A rare Carolingian-era monastery in the Sabina area
Immersed in the charm of lush nature, the Abbey of Santa Maria di Farfa lies in the heart of the ancient area of Sabina, at the foot of Monte Acuziano. It is a monastery of the Cassinese Benedictine congregation, founded between 560 and 570 by Lorenzo Siro, Bishop of Forum Novum. The complex, built around the cloister, preserves aspects of Carolingian architecture unique in Italy, particularly evident in the bell tower and perimeter wall, where the perfectly preserved traditional pilasters stand out. The rest of the bell tower, with triple-arched windows, dates to a later period.
Also part of the monastery is the cathedral-style abbey church, which features a Latin cross layout with three naves. The salient façade has a central doorway featuring a marble cornice, surmounted by a lunette painted with a fresco depicting the Madonna and Child. The interior of the church, while maintaining its original structure, displays a Baroque style, with two rows of round arches resting on Ionic marble columns. The counter-façade is decorated by Dirck Barendsz’s 16th-century Last Judgement.
Attached to the abbey is the state library, which houses countless books, including manuscripts and codices. Don’t forget to visit the village, which is named after the river of the same name. There, you can buy local products and souvenirs at the traditional artisanal shops.