Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d Oro and the Tomb of St Augustine of Hippo

Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Piazza San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, Italija

Website of the Sanctuary

Every day 7.15 - 19.00

The Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d Oro

The relics of St. Augustine are displayed only in august, from 24 to 28, and in april, in the days around the baptism of St. Augustine, on 24 april.

The earliest news that we have of this San Pietro in Ciel d Oro dates to the year 604 AD. The building is not the original one. It follows another that was in early-Christian style, with simple columns and a wooden ceiling.

The current Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d Oro, in Romanic-Lombard form, dates to the twelfth century. It was consecrated by Pope Innocent II in 1132. It inherited the name of “ciel d’oro” (golden sky). Because the wooden ceiling of the early-Christian church was decorated with golden-colored paint. It is Mentioned by Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio.

Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro

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The Ark with the Tomb of St. Augustine

The presbytery is dominated by the marble Ark of St Augustine, raised on a crypt. This is a masterpiece of Lombard sculpture of the fourteenth century.

Decorated with 95 statues and 50 bas-reliefs, the work was commissioned by Bonifacio Bottigella, Prior of the Augustinians, then Bishop of Lodi and a native of Pavia. It is a small encyclopaedic illustration of the faith of the theological, cardinal and monastic virtues.

Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro

Some episodes of the life of St Augustine, the Great Doctor of the Church, are also portrayed: his conversion, his baptism administered by St Ambrose, the miracles after his death -430 AD – and the transfer of his relics to Pavia.

Behind the Ark, in the floor, is a portion of octagonal mosaic from the ancient Cathedral of Hippo, of which Augustine was bishop from 395 to 430 AD. The fresco that covers the vault of the apse dates to 1900.

On a background of false golden mosaic the figure of the Re deemer seated on his throne dominates. He is flanked by St Peter Apostle and by St Augustine with his mother St Monica.

St. Augustine of Hippo

He was born in the province of Africa, in the city of Tagaste, parents of curial order, condition of honest and Christians. He was raised and educated by them with care and with great expense, and was first instructed in profane letters, that in all those disciplines, they call liberal. ”

With these words Possidius, bishop of Calama, the first biography of Augustine, introducing the story of the life of his illustrious friend.

In a small town of the Algeria, today Souk Ahras, Aurelius Augustine was born in 354. Of his parents, Monica, she was a Christian, as Possidius himself writes; his father, Patrick, was father joined at the end of life the Catholic faith.

Favoring the ambitions of parents, encouraged by the brilliant talent that their son manifested from an early age, Augustine began his higher studies, finally graduating rhetorician (Professor “letters”) in Carthage.

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Here, in a city still half pagan, Augustine discovers loves easy and idle youth filled with adventures. Abandons all Christian teachings that his mother had instilled as a child, by adhering to a pseudo-religious cult in vogue, that of the Manichaean. Also in Carthage began a relationship with a woman, with whom he lived for about twelve years: they remained faithful and had son, Adeodato.

The sacristy and the two side altars

The sacristy is an impressive structure, in Renaissance style. With a ribbed vault, it is rich in “grotesque” decorations, attributed to the second half of the sixteenth century.

The seventeenth century canvas portraying St Augustine conversing with St Jerome is of considerable importance. The two marble altars are by the sculptor Giovanni Scapolla, native of Pavia. One is dedicated to St Rita and dates to 1940.

The other, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is of 1963. Recalled after a century of absence, since 1900 the Augustinian Fathers live beside the Basilica in Ciel d’Oro.

The Crypt

Supported by 24 columns, it was rebuilt at the end of the last century on existing remains. Here the body of Severino Boezio lies enclosed in an elegant sarcophagus of Ravenna-Byzantine style.

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The soul of this great consul, senator, philosopher, victim in the year 525 of the cruelty of the Arian king Theodoric, is contemplated by Dante in the tenth canto of “il Paradiso”. One’s curiosity is aroused in the crypt by the existence of a well, of remote and mysterious origin. Simple believers, emperors and kings drank here, considering it a holy spring.

To the right of the crypt, in the pedestal that supports the great pilaster, lies the body of Liutprando, king of the Longobards. He was rendered for ever meritorious for the splendour that he assured this Basilicain Ciel d’Oro by transferring from Sardinia, in 724, Augustine’s holy relics, redeemed for their weight in gold from the Saracens.

