Sanctuary / Church

Former Abbey of San Pietro in Vincoli

Former Abbey of San Pietro in Vincoli

At the outskirts of Villar San Costanzo, surrounded by greenery, there is a church that stands on the remains of an ancient Benedictine abbey: the Parish Church of San Pietro in Vincoli, in whose complex there is the Benedictine crypt and the chapel of San Giorgio entirely frescoed.

The tall Romanesque-Gothic bell tower can be seen from afar and a visit to it will lead you to discover a history that begins in 722, when the abbey was founded by the Lombard king Aripertus II.

Destroyed by the Saracens in the 10th century, it was rebuilt, a first time, during the 11th and 12th centuries, then enlarged and modified in the following centuries.

In 1450, Abbot Giorgio Costanzia of Costigliole had a funeral chapel built in the right aisle. The walls were frescoed by Pietro da Saluzzo, known as Maestro del Villar, who painted scenes of the life and martyrdom of St George, a true treasure of international Gothic. The decoration of the chapel is rich and complex, starting with the cross vault in whose sails the Four Evangelists are depicted and the pillars with effigies of numerous saints including a fresco depicting St. Francis receiving the stigmata, an iconography rare in the Alpine valleys. You will also be able to discover the sculpted sarcophagus, possibly the work of the Zabreri brothers, master stonemasons of the valley.

In 1722-24, the Monregalese architect Francesco Gallo was entrusted with the task of reconstructing what was left of the now declining abbey in Baroque style,

A curiosity: inside the parish church, you can find a marble slab with reddish marks that popular tradition believes to be the stone on which Saint Constantine was beheaded.

The Benedictine Crypt

From the Constanzia chapel you can access the 11th-century Benedictine crypt. It is divided into three naves by two rows of seven columns and has Romanesque half-columns along the walls. A small jewel that lifts the spirit.

  • How to visit the site

    Visits organized for the year 2024:

    • 14/04/2024
    • 12/05/2024
    • 09/06/2024
    • 16/06/2024
    • 14/07/2024
    • 11/08/2024
    • 08/09/2024
    • 13/10/2024
    Hours: 2.30pm-5.30pm It can be visited on other days by contacting the Volunteers for the Art of Villar San Costanzo on 335.7780966 or the Parish of Villar San Costanzo on 0171 902432.

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