Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria

WMF has taken on a two million-dollar project at the medieval Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria, which was badly damaged in the April 6, 2009, earthquake that struck the Abruzzo region of central Italy.

Three weeks after the devastating earthquake in Abruzzo, WMF experts organized a field mission to begin assessing the damage to the region's historical sites and identified the medieval Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria in Pescara as both highly significant and less likely to receive the attention it needed, as it was not near the epicenter of the earthquake. WMF proposed to undertake its restoration to ensure that the historic and artistic legacy of the site would endure.

About the Abbey

The abbey is a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture that holds deep historical significance. It was founded in 871 by Holy Roman Emperor Louis II, and rebuilt during the 12th century in the Romanesque style. The abbey houses remains believed to be of the late-1st-century pope and martyr, Saint Clement, the first Apostolic Father of the Roman Catholic Church. The abbey is known for its sculpture and its decorative bronze doors, which were created in 1191 and feature religious iconography, geometric patterns, and images of abbots and castles.

Damage and Restoration

The April 2009 earthquake caused a tympanum to collapse into the nave of the church, damaging the ambon, a Byzantine-style pulpit, which is a prominent feature of the interior, and a large medieval stone candlestick used to hold the Paschal candle. The collapse destabilized the building, and temporary scaffolding has been installed over the Paschal candlestick and the ambon to protect them from further damage.

WMF is the first private organization to commit to restoring the cultural heritage of the Abruzzo region. The project will begin in fall 2009 and is expected to last one year.

Want to make a donation to help WMF safeguard this heritage site? On our secure donation page, just select Earthquake Recovery in Abruzzo Region, Italy in the "Please use my donation" menu.