These relics, discovered in the crypt in 1695, now lie in a Silver urn, at the foot of the marble Ark.

The Facade

It is in grey sandstone and brickwork, with two sloping sides and is divided into three parts by impressive uneven buttresses that preserve traces of an arcade. This was probably done to imitate that of the early basilica that had liturgical functions.

The arcade, somewhat to the right of the facade, is in sandstone and is surmounted by a bas-relief that shows an angel and two people praying. The upper part, animated in the centre by two orders of openings, is crowned by a small unusable loggia and by a motif of entwined arches.

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The Interior

It has three naves, divided by three rows of five pilasters in sandstone with sculptured decorations on the capitals. The difference in level with respect to the exterior can perhaps be explained by the builders’ intention to preserve the new construction at the same level as the previous basilica.

Very little remains of the numerous works of art that once decorated the interior. At the end of the right nave, recently refurbished, the floor of the apse shows the remains of a mosaic of the twelfth century.

In the left nave, which is still the original construction, there are traces of frescoes from various periods. In the first span the walls are decorated with fifteenth century frescoes of the Lombard school.

The second and third spans have interesting frescoes of the sixteenth century. The majestic vault of the central nave was rebuilt in 1487 by the architect Giacomo Da Candia of Pavia.

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St. Augustine of Hippo

He was born in the province of Africa, in the city of Tagaste, parents of curial order, condition of honest and Christians. He was raised and educated by them with care and with great expense, and was first instructed in profane letters, that in all those disciplines, they call liberal. ” With these words Possidius, bishop of Calama, the first biography of Augustine, introducing the story of the life of his illustrious friend.

In a small town of the Algeria, today Souk Ahras, Aurelius Augustine was born in 354. Of his parents, Monica, she was a Christian, as Possidius himself writes; his father, Patrick, was father joined at the end of life the Catholic faith. Favoring the ambitions of parents, encouraged by the brilliant talent that their son manifested from an early age, Augustine began his higher studies, finally graduating rhetorician (Professor “letters”) in Carthage. Here, in a city still half pagan, Augustine discovers loves easy and idle youth filled with adventures. Abandons all Christian teachings that his mother had instilled as a child, by adhering to a pseudo-religious cult in vogue, that of the Manichaean. Also in Carthage began a relationship with a woman, with whom he lived for about twelve years: they remained faithful and had son, Adeodato.

In 383, in 29 years, while consolidating its career rhetorician moved first to Rome and then to Milan, where he obtained a prestigious post at the imperial court, begins a slow and agonizing process of reflection on himself. Augustine can not avoid questioning the meaning of his life and wondering if everything is left to chance, or rather there is a larger project in which everyone has a part. The presence of Monica, who joined him from Africa, and their constant listening to the preaching of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, open a ray of light. Augustine rediscovered the Christian faith, the faith to which he had been trained as a child and that he had come to despise as a fable for unwary. In this context it expresses the “holy resolution” to devote himself completely to God, giving up career and marriage.

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Ciel d’Oro St. Augustine of HippoIn the night between 24 and 25 April of 387 Augustine was baptized by Ambrosee.. He returned to Africa in 388, leading for three years retired life at his home in Tagaste, along with his friends, laying the groundwork for what will be his specific style of religious life. He became a priest in 391 and bishop in 395, he devoted all his life in pastoral activity: catechesis of the people, the study of Sacred Scripture and theological research. At this intense commitment, witnessed by an extensive mass of writings, plus the administration of justice, that the legislation Constantine delegating certain matters also to the bishops.

He dies in Hippo, surrounded by the Vandals August 28, 430, after 40 years of intense and fruitful episcopal service. His insights philosophical, literary and theological make a genius of Christianity and of all humanity. His aspirations and his spiritual experience, transmitted primarily with its “rule”, have marked and continue to lead the way to an innumerable host of men and women, fascinated by his figure.

“Peter Paul Rubens – St Augustine” by Peter Paul Rubens
“Fra angelico – conversion de saint augustin” by Fra Angelico (circa 1395–1455) and workshop

The relics of St. Augustine are displayed only in august, from 24 to 28, and in april, in the days around the baptism of St. Augustine, on 24 april.

