Chiesa di Santa Sofia
Territorio: Benevento e Sannio
The Church, symbol of the late medieval Longobard architecture, original and creative, is part of the serial site "Italia Langobardorum. Centri di potere e di culto (568-774 d.C.)" and a Unesco cultural heritage site since 2008. The monumental complex of S. Sofia with the legendary scriptorium (where the so-called Benevento writing was born and used by the scribe monks), has been for many centuries the destination of Christian pilgrims. The church, erected by Longobard duke Arechi II around year 760, presents a small hexagonal form in its main body with columns coming from the Temple of Isis, surrounded by a decagonal ring supported by calcareous rock columns. The area of the three apses is surrounded by walls that draw a star in the central portion. The original frescoes, that once covered the interior of the church, are only visible in the two lateral apses. The bright colours and harmonic forms of the Assumption and the Visitation of the Virgin, prove the presence of great Byzantine masters between the 13th and 9th century, confirming Benevento as the cultural capital of the time. Partially destroyed by the 1688 earthquake, thanks to the restoration of 1951, stripped of the Baroque style wanted by the archbishop Orsini, has recovered its medieval aspect.