History: S. Maria in Sylvis Abbey (so denominated because once immersed in a wide wood, from Latin silva") was funded in about the first half of the eighteenth century; in 762 it received the donation of three Longobard noblemen, Erfo, Marco and Anto, to which numerous others followed. In 899 it underwent the devasting invasion of a Germanic people called "Ungheri" that destroyed it almost entirely. However between 960 and 965 the abbot Adalberto II began the work of reconstruction and the Abbey increased its power, not only on a religious but also on a civil plane, so that it assumed the appearance of a medieval castle, with its defensive system formed by towers and moats. With the Diploma of 967 Ottone I gave the Abbey to the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Later on, in 1420, it passed under the domination of the Venetian Republic which delivered it to the secular priests, who did not reside there, in 1441.
After the suppression of the Commendam, the properties and the estates of the Abbey were sold by auction. After various events the religious jurisdiction moved to the Diocese of Concordia (1818) and in 1921 the Holy See acknowledged it the new title of "Abbey".
THE ABBEY STRUCTURE
You can enter the square of the Abbey undergoing a robust keep, the only surviving element of the seven which defended the walls. It is called "keep of the drawbridge" and today it is the library. The massive look-out tower (about 1050) lies in front of them and it has been transformed into a bell-tower; on the left the old abbatial chancellery (today nursery school); on the right the dwelling of the abbots (today Town Hall), a Renaissance construction on whose front are kept the frescoed coat-of-arms of the five commendatory abbots. The entrance and the body of the Abbey are on the left.
The main front (A) is the result of modifications occurred during the centuries and it is opened by a simple portal, upon which some frescoes dated between the eleventh and the twelfth century can be admired (Archangel Gabriel, within lunette; Saint Benedict) under a three-mullioned window;
on the left a small loggia (B), frescoed on its inside walls with a Chivalry Scene and an Investiture, and on its outside walls with Saint Christopher, Madonna with Child and Saint Peter and Saint Baptist; on the right a balustrated staircase of the fourteenth century leads to the main room, once nocturnal choir for the monks, today used for cultural events.
Crossing the main door you can enter the vestibule (C), which was enterily frescoed (on the walls the allegorical cycle of Hell on the left, of Heaven on the right, and of Saint Michael on the inside wall) in about 1450, and which is ascribed to Antonio from Florence and to his students.
The vestibule leads to the Audience Room (D) today a kind of picture-gallery and on the left the Museum Room (E) with archeological founds of different periods.
Then you can go along the Romanesque atrium (F), divided in three aisles by four quadrangular pilasters, which keep traces of frescoed decorations; on the southern wall (right from the church front door) you can notice the fourteenth century fresco with the Meeting between the three Living and the three Dead, one of the best examples of medieval representations about death.
The inside of the church presents remarkable frescoed decorations, those of the presbyterial area among them, which were painted during about the second and third decades of the fourteenth century by Giottesque painters.
On the inside main front (G), within lunette, the Bright Madonna (fourteenth century); upon the two-mullioned window, the coat-of-arms of the commendatory b Giovanni Grimani; the Abbey founder Erfo with his Mother Piltrude is on the right from the door,Ottone and Hagalberta (first half of the fourteenth century) is on the first right pilaster. Up the stairs, in the first transept on the right (H), lie the Recovery of the Cripple, above, and the Resurrection of the Widow Tabita, below. The right wall (I) is rich in paintings with scenes from Saint Peter's life, among those Christ delivers the keys to Saint Peter, Saint Peter and Saint Paul's Condemnation and Saint Peter's Martyrdom; the symbolic scene of the mystic tree, the Lignum Vitae and the Fire of Rome, below. On the adjacent wall, upon the right apse, Saint Peter meets Jesus Christ on the Waters.
