THE CITADEL COMPLEX
The complex of the monastic citadel of the Santissimo Salvatore al Goleto was built starting from 1133 by Guglielmo da Vercelli, who had received the soil for the new abbey from Ruggero, Norman lord of nearby Monticchio, today an uninhabited locality, located between Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi and Rocca San Felice.
By the will of the founder, the vast primitive building was intended to host a mixed community of nuns and monks, where the supreme authority was represented by the Abbess, while the monks were entrusted with the liturgical service and care of the administrative part.
FIRST REFURBISHMENT OF THE CHURCH
The complex revolved around the church of the SanAssimo Salvatore (of which today signs of the apse remain), placed in the center and with the facade facing west, it included the large monastery of the nuns, next to the apse, and the one more small of the monks, in front of the facade.
In all probability already at the death of the holy founder, which took place on the night between the 24th and on 25 June 1142, a first reconstrucAon of the church was begun which would have it housed the remains.
THE ABBADESSE FEBRONIA, MARINA I AND II, AGNESE AND SCHOLASTICA
Under the guidance of famous abbesses – Febronia, Marina I and II, Agnes and ScolasAca – the community grew and became famous for the holiness of the nuns and the monastery itself enriched with land and works of art.
Some of the most significant monuments of the complex are owed to their work monasAc: the Febronia tower, a true masterpiece of Romanesque art built with numerous stone blocks from a Roman mausoleum dedicated to Marco Paccio Marcello, takes its name from the Abbess who ordered it in 1152 construcAon for the defense of the monastery.
THE CHAPEL OF SAN LUCA
The Chapel of San Luca was built in 1255 to house an outstanding relic of holy evangelist. It is the jewel of the abbey.
It is reached by an external staircase whose parapet ends with a shaped handrail snake with a pommel in its mouth. The access portal is surmounted by an arch a acute sixth and a small rose window with six lights.
On the front of the arch an inscripAon recalls that the church was built by Marina II. The interior consists of a square room with two naves, covered by ogival cruises. Of the numerous frescoes that enriched the chapel, only two medallions remain, depicAng Abbesses ScholasAca and Marina, and some episodes from the life of San William.
THE BLACK PLAGUE
For about two centuries the monasAc community exercised a strong influence in special way over Irpinia, Puglia and Basilicata, thanks also to the predilecAon and protecAon that the Norman-Swabian nobility always had on it.
However, starAng in 1348, the year of the black plague, a slow and inexorable one began decadence that determined, on January 24, 1506, the suppression, by the Pope Julius II, of the monasAc community which, in fact, occurred with the death of the last abbess in 1515. With the end of the Goletan female community, the monastery was joined to that of Montevergine, who ensured the presence of some monks.
THE COMPLETE RESTORATION OF THE MONASTERY AND THE BUILDING OF THE GREAT CHURCH
Thus began a slow recovery that culminated later in the mid-eighteenth century of the extensive damage suffered by the complex due to the earthquake of 29 November 1732, with the complete restoraAon of the monastery and the construcAon of the large church, work of Domenico Antonio Vaccaro.
In 1807 the sovereign of Naples, Giuseppe Bonaparte, suppressed the Abbey. The body of San Guglielmo was transferred to Montevergine and the Goleto furnishings were divided between neighboring countries.
THE ABANDONED MONASTERY
From 1807 to 1973 the monastery remained abandoned and some appeals for the recovery of the venerated monument were in vain.
So anyone could steal portals and stones, roofs and walls collapsed, brambles they became undisputed masters together with animals of all kinds. Only the farmhouse of peasants conAnued his secular life.
THE RECOVERY, P. LUCIO MARIA DE MARINO
In 1973, Fr Lucio Maria De Marino (1912-1992), a BenedicAne monk from Montevergine, which he brought back with tenacity akenAon to the need for the material and spiritual recovery of the Goleto.
With him began the first restoraAon works that slowly allowed the recovery funcAonal of the monasAc complex, giving it back to new life and the splendor that today everyone can admire.
THE LITTLE BROTHERS OF THE JESUS CARITAS COMMUNITY
From 1990 to July 2021 the Likle Brothers of the Jesus Caritas Community, inspired by Charles De Foucauld, took care of the spiritual animation of the complex goletano, which has increasingly become a point of reference for all who are thirsty for the absolute.
THE ABBEY TODAY
Since July 2021, a diocesan presbyteral fraternity has been carrying out acAviAes to ensure this that the Goleto conAnues to be a place of prayer, spirituality and hospitality of the pilgrim man in search, who stops to discover the meaning of life and the presence of God.