Saturday, December 8, 2007

Looking for San Lazzaro

Last Sunday, assisted by a recently purchased navigation system, we set off to find the Basilica of San Lazzaro in Borgo. Our journey got us to the small church just as the Mass was finished and we were able to go in and enjoy a recently restored Romanesque basilica dedicated to St Lazarus, patron of lepers.

When the church was built early in the 11th century, it was first known as Santa Maria Maddalena. A hospice for pilgrims was attached to it. Later, an asylum for lepers was established here and the dedication was changed to St Lazarus, the patron saint of lepers. The interior has three naves separated by reused ancient columns. A side chapel is dedicated to the former titular saint, St Mary Magdalen. She is a patron of vinedressers, many of whom worked in the area around the church.

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