The Basilica is one of the most important and famous churches of the city, a masterpiece of Romanesque Lombard. It is a mystical place where the temporal power crosses the spiritual power, the sanctity of the empire, through the coronation of the kings and the spiritual guide of souls.
The Basilica of San Michele Maggiore is one of the masterpieces of Romanesque Lombard architecture. It is the most interesting medieval monument of Pavia, dating from the eleventh or twelfth century. It is currently among the most important and best-known churches in the city.
It distances itself from the other local churches, from its extensive use in the structure and decorations, the ochre-colored sandstone, replacing the traditional burnt out look, and for its unique architecture. The front of the church sees many sculptures on the theme of sacred and sacrilegious of great beauty and depth. Similarly, on the inside, you can see magnificent murals and sculptures.
The basilica is also known for the many coronations that have occurred in it over the centuries, including the most famous of Frederick I Barbarossa, the last emperor to be crowned in Pavia.
The Lombard kings were not familiar with the ceremony of coronation but were appointed by acclamation from the warriors. It was later on in that period that the Franks alone broadcast the idea of enthronement in the church. The Kings were crowned in the Cathedral of Monza or Pavia around the Basilica of San Michele, which was specifically used in these functions. These kings included Berengar I who was crowned in 888, Berengar II and his son Adalbert crowned in 951, Arduino d’Ivrea in 1002 and Henry II also known as ‘The Saint’ crowned in 1004. The current building, which was rebuilt in 1130, saw the coronation of Frederick Barbarossa who was crowned from 1152-1190 as Holy Roman Emperor. There were three main places for coronation inside the Basilica: The Apse, the Alter and the Luxurious Throne.
The Great Basilica of San Michele was designed to accommodate the complex ritual of the coronation. There are two symbolizations of The Basilica of San Michele: One is connected to the sacredness of the kingdom and its investiture of the sacred political power and the second one being the cult of the dead and the death of souls. This is particularly linked to the figure of the Archangel patron St. Michael.
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