Pavia is located in Northern Italy, in the Lombardy region, and is only 30 km from Milan. It ‘located on the A7 motorway exit Bereguardo.

In the city: the Basilica of St. Peter in Ciel d’Oro – Tomb of St. Augustine is in the center of Pavia, near the Visconti Castle. If you arrive by train or bus we are within 10 minutes’ walk from the train station, both the central bus station. If you arrive by car the nearest car park, no more than 50 meters, is one of the Cattaneo, Via Nazario Sauro. If you come up with its own bus in Viale Matteotti, next to the restaurant Da Giulio, just 100 meters from the Basilicain Ciel d’Oro there is permission for loading and unloading of the pilgrims.

Coming by plane:

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The city of Pavia has an airport and is served by two airports of Milan, Linate and Malpensa. Not far from Pavia it is also the airport of Orio al Serio (Bergamo) or Gabriele D’Annunzio in Montichiari (Brescia).

MILAN LINATE AIRPORT E. FORLANINI – www.sea-aeroportimilano.it
Milano Malpensa airport – www.sea-aeroportimilano.it
ORIO AL SERIO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – www.orioaeroporto.it
AIRPORT GABRIELE D’Annunzio MONTICHIARI BRESCIA – www.aeroportoverona.it

Coming by train:

Pavia can be reached by train from the Central Railway Station in about half an hour. The train schedule is available on the website www.ferroviedellostato.it

Daily:

  •  9.00 
  •  18.30 

Daily at 18.00.

The sacristy and the two side altars

The sacristy is an impressive structure, in Renaissance style. With a ribbed vault, it is rich in “grotesque” decorations, attributed to the second half of the sixteenth century. The seventeenth century canvas portraying St Augustine conversing with St Jerome is of considerable importance. The two marble altars are by the sculptor Giovanni Scapolla, native of Pavia. One is dedicated to St Rita and dates to 1940. The other, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, is of 1963. Recalled after a century of absence, since 1900 the Augustinian Fathers live beside the Basilica in Ciel d’Oro.

The Crypt

Supported by 24 columns, it was rebuilt at the end of the last century on existing remains. Here the body of Severino Boezio lies enclosed in an elegant sarcophagus of Ravenna-Byzantine style. The soul of this great consul, senator, philosopher, victim in the year 525 of the cruelty of the Arian king Theodoric, is contemplated by Dante in the tenth canto of “il Paradiso”. One’s curiosity is aroused in the crypt by the existence of a well, of remote and mysterious origin. Simple believers, emperors and kings drank here, considering it a holy spring. To the right of the crypt, in the pedestal that supports the great pilaster, lies the body of Liutprando, king of the Longobards. He was rendered for ever meritorious for the splendour that he assured this Basilicain Ciel d’Oro by transferring from Sardinia, in 724, Augustine’s holy relics, redeemed for their weight in gold from the Saracens. These relics, discovered in the crypt in 1695, now lie in a Silver urn, at the foot of the marble Ark.

The Facade

It is in grey sandstone and brickwork, with two sloping sides and is divided into three parts by impressive uneven buttresses that preserve traces of an arcade. This was probably done to imitate that of the early basilica that had liturgical functions. The arcade, somewhat to the right of the facade, is in sandstone and is surmounted by a bas-relief that shows an angel and two people praying. The upper part, animated in the centre by two orders of openings, is crowned by a small unusable loggia and by a motif of entwined arches.

Come Holy Spirit - T-shirt. Wear positive and blessed words.

The Interior

It has three naves, divided by three rows of five pilasters in sandstone with sculptured decorations on the capitals. The difference in level with respect to the exterior can perhaps be explained by the builders’ intention to preserve the new construction at the same level as the previous basilica. Very little remains of the numerous works of art that once decorated the interior. At the end of the right nave, recently refurbished, the floor of the apse shows the remains of a mosaic of the twelfth century In the left nave, which is still the original construction, there are traces of frescoes from various periods. In the first span the walls are decorated with fifteenth century frescoes of the Lombard school. The second and third spans have interesting frescoes of the sixteenth century. The majestic vault of the central nave was rebuilt in 1487 by the architect Giacomo Da Candia of Pavia.

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