Featured in RB Explore Photography Page April – 12 – 2013
Views 1449 at May – 04 – 2014
Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities, Superintendence for the Architectural, the Landscape, the Historical Heritage. Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological of Italy
It belongs the Club of “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES IN ITALY” was founded through the incentive of the Tourism Council of the ANCI (National Association of Italian Municipalities).This project arose from the need to promote the great heritage of History, Art, Culture, Environment and Traditions found in small Italian towns which are, for the most part, cut off from the flow of visitors and tourists.
THE HUNCHBACK BRIDGE AND THE TRESURED ABBEY
Bobbio appears in the high valley between the Ponte Gobbo and the bell towers of the cathedral and the Church of San Colombano.
The Irish monk Colombano started building, in the place where the castle now stands, what would become a large monastic complex. Like Montecassino, it was also a beacon of culture thanks to its schools, the scriptorium and the most important library of the middle Ages.
A village that later grew to become the economic centre of Val Trebbia developed around the Benedictine Abbey of San Colombano, which was moved to its current location around the ninth century by the abbot Agilulfo.
Only part of the bell tower, together with the mosaic flooring, the crypt and fragments of the circular apse remain of the old Agilulfo Basilica . The current Basilica rose on the ruins of the Proto-Romanesque building (between 1456 and 1522). It has one nave, two aisles and a transept which were frescoed by Bernardino Lanzani during the period 1526-30. Note the much appreciated beauty of the Madonna con Santi (“Madonna and Saints”).
In the Presbytery there are the wooden stalls for the choir (1488) and from the same period, the sarcophagus of San Colombano by Giovanni De Patriachi (1480) that is preserved in the crypt. Before entering the crypt, on a level under the church floor you can admire the beautiful mosaic which was the original flooring of the Agilulfo Basilica.
It was like a prayer mat where the faithful told of their toils working the land through the year, in a period where the symbolic exchange between man and nature was not broken.
The crypt preserves some fifteenth-century frescoes surmounted by finely decorated Lombard marble slabs, which contain the graves of the abbots of San Colombano. On the right side of the crypt there is an iron fence from the first half of the twelfth century, that divided the area of the faithful from that of the monks.
The hamlet of Porta Nuova leads to Piazza Duomo which is crowned with arcades, on top of which are old palaces. A thirteenth-century head for driving out malignant spirits looks at you from Palazzo Brugnatelli: its headress makes it possible to identify it as a magistrate.
The cathedral, which was erected in the eleventh century and enlarged between 1450 and 1475, has a simple facade flanked by two bell towers dating back to the same period. In the Chapel of San Giovanni, restoration works have brought to light a beautiful Annunciazione from the second half of the fifteenth century.
Beside the church is the Episcopal Palace, thats original structure dates back to the eleventh century while the current one, built by the Comacini masters, is from the fifteenth century.
Going down through the hamlet of Porta Alcarina, you will find the oldest building in Bobbio, called “of queen Teodolinda”, dating back to the fifteenth century. Continuing down, with a view the Malaspina-Dal Verme Castle that overlooks the village with its mighty turret, you get to the state road. Crossing it you get to the symbol of Bobbio, the famous Ponte Vecchio, which is also called Gobbo (“hunchback”) or “Devil’s bridge” thanks to its peculiar contorted profile.
The Romanesque style bridge which has had subsequent modifications including a baroque superstructure is 280 meters long and has eleven different arches. The earliest records date back to 1196, in the past it was destroyed by flooding and has been rebuilt several times.
Finally in Piazza San Francesco, you can see the 1621 Sanctuary of Madonna dell’Aiuto and the simple Franciscan style Monastery of San Francesco from the thirteenth-century with a fifteenth-century cloister, and the church that was rebuilt in Baroque style at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Nikon D100 Sigma 15/30