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ABBEY OF ST. STEPHEN’S
Of the Abbey of St. Stephen’s can be visited today the splendid church, equipped with a bell tower and flanked, on the southern side, by the walls of the ancient cemetery, the last testimonies of a larger complex of factories, disappeared between 1699 and 1793. On the northern side there is a small square that shows the plan of the cloister. It is overlooked by the canon, which was once part of the ancient monastery.
The Abbey of St. Stephen’s of Carrara was founded in July 1027 by Litolfo of Carrara (ancestor of the homonymous dynasty). The monastery, belonging to the Benedictine Reformed Order of Cluny, is growing so much that - as early as in the 13th century - one of the three major entities of the diocese so much so that the abbot was given a chair at the University of Padua, with the post of vice-chancellors and power to confer the degree.
Since 1437, the abbey was assigned by the Pope to an ecclesiastical beneficiary - often a high prelate of the Vatican Curia –who became the owner of the usufruct. His vast income is enjoyed by cardinals, as well as by popes (like Paul II, of whom remains a great coat of arms in the square stone) and by reigning princes (like Ferdinando I De Medici, grand duke of Tuscany, whose majestic fireplace remains in the canonical house).
Prosperity came to an end in 1776, when the Republic of Venice confiscated all its assets and puts them up for sale to the highest bidder.
The Church in the apse shows obvious influences ‘comacini’ (architectural style of the corporation of the masters builders of the Como area), retains three large portions of the famous mosaics (X – XI sec.) of which was originally paved internally.
On the north wall is the magnificent mausoleum of Marsilio of Carrara (died in 1338), second Lord of Padua, work of Andriolo de Sanctis, while in the niche of the altar of the Most Holy is found the ‘Pietà in terracotta’ (last decade of 15th century), the work of Andrea Briosco known as “il Riccio”.
The beautiful baptismal font (1580) preserves the cartouche with the Medici coat of arms.
The bell tower with its exarchals influences, was restored in 1293. The bell tower still preserves, in the north wall, the traces of the original window system with single – double arched – trifora window, and the ceramic basins on the small arches that make it a unique in the Venetian mainland. In the cloister, now a small square, is kept ‘la vera da pozzo’(1335 ca, closed protective railing around a well hole) is carved stone with the graveyards of Marsilio of Carrara.
CATEGORY: Places of Faith
THEME: Bike; Family (suitable for children)
ADDRESS: Piazza Santo Stefano, 9
NOTES ON VISITS: for large groups, it is advisable to warn the parish priest
WINTER TIME: open on weekends, occasionally on weekdays
SUMMER TIME: open on weekends, occasionally on weekdays
EXHIBITIONS: during the patronal festival (end of July / beginning of August)
NOTES FOR DISABLED: access to the interior of the Church through the two external steps; the external spaces do not present architectural barriers
TELEPHONE: 049 9115027