Abbey of Pomposa
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Architect unknown
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Location near Ferrara, Italy   map
Date 800 to 1100   timeline
Building Type church
 Construction System masonry, cut stone
Climate mediterranean
Style Romanesque
Notes three-aisled plan with very simple arch-topped collonades






Discussion Abbey of Pomposa Commentary

"One of the most appealing Italian churches of the period (Romanesque) is the Abbey of Pomposa, begun in the late ninth century on marshy land 50 miles southeast of Ferrara. Becoming popular with local dignitaries—including the Benedictine monk and musical reformer Guido d'Arezzo—the church was extended some 26 feet in the eleventh and twelfth centuries."

"The interior of the three-aisle abbey is architecturally simple, with planar, almost shaved stone wall...topped by a wood-truss roof. The raised sanctuary level in the apse is the only structural accent. This purposeful simplicity provides the perfect background for the extraordinary frescoes that cover almost all available wall space. Painted in the 1350s by Iacopo da Bologna, they combine medieval primitiveness with Byzantine overtones— accents from nearby Ravenna. The walls depict Old and New Testament scenes; the apse shows Christ with the Blessed."

— G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p44.

Sources on Abbey of Pomposa

Kenneth John Conant. Carolingian and Romanesque Architecture 800 to 1200. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1959. exterior photo showing church and tower from the west, plate 137.

G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3556-2. LC 90-30728. NA200.S57 1990. discussion p44. interior photo, p45.   Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Abbey of Pomposa


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