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Valvisciolo Abbey

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Façade of the abbey church.

Valvisciolo Abbey is a Cistercian monastic complex in the province of Latina, central Italy, near the towns of Sermoneta and Ninfa.

It is an example of rigorous Romanesque-Cistercian architecture, considered a masterwork of that style in central Italy after the nearby Fossanova Abbey.


According to tradition, the abbey was founded in the 8th century by Greek Basilian monks. It was occupied and restored by the Knights Templar in the 13th century, who after the dissolution of their order were replaced by the Cistercians in 1312-15. The monastery was dissolved in 1807 but was re-settled in 1864 and is still extant.

A medieval legend tells that in 1314, when the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay was burnt at the stake, the church's architraves were broken. The Templar influence can be still noticed today from several crosses with their characteristic shape, such as that in the rose window. During a restoration, a Templar palindromic Sator Square was discovered on a wall: it is the only known variant in which the letters form five concentric rings, each one divided into five sectors.

The interior of the church consists of a nave and two aisles divided by pilasters and columns. The walls are plain, according to the Cistercian taste. The abbey has also a cloister.

Coordinates: 41°34′4″N 12°58′52″E / 41.56778°N 12.98111°E / 41.56778; 12.98111

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