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The Monastery

The monastery premises are still very similar to their medieval structure.
On the North side of the cloister is the church, dedicated to the Virgin. It adheres to the Cistercian canon in having a nave with side aisles, a short presbytery, and small chapels in the transepts. The design was influenced by styles from Burgundy and, as it was typical of Cistercian architecture, it did not display superfluous ornament.
It was constructed almost entirely of bricks. The necessary stone for the portal and capitals was “quarried” in the site of ancient Urbs Salvia.
The cloister, as we see it now, was restored by the cardinals in commendam. The well in the centre was used to draw water from a cistern that collected rain water from the roofs. The wrought ironwork on the top of it was added by the Gesuits.
Various buildings, including the Chapter House to the East and the dormitories above, were grouped around the cloister.
The South side housed the kitchens and the refectory, but they were demolished to build the Giustiniani-Bandini Palace.
On the West side the lay brothers’ cellarium and the refectory have remained intact. The lay brothers had meals in their refectory, characterized by a row of Roman columns from Urbs Salvia, and they slept in the dormitory above the cellarium, that now houses the main hall of the Congress Centre.
On the North side of the cloister, under the walking floor, is a large room where olive-oil used to be stored. Nowadays, this room displays finds, inscriptions and portraits from ancient Urbs Salvia.
On the East side of the cloister, between the entrance to the church and the Chapter House, a connecting passage leads to an impressive underground storehouse and to the Wine Museum.