The Abbey's Origins & Architecture
The Abbey of San Vito dates back to the 10th century, when a group of monks from Montecassino landed in Polignano seeking safety from Saracen raids, according to legend. They brought St. Vitus' relics, a Christian martyr who became the patron saint of dancers and epileptics. The monks chose this place because of its natural beauty and strategic location.
One of the Abbey of San Vito's most distinguishing features is its unusual blend of architectural styles. Over the centuries, the monastery has been inspired by Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic styles, resulting in a harmonious blend representing the region's rich history. The Abbey's front, which includes a rose window and an elaborately carved doorway, invites visitors to explore its mysteries.
Inside the Abbey: Timeless Treasures and Artefacts
The Abbey of San Vito houses a wealth of art and artefacts that provide a window into the lives of the monks who once called this place their home. Among the highlights are the following:
The Crypt: The crypt, located beneath the main altar, is claimed to house St. Vitus' relics. The crypt's walls are embellished with frescoes representing incidents from the saint's life, providing a lively backdrop to the solemn chamber.
The Cloister: Encircled by graceful arches, this peaceful courtyard was once the heart of monastic life at San Vito. Here, monks would gather for prayer, meditation, and quiet contemplation.
The Library: The library has an extraordinary collection of old writings and is an invaluable resource for historians and scholars alike. Illuminated manuscripts, rare volumes, and papers from Abbey's illustrious past are among its cherished holdings.
Exploring the Surroundings: Natural Beauty and Local Charm
The environment surrounding the Abbey of San Vito is just as beautiful as the monastery itself. Stroll along the craggy shoreline for panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea and the town's well-known sea caves. The pristine waters are ideal for a pleasant swim. The adjacent village provides a true sense of Italian life with winding cobblestone lanes, quaint trattorias, and friendly residents.
A Timeless Journey Awaits
The Abbey of San Vito is a must-see for anybody visiting the Puglia area of Italy. Its rich history, gorgeous architecture, and ideal setting combine for a unique experience. You'll be taken back in time as you tour this hallowed site's ancient halls and timeless treasures, gaining a deeper appreciation for the beauty and tenacity of Italy's cultural legacy.