Castelseprio Archaeological Park - Church of Santa Maria Foris Portas - Santa Maria Assunta
Located between the upland and the valley of the River Olona, Castrum Sibrium was a military stronghold in Roman times and used over the following centuries by the Goths, Byzantines, Longobards and then the Visconti. Ottone Visconti, Lord of Milan, ordered the demolition of Castelseprio in 1287, with the exception of the religious buildings. One of these was the Church of Santa Maria Foris Portas (Latin for ‘outside the gates’) that was built between the fifth and ninth centuries. The now deconsecrated church is an invaluable example of Longobard-byzantine art and contains what is perhaps the oldest painting in the region - an unknown artist painted the stories about the Virgin Mary from the apocryphal Gospels in the apse. In the Fifties, several searches and excavations in the archaeological zone brought to the light the remains of the castle with its towers, part of the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist with the adjoining cistern and bell tower, a small baptistery with two fonts, a church dedicated to St. Paul and the remains of a late medieval cloister.
The Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria Assunta was founded in 737 by Manigunda, a Longobard noblewoman connected to the royal court of Pavia, as a way of fulfilling a vow following a healing. It is one of the first monastic settlements in the area now known as Lombardy, and is linked to the nearby Castrum in Castelseprio and Torba Abbey.
From 2011 Castelseprio - Torba, the Castrum and the Church of Santa Maria are UNESCO world heritage sites.
ADDRESS: Parco Archeologico di Castelseprio, S. Maria foris portas e Antiquarium: Via Castelvecchio - Castelseprio // Monastero di Santa Maria Assunta: Via Monastero, 2 - Cairate
Parco Archeologico di Castelseprio, S. Maria foris portas and Antiquarium:
From dec 1 to jan 31:
Holidays: Parco Archeologico and Chiesa S. Maria foris portas: 9.15am - 2.45pm
Work days: Parco Archeologico: 8,30am - 4pm // Chiesa S. Maria foris portas: 8.30am - 6pm
From dec 20 to jan 10: Parco Archeologico // Chiesa S. Maria foris portas: 9.15am - 2.45pm
From feb 1 to nov 30:
Sundays and holidays: Parco Archeologico: 9.45am - 6pm // Chiesa S. Maria foris portas: 9.45am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 6pm // Antiquarium: 2.45pm - 5.15pm
Saturdays: Parco Archeologico: 8.30am - 7pm // Chiesa S. Maria foris portas : 8.30am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 7.00pm // Antiquarium: 2.45pm - 5.15pm
From tuesday to friday: Parco Archeologico: 8.30am - 7pm (nov 4pm) // Chiesa S. Maria foris portas: 8.30am - 7pm // Antiquarium: 8.30am - 1.15pm
Monastero di Santa Maria Assunta:
From oct 1 to apr 1: saturday 2am - 5pm, sunday and holidays 2pm - 5pm.
From apr 1 to oct 1: saturday 2am - 6pm, sunday and holidays 10am - 12pm, 2pm - 6pm.
Closed on dec 25 and jan 1.
Plan your stay and your experience in the land of the lakes.