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The romanesque Church of San Simplicio in Olbia 0 Comments

The romanesque Church of San Simplicio in Olbia

With half an hour drive from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites, 18 kilometers far, you arrive to the Church of San Simplicio in Olbia, in the center of the city, is the oldest and most beautiful example of Romanesque architecture in Gallura. It was built where a Roman necropolis was already existing, which became later a paleo Christian Church built between 594 and 611. The splendid granite building, still in excellent conditions, was completed in over a century between 1050 and 1150 in three different phases.  

The Roman Martyrology (the official martyrology of the Catholic Church) says: «Fausinae, in Sardinia, sancti Simplici, Episcopi et Martyris; qui, Diocletiani tempore, sub Barbaro praeside, perfossus lancea martyrum consummavit.» which means "At Fausiana in Sardinia, Saint Simplicius bishop and martyr, stabbed by a lance, soffered martyrdom at the time of Diocletian, under the barbarian command." And Fausania was Olbia's early medieval name.

In addition to all the interesting symbologies represented by columns, sculpted figures and arches, there is a peculiar Lombard style decoration, which attributes to the whole building its typical Romanesque character: a man riding and a dog. Some recognize in it Jesus entering in Jerusalem.

But is the interior of the Church, with three naves with seven pillars alternating with five columns (probably recovered from elsewhere), that the visitor’s soul is captured. Entering in San Simplicio an infinite peace is suffusing one’s soul, the same serenity that for thousand years all visitors shared by feeling this same emotion arriving here. In the presbytery, looking at the wooden reliquary bust of San Simplicio, dated 1600, one understands the greatness of this Saint, still prayed and honored in all the Tempio and Olbia’s dioceses, where his relics, "redistributed in the territory", meet the plea of all his congregants.

 

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written by Daniela Toti

 

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