Collegiata di Sant’Orso

It is impossible to remain indifferent before the monumental Collegiata di Sant’Orso.

Its history begins in the eleventh century, when it was built over an ancient Christian necropolis already centuries old. Still today, in front of the choir of the current church, it extends under the protection of a large transparent slab, the so-called “magic square”, as if to emphasize the emotional involvement caused by the visit to this unique space.

Continuing your visit, you will reach the altar area, where the most scrupulous or most religious explorers can find the crypt, certainly one of the most fascinating and mysterious places.

The most iconic part is definitely the cloister of Romanesque origin, consisting of a series of columns surmounted by capitals that tell all kinds of stories. These range from representations of fantastic animals to religious anecdotes also related to the life and miracles of Sant’Orso.

The bell tower and the Priory, the latter ordered specifically by George of Challant in 1468, complete the complex. Together with the cathedral, the Collegiata is the most important religious building in Valle d’Aosta.

Monasteries

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Near the statue of the saint in the crypt, you can see the passage through which the “musset” ritual was performed, a healing practice during which the sick person could ask the saint for a grace as he crawled inside the narrow passage, wrapped in incense smoke.

TIPS

  • On the façade of the church it is still possible to catch a glimpse of the signs of a bell tower added in 989 and later removed.
  • A great craft fair is held between January 30th and 31st near the religious complex in honour of traditional work and of the pleasure of sharing amongst the mountain folk. The festivities culminate in a great night-time party of music and dance.
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