|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Inscription||2011 (35th session)|
|Area||14.08 ha (34.8 acres)|
|Buffer zone||306.22 ha (756.7 acres)|
Longobards in Italy: Places of Power (568-774 A.D.) is seven groups of historic buildings that reflect the achievements of the Germanic tribe of the Lombards (also referred to as Longobards), who settled in Italy during the sixth century and established a Lombard Kingdom which ended in 774 A.D.
The groups comprise monasteries, church buildings, and fortresses and became UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2011 as they testify "to the Lombards' major role in the spiritual and cultural development of Medieval European Christianity".
The monumental area with the monastic complex of San Salvatore-Santa Giulia at Brescia includes the convent of Santa Giulia as well as the basilica of San Salvatore and the Roman Forum archaeological area.
Founded in 753 as a church for the convent by Desiderius, the Duke of Brescia and future king of the Longobards, and his wife Ansa, the convent of San Salvatore, characterised by the contemporary use of Longobard style and classic and ornate decorative motifs, is one of the better examples of Early Medieval religious architecture. Over the centuries it was modified many times and became part of the new Conventual complex, whose Church, dedicated to Santa Giulia, was finished in 1599.
To the west of the monastic complex is the monumental area consisting of the Capitolium, the republican sanctuary and the Roman theatre, closely linked with the stories about San Salvatore-Santa Giulia. The oldest religious building of the Roman forum dates back to the end of the first century BC. The exceptional level of conservation of the architectural and decorative aspects makes this archaeological area a unique example in northern Italy.
The castrum with the Torba Tower and the church outside the walls at Castelseprio (Province of Varese) includes the Torba Monastery, the Santa Maria foris portas church with its frescoes, and the ruins of the San Giovanni Evangelistic basilica. The Longobards turned the Castelseprio Castrum, which was previously a Roman military outpost and an Ostrogoth defensive bastion, firstly into a place for commerce and then into a monastery (8th century).
The monastery includes the tower, built by the Ostrogoths and re-adapted for monastic purposes by the Longobards, and also the little church named after the Virgin Mary. Only the ruins of the big Castelseprio Basilica remain, three naves with a central apse and absidium[check spelling], however the Santa Maria foris portas has remained intact, including large parts of its apsidal frescoes, which are some of the largest murial paintings found from the entire period of the Early Middle Ages.
The basilica of San Salvatore at Spoleto (Province of Perugia) was an Early Christian basilica from the 4th-5th century, on which the Longobards carried out extensive renovations during the 8th century. The basilica was built with three naves: also the chancel is tripartite and it is covered by a vault with an octagonal base. The apse is a semicircle and is closed off on the outside by a straight wall. At either side of the flank are two apse areas with a ribbed vault. The inside has lost its original decorations of stuccos and paintings, but preserves a rich entablature with Doric frieze, set on Doric and Corinthian columns. On the original 8th century facade, marked by lesenes and divided in to two sections from one corner, only the corners of the windows and the three portals sculpted with classic motifs have managed to be preserved.
The Clitunno Tempietto in Campello sul Clitunno (Province of Perugia) is a small church dedicated to San Salvatore, in the form of an Ancient Greek style Corinthian temple. The constructors had probably re-used remains from an ancient Pagan sacellum as well as spolia material - however, most of the sculpted ornaments are original creations and haven't been made out of re-used materials from the Roman age. On the architrave there are square Roman square capitals inscribed on the north, south and west sides - a rare example of monumental Early Medieval epigraphy. The inside consists of a large room, covered by a barrel vault and with an aedicula which frames the bottom apse. There are also frescoes from the 7th century.
The Santa Sofia complex at Benevento (Campania) is located around the Santa Sofia church, previously home to the most important Longobard duke of Langobardia Minor and founded by Duke Arechis II around 760. It was based on the model of the Palatine chapel of Liutprando in Pavia; the central plan is based on that of the homonymous church of Constantinople, however, at the centre, there are six columns which support the dome which are positioned at each of the corners of a hexagon and are connected by arches. The inner hexagon is then surrounded by a decagonal ring with eight piers in white limestone and two pillars at either side of the entrance, each arranged parallel to the corresponding wall. Fragments of original frescoes, which used to cover the whole of the inside of the church, remain on the two side apses.
A monastery is also a part of the complex, although it had been preserved after being rebuilt in the 13th century, replacing the original Longobard building with the another later addition of a quadrangular cloister.
The Sanctuary of San Michele at Monte Sant'Angelo (Province of Foggia) is situated in the Duchy of Benevento and was founded before the arrival of the Longobards but adopted by them as a national sanctuary after their conquest of the Gargano (7th century). The sanctuary, a testament to the worship of Saint Michael, was the object of the monumental patronage for both of the dukes of Benevento, who both settled in Pavia, which was upgraded with numerous renovations in order to facilitate access to the cave of the first apparition and to accommodate the pilgrims. San Michele Arcangelo has become one of the main pilgrimage destinations for Christians it is a stage in one of the variants of the Via Francigena which leads to the Holy Land.
The sanctuary has been mostly reconstructed, especially the higher parts; during the Longobard age, only the crypts provided access to the cave where, according to tradition, Michael the archangel had appeared
The cave where the Archangel Michael is said to have appeared.