Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Italy - San Guilio Island/Lake Orta

Old buildings in small town of San Guilio Island, on the shores of Lake Orta, Italy.

Sent by Rossano, a postcrosser from Italy.

This is from Wikipedia : Isola San Giulio or San Giulio Island (Italian: Isola di San Giulio) is an island within Lake Orta in Piedmont, northwestern Italy. The island is 275 meters long (north/south), and is 140 meters wide (east/west). The most famous building on the island is the marvellous Basilica of Saint Giulio close to which you can see the monumental old Seminary (1840s). Since 1976 it has been transformed into a Benedictine monastery. The little island, just west of the lakeshore village of Orta San Giulio, has very picturesque buildings, and takes its name from a local patron saint (Julius of Novara), who lived in the second half of the fourth century.

In the 5th century a small chapel (oratorium) was erected on the island, probably to commemorate the great evangelizer Saint Julius, who had died there. We know from archaeological finds that a new, bigger church already existed in the 6th century: here Filacrio, the bishop of Novara, asked to be buried. In the same time an octagonal building - probably a baptistery - was erected in the middle of the island. Unfortunately every trace of it has been cancelled in the 19th century when the massive building of the Seminary was built. In the 12th century a new romanesque basilica was build, thus altering the previous one to some extent.

The great religious reformer William of Volpiano (Saint William of Dijon) was born on the island in 962, in the fortified castle located on the island, whose large walls were called "Queen Willa's walls" from the name of king Berengario II's wife.

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