• Art & Culture

A visit to the Basilica of the XII Apostles

Francesca Guatteri, founder of the blog Vivere Per Raccontarla, visited the famous Basilica of the XII Apostles and retraces its fascinating history in these lines.

 

A few days have passed since my trip to explore Lodi, the surrounding countryside interspersed here and there with industrial areas, farms that are still active and those that have now fallen into disuse, the inhabited areas of what is now known as Lodi Vecchio, testimony to ancient splendours.

 

Lodi and Lodi Vecchio: ideal destinations barely 30 minutes from Milan
This is an area that a lot of people still don't know about, even though it's not even half an hour by train from Milan. The relatively short distances in Lodi and the wonderful cycling trails allow you to get around by bike in total security and enjoy really long routes through the green countryside protected from the roads by appropriate barriers. Cyclists are welcome in Lodi, which is why you will find various organisations based on the culture of two-wheeled travel. 

 

Lodi, a bicycle-friendly city
For example, take FIAB Lodi (Federazione Italiana Ambiente e Bicicletta - Italian Federation for Cycling and the Environment) and Le Lippe, Ciclofficina (cycling co-operative) just a stone's throw from the station. Bicycle tourism is a great way to get to know an area because it enables you to enjoy the best aspects of any place. And during my two-wheeled wanderings, having only just left Laus Pompeia (as the town was known in ancient times), I saw the Basilica di San Bassiano for the fist time.

 

The Basilica of the XII Apostles
Located just outside Lodi Vecchio, it was originally known as the “Basilica of the XII Apostles”. It was founded by Saint Bassianus of Lodi and officially consecrated in the year 378, on the outskirts of what was the town of Laus Pompeia. In 413, shortly after the death of Bassianus, the basilica was dedicated to him.  More than once during the twelfth century, the Milanese attacked and destroyed Lodi Vecchio. The town was first razed to the ground and then set on fire. However, the basilica wasn't even scratched, continuing to stand majestically in all its extraordinary beauty.

 

From restoration to restoration
Nevertheless, several restorations were still required to counteract the relentless passage of time. For example, during the 14th century, a restoration was planned in the Lombard Gothic style. It was thus that the appearance that still distinguishes it today was formed, with the five pinnacles, the open-sky bifora windows to the sides of the facade, the niche with the statue of Saint Bassianus, the rose window and the bell tower, but above all the splendid internal frescoes. Unfortunately, over time this extraordinary place of worship rather fell into oblivion, suffering a slow but relentless decline.  Despite later restorations carried out between the end of the 19th and the mid 20th century, the run-down appearance seemed unwilling to ever leave it. That is, until the seventies, when, also thanks to the contribution of the Community, the Basilica of Saint Bassianus was returned to its former glory, thus enabling all of us who approach this place in the heart of the most authentic countryside of Lombardy, to fully appreciate a beauty that transcends times, borders and beliefs.


Useful information

Basilica of the XII Apostles
Via Basilica San Bassiano - Lodi Vecchio (LO)

Opening times:
Tuesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday 3 pm to 4.30 pm
Sunday 3.30 pm to 5 pm
Closed Monday - Wednesday

Ciclofficina Le Lippe 
Viale Pavia, 3 - Lodi (LO)

Opening times:
Monday – Saturday 9 am to noon - 4 pm to 7.30 pm
Closed Sunday

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