The half-basin of the central apse (L) contains the Incoronation of the Virgin Mary, while a little window divides the lower fillet into two episodes: the Birth of Christ on the right and the Angel's Announcement to the Shepherds on the left; below,Saints, in the quadrilobate panels and in the niches. In the right transept (M), an episode from Saint Benedict's life, above, and Saint John the Evangelist's Assumption. Episodes from Saint Benedict, Saint John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary's life are kept in the inner coating of the dome; frescoes which represents the Evangelists are kept in the pendentives and decorations with busts of Saints are on the archivolts of wall within lozenge panels.
From the right presbytery you can enter the Capitular Room (N) where various paintings can be admired. Down the staircase you can go along the left aisle, which is decorated with pantings of the sixteenth century: Saint Valentin and Scene of Procession.
In the CRYPT, which stretches under the presbytery and it is charachterized by cross vaults built on small marble pillars, are kept Saint Anastasia'a Urn, which is a wonderful monument of the Longobard period and which is formed by the remainsof a Greek marble chair; the Vesperbild, which is the sandstone Pietà of the fifteenth century that can be ascribed to a German master; the Annunciation of the beginning of the fourteenth century, with the angel and the Vergin Mary inscribed within a niche that is opened on two trilobate arches.
In the locality of Ramuscello there is the old village of "Ramuscello Vecchio" where the Villa Freschi, once Attimis, lies, wonderful specimen of Venetian villa of the eighteenth century. A path of poplartrees precedes a gate with the family coat-on-arms, beyond that the wide yard stretches as far as the country dwelling, an elegant building with stuccoes around the windows, ashlar-worked portal and curvilinear central tympanum; the two lateral buildings called "barchesse" stretch along the sides. The ancient church of Saint Anastasia, now privat chapel with rich sculptoreal decorations, is inserted at the end of the left building. The park lies behind the villa and it is surrounded by magnolias, oak-trees and marshy cypresses imported from Florida.
The private property of the villa cannot be visited.
THE FOUNTAIN OF VENCHIEREDO
The Fountain of Venchieredo is one of the most well-known literary place in Friuli, celebrated from Ippolito Nievo and rediscovered by Pierpaolo Pasolini.
Nievo described it in the fourth chapter of his "Confessioni di un italiano": There is a wide and limpid fountain whose waters, it is said, contain a lot of refrigerating and healthy properties. However the nymph decided not to trust to the virtues of the water to lure the devotees and she surrounded herself withsuch a beautiful horizon of meadows, woods and sky, and with such a hospitable shadow of alders and willows that, as a matter of fact, it was a recess that was worthy of Virgilio's brush, where he resolved to settle"
This place became the reference-point for every generation of lovers thanks to the beauty and the suggestion of this place, whose landscape scenery has been reconstructed with the authocthonous arboreous species and with the typical local flora.
ALL SAINT'S CHURCH
The parish church of Bagnarola dates back to 1300 but it has undergone numerous modifications and additions in the course of the centuries, particularly that of the reconstruction of the nineteenth century (1895-1899), which required the opening of the walls to build two aisles and the present presbyterial area with its dome.
Precious evidences about the ancient events of the parish are kept within it, such as the Ligneous Crucifix of the sixteenth century, the stone basin of the font (beginning of the sixteenth century) and the valuable fresco with the Pietà by Pomponio Amalteo (about 1540), placed now on the right aisle wall. Other interesting specimens of the most recent art are instead the fresco on the ceiling, by Fabris from Friuli, which represents Saint John the Evangelist who gazes at the celestial Jerusalem (nineteenth century); the dome decoration with musician angels painted in the Liberty Style, a unique among the religious buildings; the Bazzani's organ (recently restored) and the scultor A. Boato's bronze portal
CHURCH OF SAINT PETER
This small church has a medieval origin (it dates probably back between the twelfth and the fifteenth century) and it is formed by a rectangular room which ends with a small semicircular basin-shaped apse. The current aspect is due to the work of restoration and recovery which ended in 1997 and gave back dignity to this characteristic sacred old place. This work of consolidation was preceeded by an archaelogical research which led to the discovery of two floor layers and of the remains of some sepulchres that are dated back between the twelfth and the fifteenth century.
