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The Basilica of San Simplicio

The Basilica of San Simplicio is the most ancient monument of the North eastern of Sardinia and proves the diffusion of Christianity in the isle. San Simplicio is patron saint of diocese of Tempio Pausania and Olbia, and under Diocleziano he was bishop and martyr.

The church was Cathedral till 1939, in 1955 become Parish, and in 1993 the Pope Wojtyla awarded the church the title of Basilica Minore.

The abbey is on a hill that during punic era was outside the city walls and till Middle Ages was used like cemetery. The historians say that in this area there were an early-Christian building dated back between 594 and 611, beside a building of roman era.

 

According to recent studies the church was built in two different times. The first construction, dates back to XI century, is in perfect Romanesque style, sober and majestic, and was composed from  granite perimeter walls, internal columns, apse and all is covered by a barrel vault; in a second time, during the XII century, in the church were added the upper part of the central nave, a trifora window and a truss roof that replaced the old barrel vault.

The church was built from Giudici di Gallura (the kings of the region), and it was the bureaucratic centre and the capital city of Gallura kingdom.

 

According to Byzantine idea of Insula Episcopalis, the San Simplicio's church, the only building remain, along with other buildings like records office and bishop's palace, they formed the Civita medievale.

 

The church's façade, all made by local granite, is subdivided in three parts from two lesene (a particular pilaster for an half into the wall), and in its centre there is a trifora window with small marble columns; also the lateral walls are subdivided from lesene with the capitals made by decorated black lava stone. The bell tower in a spanish style was built subsequently.

The interior of the church, in local granite, has three naves, subdivided from columns. In the centre of the apse there are two frescoes still visible today. This paintings show San Simplicio and San Vittore.

 

Under the major altar there is a wood colored sculpture, dates back to last Mannerism. It represents San Simplicio and at its feet there is his reliquary.

The relics were found during an archaeological excavation in 1614 right under the church, during this excavation work they were found also the crypt.