The San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro Basilica is located in the northern part of the center of Pavia. The main attraction of this church is the tomb of St. Augustine. Other famous people buried in the church are the Lombard King Liutprand (8th century) and the philosopher Boëthius.
Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro Pavia
Address: Piazza San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, 2 – 27100 Pavia. Tel: +39 0382 303036. Opening hours: From 07:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 19:30. Entrance: Free.
History and description
The San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro Basilica was built in 725 and completely reconstructed between 1117 and 1132. After this latest reconstruction, a new consecration took place.
During the Middle Ages, this church enjoyed such fame that both Dante (in his “Paradiso”) and Boccaccio (in the “Decamerone”) referred to it in their writings.
Over the centuries, however, the church fell into disrepair and at one point was even used as a warehouse and barracks.
During the domination of Napoleon in the early 19th century, the right nave collapsed.
Only towards the end of the same century did a major reconstruction give the church its present shape.
The brick façade is characterized by a small entrance gate with six windows above it.
The interior, located below street level, consists of a single nave. The side chapels are separated from the central part by five huge sandstone columns.
What to see
The oldest wall paintings in the church date from the 12th century.
The main attraction in the church is the marble tomb of the church father St. Augustine. Made in 1362, this sarcophagus displays basreliefs depicting events in the saint’s life, including his baptism by St. Ambrose. The sculptures were created by multiple artists.
The ceiling of the apse was painted in 1550 with an image of the “Golden Sky,” which gave the church its name. The Redeemer is flanked by St. Peter, and St. Augustine and his mother St. Monica.
The sculpture at the altar depicts Santa Rita and dates from 1940, while the one in the side aisle (the “Sacred Heart”) was made in 1963. Both works of art were created by Giovanni Scapolla.
St. Augustine’s Chapel is graced by an altarpiece depicting the saint himself with St. Jerome.
The 24-column crypt houses the tomb of the Roman philosopher Boëthius (470-525).