San Nazzaro Sesia. Abbey of Saints Nazario and Celso



Founded between 1040 and 1053, the abbey represents one of the most significant monastic complexes in Piedmont. It consists of walls with circular corner turrets, a high Romanesque bell tower, a Lombard Gothic church and an elegant cloister with a 15th-century cycle of frescoes dedicated to the stories of St Benedict. The situation in the area during the 13th century was rather unstable and dangerous, and so the Abbey, a rather unusual case for lowland complexes, was fortified by surrounding it with a moat and walls strengthened by mighty corner towers, thus transforming it into a shelter for the villagers. Here, the massive bell tower not only had a defensive function, but also represented the last, extreme shelter in case of siege.


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