1133 A.D. The complex of monastic citadel of the Holy Savior in Goleto arose since 1133 at the hands of William of Vercelli, who had received the land for the new abbey by Roger, the Norman lord of nearby Monticchio, today uninhabited town, situated between S. Angelo of Lombardi and Rocca San Felice. By the will of the founder, the vast primitive building was intended to house a mixed community of nuns and monks, where the supreme authority was represented by the Abbess, while monks were entrusted with the liturgical service and care of the administrative part. This complex, which revolved around the Church of the Holy Saviour, at the center with the side to turn to the west, included the great monastery of nuns, to the apse, and the smallest of the monks, in front of the facade. Probably already at the holy founder he died in the night between 24 and 25 June 1142, was started the first renovation of the church that would house the remains. Under the guidance of celebrated abbesses – Febronia, Marina I and II, Agnese and Scolastica – the community grew and became famous for the holiness of the nuns and the monastery was enriched with land and works of art. To their work we owe some of the most significant monuments of the monastic complex: the Febronia tower, true masterpiece of Romanesque art constructed numerous stone blocks from a Roman mausoleum dedicated to Marco Paccio Marcello, named after the Abbess who in 1152 ordered that the built to defend the monastery, and the Chapel of St. Luke, built in 1255 to accommodate a famous relic of the saint evangelist. It is the jewel of the abbey. It is reached by a staircase whose parapet ends with a handrail in the form of a serpent with an apple in his mouth. The access portal is topped by a pointed arch and a small rose window with six lights. On the front an inscription that the church was built by Marina II. The interior consists of a square room with two aisles, covered with pointed transepts resting on two central columns and ten half-columns planted in the external walls. The octagonal bases of the columns and ornate capitals of curved leaves, two asymmetrical orders, have similarities with the sculptures commissioned by Frederick II at Castel del Monte, in Puglia. Outside complete the structure two small apses supported by brackets and along the roof cornice, barbicans with animal heads and ornamental motifs. The many frescoes that enriched the chapel are only two medallions, depicting the abbadesse Scholastica and Marina, and some episodes from the life of St. William. For nearly two centuries the monastic community exerted a strong influence especially sull’Irpinia way, Puglia and Basilicata, thanks to the predilection and protection that the Norman-Swabian nobility always had on it. Starting, however, from 1348, the year of the Black Death, began a slow and inexorable decline that determined, January 24, 1506, the suppression, by Pope Julius II, the monastic community that, in fact, occurred with the death of ‘last abbess in 1515. With the end of the women’s community goletan, the monastery was united to that of Montevergine, and to ensure the presence of some monks. Thus he began a slow recovery that culminated in the mid-eighteenth century, following the extensive damage suffered by the complex due to the earthquake of 29 November 1732, with the complete restoration of the monastery and the construction of the great church, the work of Domenico Antonio Vaccaro . In 1807 the king of Naples, Joseph Bonaparte suppressed the Abbey. The body of St. William was moved to Montevergine and furnishings of Goleto were divided between the neighboring countries. From 1807 to 1973 the monastery remained abandoned and the appeals of some of the revered monument recovery were useless. So anyone could steal portals and stones, the roofs and the walls came tumbling down, the brambles became masters to animals of all kinds. Only the peasants’ farmhouse continued his secular life. In 1973 he settled among the ruins of the abbey Father Lucio Maria De Marino (1912-1992), a Benedictine monaco from Montevergine, which brought with tenacity attention to the recovery of the material and spiritual Goleto. With him began the first restoration work that gradually allowed the functional recovery of the monastic complex, giving it back to life and the splendor that today everyone can admire. Since 1990, the Little Brothers of Jesus Caritas Community, inspired by Charles de Foucauld, who take care of spiritual animation goletano complex, which becomes more and more a reference point for all those who are thirsting for absolute.