Renowned for its Gregorovius inspired "Civita", the Benedictine Abbey of San Sebastiano rises from the territory of the contrada bearing the same name, situated between the coast and Monte Pizzuto in the of Comune di Alatri − a fraction of the province of Frosinone − circa 4 km from the city centre.

This Sixth century abbey was built on the remains of an ancient Roman ruin in the valley of the “Servidè”.

The main access routes − arriving from Via Colle Massaro, Via Allegra and Via Salerno − are not easily passable. The road arriving from the low ground has recently been refurbished, but is extremely narrow; it is the only road that was originally used by the monks who travelled between the Monastery of Subiaco and Montecassino, after the crossing of an ancient Roman bridge that spanned the Cosa river.

The main entrance to the abbey is a great door situated on the north wall − through which one arrives in the square, or second cloister, in front of the new church.

The service entrance is found on the western facade of the complex, and leads into a large space in the west wing of the first cloister, demarcated by a socle topped by six beautiful mullioned windows − four with triple lights and two with double lights.

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The architectural complex does not present elements of particular worth. The buildings, the product of ten centuries of construction, are not architectural models and as a result of their austere, Spartan simplicity, show the signs of their slight state of degrade more easily. If one excludes the traces of ancient frescoes present in the old church and the valuable cycle of frescoes executed by the school of Cavallini in the new church, the areas of major interest, without artistic ambitions or merits, include:

  1. The Refectory with its square, barrel vaulted ceiling supported by a single, central column;
  2. The Parish (originally the Abbot or Prior’s hall), characteristically composed of three splayed windows on the western side and a groin vaulted ceiling, and a central semi-circular arch.

The Southern wing of the cloister is delimited by a portico composed of octagonal columns topped by simple medieval capitals. The two fountains in the cloister are of more recent origins.

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Tradition holds true that the Monastry of S. Sebastiano was founded by the patrician Petrus Marcellinus Felix Liberius, a contemporary of Cassiodoro, who as was the latter, would be one of the most important Italian administrators of the Sixth century.

Liberio nominated Servando, a monk imbued with celestial grace, for the execution of all works relative to the foundation of the first nucleus at the Abbey. Benedetto (towards the end of the sixth century) having left Subiaco for Montecassino, seems to have passed through this area, asking for hospitality at Servando.

It is not certain that the monks of Servando adhered to the Benedictine order − and there is the possibility that they practised the theory of Western monks. It is possible that they adhered to the Regula Magistri and that indeed, this monastic order was introduced in central Italy by the monks of Servando, while some authors go so far as to maintain that the Regula was in fact written here.

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The complex is legally divided into three distinct sections belong to three different landholders.

The first, and most important consists of the OLD CHURCH, with its traces of antique frescoes; the NEW CHURCH with the important cycle of frescoes attributed to the school of Cavallini, the Refectory, wings and main cloister.

The second section includes a HALL WITH A VAULTED CEILING on the ground floor, currently utilised as the parish and open to the faith, with the statue of S. Sebastiano created by contemporary craftsmen, (originally, it was probably the Abbot of Prior's hall). This space, communicated with a larger hall on the first floor by means of an internal, wooden staircase originally demarcated as the monks' dormitory, it is now used for activities and as a deposit for RURAL AND PASTORAL ACTIVITIES. In fact, today according to tradition one often finds domestic animals such as goats, ducks, pigs, and chickens in the Abbey's courtyard.

The third part, constructed in ca. 1400, is made up of the rooms on the first floor. Originally the apartments of the Abbot, they now make up the offices of the FONDAZIONE "L'ABBADIA", and a small art gallery dedicated to old world and antique art, and in particular the exhibition of works of great dimensions.

For any information about Fondazione L'Abbadia or about the Abbey please contact us. The Abbey is available for events, cerimonies and short stays.

badiasansebastiano@gmail.com

info@badiasansebastiano.it

TELEFONO: 0775.873050

CELLULARE: 3381566669