Morning: 9:00 - 13:00
Afternoon: 16:00 - 20:00 (summer schedule)
15:00 - 19:00 (winter schedule)
The ancient monastic complex was built, for the first time, by the Dominicans in the sixteenth century. Collapsed in the earthquake of November 5, 1659, it was again erected in the seventeenth century with the help of the king Filippo IV of Spain devotee of the Holy Picture of Soriano. Construction was entrusted to the Carthusian Bonaventura Presti, who designed a huge monastery complex on the model Escorial in Madrid. The monastery included five cloisters and occupied an area of 20,000 square meters with a church, basilica type, of 1,173 square meters. This had a very large dome that rose from the ground for about 100 meters. The nave ended with a semicircular apse which committed 201 square meters with eight side chapels. From which one could reach to the convent. Baroque decorations were fantastic and marble sculptures that today can be seen in part at Mumar. The second monastery was a great work among the biggest in Europe that took a long time for its completion. The imposing structure pitcher soon became one of the major religious and cultural centers of the south thanks to the cult of the Holy Image of San Domenico, which distributed miracles and thanks to those who came to pray before him. The earthquake of 1783 destroyed much of the structure marking the decline of one of the most important centers of Southern Italy.
After it was destroyed by the 1659 earthquake, the convent annexed to the church and sanctuary dedicated to St Dominic, which had only one cloister at that time, was rebuilt to a design by the Carthusian architect Bonaventura Presti. Work began in 1661. The new structure was organized around three cloisters, two on the same level as the church, the other higher up, reserved for the prior. It followed the natural slope of the land at the foot of the hill called Hill of the Angels. The cloister next to the church is referred to as the “stone cloister” in various documents as the pillars were constructed mostly of blocks of granite. The other beside it is mentioned in a building register as the “brick cloister”. Its western side was rebuilt during the first half of the 19th century, probably because it was one of the only parts of the complex that had not been damaged beyond repair by the 1783 earthquake. After the convent was closed following the Unification of Italy, it was used to house the Municipality. The prior’s cloisters on the upper level disappeared almost entirely and its place is occupied by the new convent and church.
Considering the state of the ruins as well as the lack of illustrations available, it is hard to ascertain precisely the arrangement of the convent buildings. Perhaps the visitors’ quarters were near the tower overlooking the huge stairway joining the cloisters to road level beneath.
The succession of cells and spaces rebuilt along the same side can give some idea of how big the structure was. The architect Presti designed a sort of mezzanine level overlooking the cloisters. Another part of the cloisters which had been rebuilt more or less in the area where the MUMAR museum now stands, was destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 20th century.
POR CALABRIA FESR 2007/2013 L.I. 18.104.22.168
Avviso Pubblico Valorizzazione BBCC-II Edizione
ASSE V - RISORSE NATURALI, CULTURALI E TURISMO SOSTENIBILE
Obiettivo Specifico 5.2 - Valorizzare i beni e le attività culturali quale vantaggio comparato dalla regione Calabria per aumentare l'attrattività territoriale, per rafforzare la coesione sociale e migliorare la qualità della vita dei residenti.