S. Vincenzo al Volturno

03 monaci

San Vincenzo al Volturno - L'abbazia

Località San Vincenzo al Volturno
San Vincenzo al Volturno (IS)

Orario di apertura:
Mattina: 9:00-14:00
Chiuso il lunedì

The Benedictine Abbey of San Vincenzo al Volturno is located in a favourable position about 2 km from the source of the river of the same name, on the fertile Rocchetta plain. It is defended by the Meta and Mainarde mountains to the west and by the Matese massif to the south. The history of the monastery is recorded in the Chronicon Vulturnense, an illuminated manuscript written in 1130 by monk named Giovanni who had, in turn, made use of monastery records dating from the 8th to the 11th century. According to the Chronicon the monastery was founded at the beginning of the 8th century by three noblemen from Benevento (Paldo, Taso and Tato) who were seeking a suitable location in which devote themselves to a spiritual and ascetic life. The fact that their chosen area was inhabited in the late Roman period is attested by the remains of the church and the 5th-6th century A.D. cemetery area.
The year 787 A.D. was particularly important for the monastic community as this was when Charlemagne placed the monastery under his direct protection, granting it privileges such as fiscal and judicial exemptions, and the election of their own abbot, without any interference from other ecclesiastical authorities. Part of the abbey’s importance came from its location on the border between the Lombard principality of Benevento and the lands conquered by the Franks which enabled it to serve as an imperial outpost. This role was emphasized in 849 A.D. when, following the division of the principality of Benevento into territories subject to Salerno and to Benevento, the monastery of St. Vincenzo al Volturno remained an autonomous entity, directly subject to imperial authority.
The monastic community experienced great difficulties in the second half of the 9th century as a consequence of the attack of the Saracens in October of 881: during this period the monastery was severely damaged by fire and the monks themselves, those who survived, were forced to take refuge with the Lombard princes of Capua. The monastery was not fully restored until the end of the 10th century, with the assistance of the German emperors, Otto II and Otto III. At the end of the 11th century, because of the Norman threat, the monastery was transferred to a more secure and easily defendable position on the right bank of the Volturno (the so-called “San Vincenzo Nuovo” or "New St. Vincent’s").

During the 13-15th century the monastery declined and its estates (the monastery’s lands extended over Molise, Abruzzo, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Apulia) disintegrated, until in 1699, at the request of the last Abbot Innico Caracciolo, the monastery passed under the jurisdiction of the Abbey of Montecassino.