Area of the Baptismal Church

The 18th Century church of St. Zenone stands on the area where the Romanesque baptismal church was erected, whose ancient structures infer a first phase dating back to the 11th Century and a reconstruction in the 12th Century which includes the bell tower, the only element still standing of the religious complex, while the rectory, residence of the clergy of the baptismal church, is still well preserved.

Archaeological surveys identified the church façade built in the 12th Century facing east-west, therefore parallel to the ancient rectory (the building on the north side of the square, along via Mazzini (Mazzini street), erected between the rectory and the current southern entrance door of St. Zeno. It was probably a single-nave church with two apses; the bell tower, featuring an usual layout, was erected on the south-east corner of the church, in front of the minor apse, as witnessed by the openings at its base: one gave access to the apse, one to the nave and the third was facing the sanctuary; a fourth opening, on the south side, gave access to the churchyard. The orderly walls in accurately cut and smoothened ashlars make it possible to date the complex to the second half of the 12th Century.

In the 15th Century, the church that was now too small to fulfil its function, was demolished and replaced by a larger building facing north-south: the façade was extending to the south perimeter of the current church and the interior was divided by three transverse arches supporting the roof, like many contemporary churches in Sebino area.

The same phases can be seen in the ancient refectory, one of the most relevant residential Romanesque buildings in the territory of Brescia: built in various phases starting in the 11th Century, the complex measured about 20 metres in length, with a two-storey structure divided in two large, still visible rooms, dating back to the mid 13th Century. On the outside, the 11th Century phase stands out in the few wall sections consisting of simply rough hewn, small size ashlars, on which the walls in carefully aligned, square and smoothened stone blocks were placed during the mid 12th Century – perhaps during the reconstruction of the church.


Monica Ibsen

Iniziativa realizzata nell’ambito del bando Wonderfood & Wine di Regione Lombardia e Unioncamere Lombardia per la promozione di Sapore inLOMBARDIA

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