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San Giovanni in Venere

The beautiful Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere stands proudly on a hill from which it dominates the rugged Adriatic coast and is located a few kilometers from the city center. The primitive church was built by Benedictine monks between the sixth and seventh centuries on the remains of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Venus. The current construction is due to the abbot Oderisio II (1155-1204), buried in the walled sarcophagus on the main facade.
First of all, the monumental façade with the large and ornate portal of the Moon (13th century) surrounded by slabs of white marble, carved in relief, which narrates the events of the life of the Baptist, is striking.
Inside, the church has the classic structure of the Cistercian basilicas, with three naves, ending with apses, divided by square pillars that support variously structured ogive and round arches. The presbytery, raised above the floor of the hall, is framed by a grandiose triumphal pointed arch. The altar, made up of an ancient marble slab, is located in the opening of the central apse. Under the presbytery lies the crypt divided by columns belonging to the ancient temple of Venus. Interesting medieval frescoes cover the basins of the apses, while on the eastern wall there is a small funeral monument from the 14th century.
Also interesting is the cloister formed by a gallery of twenty-nine three-light windows marked by sixty-eight columns without a base with variously decorated capitals. The three sides of the cloister join the large Gothic arch of the bell tower under whose span there is a sarcophagus from excavations carried out in the surrounding area.

Link: http://www.sangiovanninvenere.it.

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