Tourist Attraction in Viterbo: Abbazia di San Martino
The Abbey of San Martino al Cimino is a place of Catholic worship in Viterbo. At the beginning of the 13th century the lands of the Cimini Mountains were granted by Pope Innocent III to the Cistercian monks of the Pontigny abbey with the task of planting an abbey that would become a pole of agricultural development in the region. The disciples of St. Bernard built the abbey at record time. In 1225 the church was consecrated. With the construction of the cloister and its chapter room, refectory, library and infirmary, a bakery and other workshops, the monastic complex was completed before the end of the century. Nevertheless, the abbey did not have a happy development. Already in 1379 she was about to be abandoned because of the lack of new vocations. In 1426 there were no more than two monks. The personal interest of Pope Pius II (pontiff from 1458 to 1464), and of the Piccolomini family from which he came, made some restoration work necessary, but he did not follow these activities. In 1564 the last monks left the abbey, which was closed and its assets became part of the patron saint of the Holy See. A century later in 1644, when Pope Innocent X came to power in Rome, the Pamphili family, the San Martino church now ruined, found a new life. In 1645 he received the title of Abbey Church (independent of the local bishop's authority) and the "San Martino lands" were sold to Olimpia Maidalchini, the sister-in-law of the pope. Olimpia took on the renewal of St. Martin's blazon and made her a kind of personal principality. Accompanied by great architects (Borromini from Rome also intervened), he completely restored the church by adding two towers as buttresses, built a large building on the ruins of monastic structures, and also watched over the reconstruction and reorganization of the village, which went from the door (Direction of Rome) to the west (direction Viterbo), entrusting the military architect Marc'Antonio de Rossi the design of perimeter walls, doors and houses, not forgetting other public structures such as washrooms, ovens, slaughterhouses, theater and Public square. It does not seem like he was going to appeal to the monks. Of the old Cistercian abbey there are only a few elements: the apse part and the transept of the church, a modest portion of the cloister and a few flaws of the chapter hall and the scriptorium. Olimpia Maidalchini died of plague in 1657 and his body was inhumed in the choir of the abbey church.