Wonder  }  Location

Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis

It looks like a castle but it is not

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Where is

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Piazza Castello, 3, 33079 Sesto Al Reghena PN, Italia (12m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

Sesto al Reghena, in the province of Pordenone, is an authentic jewel of Friuli, whose origins go back to pre-Roman times. Here, on the border with Veneto, in the "land of the abbots," an area rich in greenery and waterways, stands the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis. As soon as you arrive, you will immediately realize that you are in a unique, original place with a high evocative rate, where art, history and spirituality are skillfully mixed within a bucolic setting. The perfect destination for an out-of-town trip!

Why it's special

A thousand-year-old abbey, rising in the green Friulian plain. A village that grew up around the ancient monastery. An oasis of peace and silence where you can find yourself. A special place to get in touch with nature. This is precisely the place to breathe the most ancient and authentic soul of Sesto al Reghena, one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.

Not to be missed

Art and history lovers should not miss a visit to the vast exhibition of stone and sculptural artifacts, (from Roman times to the Middle Ages) present in the Lapidary. Also not to be missed are the valuable paintings that can be seen throughout the abbey complex, starting with the monumental frescoes in the entrance portal of the Church of Santa Maria depicting figures of saints and scenes of chivalry, by Paduan painters of the school of Giotto.

A bit of history

The ancient Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis owes its name to the ancient forest, from the Latin word silva, that once surrounded it. According to some sources it was founded in 735 by three Lombard nobles who had decided to leave the secular life in favor of the cloistered one. Devastated by the Hungarians in 889, it was fortified and took on the appearance of a castle with defended by towers and moats. The abbey grew and became one of the most important religious poles in the region: it maintained resident abbots until 1431, when it began to have commendatory abbots (i.e., not resident there) including the well-known Cardinal Pietro Barbo, future Pope Paul II.


Beneath the Abbey's apse stretches the crypt, renovated between 1907 and 1917, characterized by several small bays with cross vaults in the center of which are preserved the urn of St. Anastasia, a splendid monument from the Lombard period, the 15th-century sandstone Pietà (or Vesperbild) to be attributed to a German master, and the Annunciation dating from the early 14th century.

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Gaia Mazzolo

The Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis overlooks the placid banks of the Reghena River constituting a hub of art, culture and spirituality in the "Land of the Abbots."


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