Art and mystery’s philosophy

  • The village of Altomonte and Cistercian Romanesque in Calabria

    The village of Altomonte and Cistercian Romanesque in Calabria

    The village of Altomonte is situated on a promontory overlooking the wide valley of Esaro River, about 455 meters above sea level, between the plain of Sibari and the great peaks of Sila. Today’s urban settlement traces the organization of the defensive structures constructed in the Middle Ages, which still include the remains of the…

  • The “Madonna and the UFO” in Florence

    The “Madonna and the UFO” in Florence

    The Sala d’Ercole in Florence’s historic Palazzo Vecchio houses a mysterious painting. The Madonna and Child with the Infant St. John was possibly the work by Sebastiano Mainardi and dates from the second half of the 15th century. The “Madonna and the UFO” Over time one detail has overshadowed the work’s stylistic disquisitions. Behind the…

  • The Tempietto longobardo of Cividale del Friuli

    The Tempietto longobardo of Cividale del Friuli

    The doorway that gives access to the Tempietto longobardo of Cividale del Friuli not only separates the spaces of matter. It also figures that particular moment of transit, in history and in the figurative arts, that characterized the epic of the Longobards in Italy. In the ancient Roman village of Forum Iulii stands the limen…

  • The Temple of Clitumnus, sacred center of the Longobards

    The Temple of Clitumnus, sacred center of the Longobards

    There are places that, even across the centuries, preserve intact that admirable perception of innate sacredness. A stream of water flowing gracefully in the moonlight on the valley floor; a silent forest of beech and cypress trees, the edge of which declines impetuously along the banks of an ancient spring: the Sources of Campello reveal…

  • Saint Michael’s Abbey and the Portal of the Zodiac

    Saint Michael’s Abbey and the Portal of the Zodiac

    On the summit of Mount Pirchiriano, like an ancient guardian protecting the valley, stands the marvellous Saint Michael’s Abbey. It is an ancient and admirable place of faith, towering 962 metres above sea level, almost seems to reach towards the sky: it can only be accessed by a steep climb. The ascent is a metaphorical…

  • The Parish Church of Gropina and the Lombard pulpit

    The Parish Church of Gropina and the Lombard pulpit

    The Parish Church of San Pietro in Gropina, in the Valdarno, is as bare as a tree shaken by the wind on a winter morning. Nothing shows, except the mighty stone that has stood for centuries. There are no paintings, no colours, only a soft penumbra that pervades the spaces, fills every perspective of spiritual…

  • The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso

    The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso

    A fascinating sheer cliff, known as Sasso Ballaro, overlooks the shores of Lake Maggiore. The rock slopes downwards with its two hundred and sixty-eight steps. Suddenly, like an ecstatic revelation, a glimpse of infinite beauty appears. The landscape is majestic, and the mountains are reflected like diamonds in the calm waters of the lake; there…

  • The Basilica of San Vittore and the Baptistery of Arsago Seprio

    The Basilica of San Vittore and the Baptistery of Arsago Seprio

    An ancient path led from Milan to Lake Maggiore. There, where the pre-Alpine slopes began to rise and the path was difficult due to the rugged terrain, was Arsago Seprio. This village in the Seprio countryside was of great importance in the Middle Ages cause it had housed a parish since the earliest days of…

  • Casamari Abbey, the sobriety of the Cistercians

    Casamari Abbey, the sobriety of the Cistercians

    The birth of the Ordo cisterciensis can be compared to a journey back to the origins of monasticism. Thus, when Robert of Molesme in 1098 decided to establish a new monastery at Cîteaux he felt the need to rediscover that profound sense of the sacred that had characterized the monks of the early centuries. The…

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