Tourist Attraction in Olbia: Basilica di San Simplicio
The Basilica of San Simplicio, in Olbia, is a testimony to the spread of Christianity on the island. Cathedral until 1839, parish church since 1955, was awarded the title of a minor basilica in 1993 by Pope John Paul II. It is dedicated to San Simplicio, a protovescope in the city and martyrs under the emperor Diocletian, now patron of the Diocese of Tempio-Ampurias and Olbia. The church, built in two phases between the end of the eleventh and the second half of the twelfth century, in the Romanesque style of Pisan, rises on a small hill, once outside the walls and used from the Punic era until the Middle Ages as an area cemeteries and worship. It belongs to the first Romanesque, which has a sober and majestic character with a low propensity to decoration. In the area, perhaps, already a paleo-Christian worship building, probably erected between 594 and 611, in turn situated next to a Roman era construction. The church is partly built with granite. The temple, according to recent studies, has been built in two different periods. In the first construction phase, dating back to the first half of the 11th century, the apse, the perimeter walls, the inner columns and the lateral navel brick roof bricks were made. During the last quarter of the twelfth century the elevation of the central nave, the wooden trusses and the facade trifora were carried out. The church has a tripartite façade made of two pilasters, enriched by a trifora embossed with marble columns; the left one, four-part, carved a small face and a serpent on the side; on the right, divided into six columns, is carved a strap, in a continuity solution that represents in the Christian symbolism the immortality of the soul. Capitals are in black lava stone with ornaments of bird figures (no longer clearly distinguishable) and acanthus leaves, topped by a disproportionate echinus. Next to the construction of the church is the Spanish-style sailboat on the right. On the left, in the main table, under a bow, there is a marble slab of salvation, depicting Christ defeating the pagan peoples, according to the narrative of John's Apocalypse (Acts 13: 11-12). This is a relief, perhaps from the old cathedral of Fausania, carved around the beginning of the 7th century, which is reflected in some Merovingian buckles of the same period found in France. The apse, tripartite by two sloping slats, is decorated with carved shelves where the arches rest, and is dominated by a large pediment. The side facades, to the north and south, have a double row of hanging arches; the first, protruding, granite, the others, in brick, are collected. Both date back to the first construction phase. At the center of the apse are two faded frescoes, where San Simplicio, San Vittore, bishop of the city after 595, and the regular canonical group of the Capitolo di Civita, are recognized. Underneath the altar is preserved the polychrome wooden reliquary bust depicting the holy owner, whose feet, in a teak, have kept his relics. These were discovered in 1614 during archaeological excavations in the church crypt; Immediately after the find they were transferred to the parish church of St. Paul, inside the city and protected from the walls, until in 2001 Bishop Paolo Mario Virgilio Atzei decided to return to the basilica with a solemn procession. It is a late Mourierist polycarbonate and golden wood sculpture dating back to the late 16th and early 17th centuries.