Sant' Abbondio Facade
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Although the present structure that is Sant’ Abbondio is now surrounded by Como’s industrial district, it occupies ground regarded as sacred from very ancient times. Begun in 1013 by Benedictine monks and consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1095, this church was built on the site of an 8th C. church dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul. In 1600, when renovations and additions were being made to the church of Sant’ Abbondio, architectural remains were discovered indicating that a sanctuary dedicated to Mercury once stood on the site. For a time, the church housed the relics of Abbondio, who served as bishop to Como in the 5th C. and was later named the town’s patron. The saint’s bones were eventually moved to Santa Maria Maggiore in Como. The current building has undergone a number of renovations and, subsequently, restorations. As a result, some of the church’s early features have been preserved. Inside, for example, colorful 14th C. apse frescoes created by Lombard artists influenced by the Sienese school were recovered in the 19th C. The exterior of the building preserves a fine example of Lombard Romanesque architecture. The church’s plan, evident in its plain facade, is that of a five-aisled basilica. Aisle roofs are trussed. The nave (the fifth aisle) is covered with a flat ceiling. At the end of the nave, each of the two inner aisles terminates in a square tower. Beyond the towers, the choir is composed of two square, vaulted bays and a semi-circular apse. The round-arched windows are elaborated with wide, beautiful bas-relief carvings of interlacing geometric knots, spiral vines, fruits, birds and animals, motifs all characteristic of the Lombard style. ca. July 1991
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