The Santa Cristina Basilica is one of the main attractions of Bolsena, together with the Rocca Monaldeschi and Lake Bolsena. the Chapel of the Miracle is a pilgrim’s destination, thanks to a miraculous event that happened in 1263.
Basilica of Santa Cristina Bolsena
Address: Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 1 – Bolsena. Phone: +39 0761 799067. Opening times: From 08:00 till 18:30.
History and description
The Basilica di Santa Cristina is a Romanesque-style church built in the 11th century in Bolsena. The bell tower was added in the 14th century. The facade of the church is the result of a 1494 reconstruction.
The interior consists of three naves and is graced by frescoes painted between the 14th and 16th centuries.
What to see
The polyptych behind the altar is by Sano di Pietro.
From the left nave, one can see the church’s main attraction, the 17th-century Cappella del Miracolo (“Chapel of the Miracle”). In this chapel, in 1263 during the Miracolo Eucaristico, the sacred bread started bleeding onto some stones.
The also blood-stained altar cloth used during this miraculous event is in Orvieto Cathedral.
It is from this moment that the Catholic religion celebrates Corpus Domini (“Sacrament Day”) on the second Thursday after Pentecost.
Next to the Cappella del Miracolo is the Cave of Cristina (Grotta di Cristina), part of the Christian Catacombs in Bolsena. This grotto houses an icon made of pottery, along with a statue of the dead Cristina. Both were made by Benedetto Buglioni.