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Romanesque Churches of Sardinia Virtual Tour

In the Middle Ages between the tenth and fourteenth century Sardinia was divided into four kingdoms (Giudicati): the kingdom of Gallura in the north-east, the “Giudicato” of Torres in north-west, the kingdom of Arborea in the centre of Sardinia with much of the west coast and the kingdom of Cagliari occupying the southern part. These kingdoms were guided by members of the most important families of the Sardinia; thanks to these arrived in Sardinia the Benedectine Monks of Montecassino. The Monks began to build Abbeys in much of the territory until then uninhabited. Our journey focuses on three Romanesque churches in northern Sardinia:

Sant'Antioco of Bisarcio - Ozieri. The romanesque Church was built in a rural area, on volcanic rock, in the territory of Ozieri before 1090. The first building was destroyed by a fire around the end of the 11th century and was rebuilt since the first half of the 12th century. On the outside we have the sculpturesque decoration of the arches of the porch covered with a cross vault; the upper part, which collapsed, results from a reconstruction; the apse has rhomboidal ornaments and the church has a truncated bell tower. 

San Pietro del Crocefisso - Bulzi. The name of the romanesque Church derives from the Deposition from the Cross, a wooden sculpture housed in the religious building. The Church had two different building phases, one dating to the early 12th century and the other to the late 12th century. To the latter belong the superelevated room (which originally presented a single aisle), the transept and the facade, characterized by an alternation of limestone and volcanic rocks. Such an interchange is reproduced inside, chiefly in the apse and in the barrel vaults placed in the transept. The portal is surmounted by a lunette in which is inserted a panel portraying human figures.

Nostra Signora (Our lady) - Tergu. The building, along with some others, is mentioned among the estates owned by the monks of the monastery of Montecassino in the bronze portals (dating back to about 1120) of the abbey of Montecassino itself. Its erection includes two different building phases: the first phase dates back to its foundation (before 1120), while the second may be dated to the end of the 12th century. The beautiful facade is ascribable to the second phase, characterized by both white and coloured stones, “zigzagging-like” columns and decorated with inlaid wheels. Its plan presents a T-shaped cross with a rectangular presbytery.

Sardinia 360°: Panoramic Images of Romanesque Churches

SARDINIA 360° … ROMANESCQUE CHURCHES

truncated bell tower of bisarcio

Sant'Antioco of Bisarcio - Ozieri (Ss) • Side view with the truncated bell tower

The Basilica of Sant'Antioco of Bisarcio is one of the largest Romanesque Churches in Sardinia. The religious building is in an isolated rural site on a hill of volcanic origin in the town of Ozieri in the province of Sassari. This location gives the church a special charm. From the architectural point of view, we find elements of Pisan and Lombard Romanesque.

main façade of san antioco of bisarcio

Sant'Antioco di Bisarcio - Ozieri (Sassari) • Main Facade with the Portico

On the facade develops the porch with three round arches, the central one leads from the narthex that has six cross vault. To the right of the narthex, we have the access stairs to the upper zone of the porch where we find a private Chapel of the Bishop of Bisarcio. The interior of the Church has a nave and two aisles: the central one has a cover consisting of wood trusses while the lateral have cross vaults. The atmosphere is dim with the soft light entering through tall, narrow single-lancet windows.

san pietro of the images

San Pietro in Simbranos (delle Immagini) - Bulzi (Sassari)

The church is called “of the Crucifix” and “of the Images” because it contained a wooden group of the Deposition and an eighteenth-century Polyptych. The facade of the Church is characterized by a bicolor horizontal texture of white limestone and black trachyte and any decorative element (arches, rings, ...) and structural (piers) are in white limestone.

nostra signora of tergu

Nostra Signora - Tergu (Sassari)

A long street framed by sculptures representing the Stations of the “via Crucis”, brings us to the Basilica, the oldest evidence of Romanesque-Pisan art in Sardinia, dating from around 1065, rebuilt after a fire by the Judge of Torres Mariano I de Lacon Guanale and became property of the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino in 1122; passed the arched entrance to the Shrine, the church receives the visitors with the warmth of its colours, the red trachyte and the limestone of the ornaments, and invites to discover, in contrast to the powerful visual effect of the outside, the severity of the interior, bare, but very suggestive.

360° Panoramas by Simona Bartolomei

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