SAN VITTORE DELLE CHIUSE
as a Romanesque jewel of the Marche region, the abbey church of San Vittore
Delle Chiuse stands at the mouth of the Gola di Frasassi gorge, in a narrow
valley grooved out by the Sentino river, between the limestone walls of Monte
Frasassi and Monte Vallemontagnana.
term de clusa or de clusis apparently refers to the church’s geographical
position at the eastern entrance to the gorge, “closing” it off. The main route
of access was a bridge across the Sentino, still in existence, built on a
pointed arch, on which a tower/gate was erected.
current structure dates to around 1070–1080, but we know from records that the
monastic complex existed at least from 1007. A 1000-year-old parchment, now in
Princeton University Library, tells us that the monastery was founded in that
period and built on land called Victorianum.
The church and the remains of the ancient monastery are today home to
the Speleo-Paleontological and Archaeological Museum.
from local limestone with travertine and brick inserts, the outside is
decorated with pilasters and blind arches. An octagonal tiburio (lantern) sits
atop the roof, and a cylindrical stair tower and a quadrangular tower flank the
entrance. Four supporting pillars divide the interior into nine rib-vaulted
bays. The central dome, on the other hand, is set on a square base and an
has three aisles with apses, and a transept with an apse at both ends. Two
portals on the north and south sides connect the main building to the cemetery
(north portal) and the cloister (south portal).
the wall next to the door that led to the cemetery appears the infinity symbol,
a variant of the ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail, representing the
cyclical nature of all things and eternity.