Monastery and Temple World Heritage Sites
In 2011 the Monastery of Santa Maria in Valle and the Longobard Temple were declared World Heritage Sites classified in the serial site “ Italia Longobardorum.Places of The Power (568 – 774 AD)”. The Site comprises the places in Italy that have preserved the most important monumental and artistic traces of the period and which express the universal aspects of Longobard culture at its peak. The Longobards, a people of Germanic origin from northern Europe, moved down the continent and occupied the peninsula between 568 and 774, creating a Barbaric kingdom which extended from Friuli and the Alps to Benevento and Apulia. The age of Longobard rule in Italy marked a fundamental moment of transition between the classical and the medieval world, which lies at the basis of the later developments of European civilisation. While maintaining their own traditional identity, in art, in written culture and in law the Longobards recovered, continued and renewed the antique forms, giving them new meanings and a strong innovative component. The assimilation of Roman and Byzantine architectural and decorative tradition, translated into a new language, gave rise, between the end of the 7th and the 8th century, to a flourishing art form that spread from the urban courts to a large part of the peninsula. The assets that have been registered in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage, on the serial site, are:
- Cividale del Friuli: the area of the Gastaldaga with the so-called Longobard Temple and the Episcopal complex with the remains of the Palace of the Patriarch under the National Archaeological Museum;
- Brescia: the Monastic Complex of San Salvatore - Santa Giulia, built by order of Desiderius, the last Longobard king and of his consort, Ansa;
- Castelseprio: the area of the Castrum with the Torba Tower and the church outside the walls called Santa Maria foris portas, with its famous frescoes;
- Spoleto and Campello sul Clitunno: respectively the Basilica of San Salvatore and the Temple of Clitumnus; monumental buildings in the classical tradition enriched by the Longobards with original and precious decorations;
- Benevento: the complex of Santa Sofia, built by order of Duke Arechis II, with the church and the adjoining cloister, part of the abbey which now houses the Sannio Museum;
- Monte S. Angelo: the Sanctuary of San Michele; first Sanctuary in the West dedicated to the cult of Saint Michael, "adopted" by the Longobards and then spread to northern Europe, visited by noble Longobards and pilgrims from all over the continent.