The walls were frescoed in different periods but unfortunatly nowadays very little remains of the original decoration; a fresco of the fifteenth century with the Vergin, the Child and Saint Sebastian.
Numerous small votive churches are spread throught the territory. In the Marignana locality lies the small church of Saint Urban, which dates back to 1600 but which presents some remakings accomplished in 1936-37; the altar-piece with the homonymous Saint lies within it and it was painted by A. Pascotto (1893).
The Oratory of S. Clara lies in the Braidicurti locality. It is a construction of the eighteenth century, which has been modified several times and which contains a contemporary ligneous altar and the altar-piece with Madonna and Child, Saint Francis of Sales and Saint Margaret of Alacoque, now in the Audience Room of the Abbey.
The small Church of Saint Antony of the eighteen century lies in the Banduzzo locality, three kilometres away from Sesto, among a group of rural buildings, surrounded by green areas. It was build by the local owners and it contains the contemporary altar-piece which represents Saint John the Baptist and Saint Antonio of Padua.
The Oratory dedicated to Saint Joseph of Fraticelle is more recent (1930).
Remarkably interesting is the small church dedicated to Saint Mark of Mure. It was built in the seventeenth century by the local villagers and it contains a fresco with Cataldo Ferrara's Madonna on the throne and Child between Saint Mark and Saint Nicolas.
A small artistic jewelis at a short distance; the Oratory of the Christ, which was build in the seventeenth century and which was modified during the following century. It is decorated with valuable frescoes, among those Our Lady of Sorrows, Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Antony of Padua and the Flagellation of Christ at the Column are considerable.
in the Bagnarola locality, besides the already cited small Curch of Saint Peter we can find: the small Church of Saint Rocco in the Vissignano locality, a construction which is anterior to 1610 and which keeps an altar-piece with Madonna and Child, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Rocco; The Church of the Visitation (1600) in the Versiola locality, which is formed by a room with a barrel vaulted ceiling that contains a painting of the eighteenth century representing the Visitation; the small Church of Saint Antony of the Fifties in the Casette locality.
It is possible to accomplish a journey which spans the main naturalistic and artistic aspects of the territory and which can reveal a particularly interesting landscape to a careful observer, with its variety of authochtonous flora and fauna and with the presence of numerous water-courses and of earthen pots that are typical of the humid areas of the Lower Friuli plain.
From the historical centre of Sesto, behind the Abbey, you turn right along Giotto di Bondone Street; then you reach the Reghena Canal and you enter the Burovich Meadows, which belong to the Province of Pordenone, souvenir of the old wood and evidence of the agricultural cultivations between the eighteenth and nineteenth century; the journey through the "rooms" of the meadows, which cannot be cultivated, is suggestive and it can be achieved on foot or by bycicle.
Again in the centre of the village, from Aquileia Square you can go on along Zanardini Street, along Levada Street for about 1,3 Km and you can turn left on Piave street. After about 400 m. you enter a path that can be run through on foot or by bycicle and that is the souvenir of an old Roman street. You reach the ford on the irrigation ditch of Versiola, beyond that the small Church of Saint Peter becomes visible.
You go along S. Pietro street, you cross it and you go on along Stalis street, getting over the bridge on the Lemene river that branches out and laps on an islet where the Stalis mill lies. You go on along the path till the Fountain of Venchieredo, which is an equipped natural area where you can stop. From here you can reach the Casette locality across the Paker Lake; you turn right at the crossoads, you go on for about 1 Km till you find Siega street on the left. One of the rarest examples of an old sew-mill (eighteenth century) lies in this village and even nowadays it holds the original equipment for the wood manufacture. You go on till Borgo di Sotto and then, turning right, you reach the centre of the Bagnarola locality where the All Saint's Church lies.
The journey ends in the Ramuscello locality, which can be reached going along Monte Santo street and Piramidi street, till the crossroads with the state road. Crossing it you can enter Freschi street that leads to the homonymous Villa.