The Abbey of Montelabate

The Abbey of MontelabateThe ancient and stately Benedictine abbey of Montelabate is located 18 kilometres far from Perugia and overlooks the lands of its huge estate. Inside, there is a splendid cloister and, next to it, the ancient crypt, the "sala del capitolo" with frescoes and a beautiful cellar probably just where the lower church was. a document, dated 993, certifies the gift of a land to the monastery of Santa Maria of Valdiponte, which was called Montelabate Abbey only in 1749 after the name of a close castle.
Therefore its foundation is certainly preceding the year 1000. Abbeys usually were an important point of reference for people after the end of the Roman Empire. The abbey of Montelabate controlled about 40 parishes. The first abbot whose name is known was the abbot Peter who restablished here the strict Benedictine Rule. His grave is behind the high altar of the upper church. Above the two side altars we can admire frescoes attributable to Fiorenzo di Lorenzo and Bartolomeo Caporali, or to their schools.
The abbot Trasmondo, elected in 1267, is represented in the frescoes of the "Sala del Capitolo". Since the XVth century abbeys started losing their autonomy. In 1400, after the last abbot was sent away, other abbots who were pure executors of Pope's indications, started following one another. The Cistercians introduced into the abbey by the cardinal Filippo Monti gave the abbey back its life. In 1860, with the Unity of Italy, they were expelled and the property was sold to the marquis Medici who changed it into a villa and a farm. In 1959 it was bought by the senator Gaslini and it is still property of the Gaslini Foundation of Genoa.

Comune di Perugia Domenica 28 Giugno 2009

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