Civiltà del Po - l'Abbazia di San Benedetto in Polirone
Un'immagine dell'Abbazia di San Benedetto in Polirone

The Abbey

Over a thousand years ago the Monastery of San Benedetto in Polirone was founded. It has been one thousand years that the air around this area has been charged with the energy of the Monastery. As one passes through the cloisters and enters the Abbey, ascending the stairs of the Barberini, visiting the complex of the Monastary, looking out on the plains, it is hard not to imagine the important gift that this sanctuary has offered the territory. A gift that, it is our responsibility to protect. One thousand years for the Monastary tied to the Cluny and Montecassino Abbeys. One thousand years for the Sanctuary so well loved by Matilde di Canossa and administrated by the Gonzaga family, thanks to these holdings began their ascent to the principal duchy. One thousand years for the structure that for eight centuries has dominated the padana plains. This is the birthplace of Italy's most important agricultural centre, thanks to hard labour of monks that bonified and cultivated this area.
Some of the most important minds in the 1500's tied their lives to the Monastary: from the poet Teofilo Folengo to the Philosopher Benedetto Fontanini, even Martin Luther was an illustrious guest. A number of important artists worked in the Abbey: from the anonymous miniatures found in a splendid script in the Scriptorium, now conserved in the Mantuan Archive Library and in many other Libraries throughout the world, attributed to renowned artist like, Correggio, Giulio Romano and Paolo Veronese.

A summery of the History of the Abbey

1007 Tedaldo di Canossa founds the Polirone Monastary
1016 The Armenian pilgrim Simeone dies in Polirone
1024 Simeone is canonized and the Church is the first dedicated to him
1077 Polirone is connected to the protection of Pope Gregory VII and is tied to the Cluny Monastary
1115 Matilde di Canossa dies and as expressed in her will she is buried at Polirone
1450 Guido Gonzaga, commended, reconstructs a large part of the Monastary
1500 Lucrezia Pico della Mirandola leaves a great deal of her possessions to the Monastary and the monks in her will, in order to reconstruct the church
1510 Martin Luther visits Polirone
1512 Mantuan Maccheronic poet and monk Teofilo Folengo visits Polirone
1514 Correggio paints the organ decorations and the east side walls of the large refectory in Polirone
1540 Giulio Romano begins the reconstruction of the Polironian Basilica
1547 The new basilica is consecrated
1550 Vincenzo Rovetta engraves the Basilica Choir
1559 Antonio Begarelli works on the statues in the Basilica
1561 Paolo Veronese paints some panels on the Basilica alter
1562 Giovanni Maria Piantavigna engraves the wardrobes of the Polironian sexton
1674 Giovan Battista Barberini builds the monumental stairway
1695 The edification of the balustrade opposite the Basilica with statues of the apostles
1726 Giuseppe Bonatti edifies a new organ for the Basilica
1790 Paolo Pozzo makes the projects for a new library and some Polironian restoration
1797 The decree to suppress the Monastary by Napoleon Bonaparte
XIX century The Abbey buildings are raided and demolished
XX century Reconstruction and use of the intact sections of the monastic complex
1977 The inauguration of the Museum of Peasant Culture in the Padana in the reconstructed area on the first floor of the Saint Simeone Cloisters
1989 The discovery of Correggio's affrescos in the old refectory and the inauguration of the Museum of the Abbey
2001 The completion of the restoration of the sides and facade of the Basilica
2005 The recuperation of the old monastic hospital

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