Sassoferrato - Marche Region - Italy
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Abbey of Santa Croce

Sassoferrato, a timeless journey in history

The abbey of Santa Croce is located at the foot of the mountain with the same name, and it is one the most important proofs of Romanesque architecture in the Marche region.

It was built around the 12th  century, together with the annexed monastery, by Conti Atti, lords of Sassoferrato, who partially used the material from the roman town of Sentinum.

The monastery, that accommodated the Camaldolite monks from 1613 until the suppression of their order in 1935,  is currently closed.

It has the typical plant of the Marche region churches of that period, hence a Greek inscribed cross, like in the near church of San Vittore in Genga, Santa Maria delle Moie in Maiolati Spontini and San Claudio al Chienti in Corridonia.

As per today , after some restoration work, the church has an apse at the end of the main aisle and two other small semi-circular  apsis in the middle of the side aisles ; the central area is characterized by four quadrangular pillars where columns made of granite and limestone from Sentinum leaned against it.

These columns have Lombard capitals , carved in white limestone, showing geometric, botanical decorations, with real and fantastic animals, and one with the Crucifixion.

The entrance of the church has a barrel vault with frames made of stone carved with floral and geometrical motives;  the doorway consists offour geometric arches that lean of four pillars with capitals decorated with animals.

On the main altar, there is an altarpiece ,that dates back to 1524, portraying Saint Benedict  between four Saints and six praying monks , made by Pietro Paolo Agabiti, a 15th century  painter, sculptor and architect  from Sassoferrato.

Near the monastery there was a small church dedicated to Saint Rocco (protector against the plague), whose statuette, made as well by Agabiti, is visible inside the abbey.

Inside the abbey there are also other valuable remains of Sentinum, as well as other paintings.