Monastero di Sant'Antonio in Polesine, Ferrara

#7 of 72 in Historic Sites in Ferrara
Religious Site · Tourist Spot
Sant'Antonio in Polesine is a Catholic monastic complex of the nuns of the Order of Saint Benedict located in Ferrara, Italy and dedicated to Anthony the Great. Administratively, it is part of the deanery of Ferrara, part of the Archdiocese of Ferrara-Comacchio.HistoryThe name "in Polesine" does not refer to the area of Polesine, but to its original situation, high ground surrounded by water. The monastery, founded in the early Middle Ages by Augustinians hermits, stood on an island in the middle of the Po River.Beatrice II d’Este, daughter of marquis Azzo Novello and a Benedictine nun, received the monastery from her father as a gift for her community. Around 1257, Beatrice moved into the convent, where she died in 1264 to be beatified in 1270. Since then, the monastery has been under the patronage of the House of Este.BuildingsOnly the convent church is open to the public. The church is in baroque style, with a 17th-century frescoed ceiling by Francesco Ferrari.The nuns' church has side chapels with frescoes of the school of Giotto—on the left, Storie dell'infanzia di Gesù e della Vita della Vergine done between 1315 and 1320. On the right is Storie della Passione—and a central chapel with frescoes of multiple periods, including an Annunciazione of Domenico Panetti (15th century) and a ceiling with 16th-century grotesques. The presence of pagan images in an ecclesiastical setting, bears witness to the close ties between the monastery and the court, where such decorations were fashionable in the late 1600s. There is also a sculpted and gilt altarpiece depicting the Flagellazione by Nicolò Roselli (16th century).
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Monastero di Sant'Antonio in Polesine reviews

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  • Amazing frescoes! This is a small monastery, and to see the internal church you should ring the bell, one of the nuns will open the door and let you in, guiding to the frescoes. A real hidden gem!  more »
  • Went here half an hour before the 5:30 vespers. Shown around the chapel and the beautiful frescos. There are workmen there carrying out very noisy work! Yes we rang the bell to go into the chapel...  more »
  • Admission not straightforward.. Strictly limited hours. Important to respect that it is a working monastery. Entrance to area for frescoes is to the the right of the church. RIng the bell. We parked by the city walls and walked the short distance. Beautiful frescoes from the school of Giotto with explanation in Italian from a lovely, elderly, gentle nun. Put donations in a box at the end where items are available for sale. 5 pm Gregorian vespers. A delightful experience.
  • Outstanding frescoes. Unfortunately, a guided tour given by one of the nuns is mandatory - which limits the amount of time one can spend with the artworks. Also, no photos allowed as they want visitors to purchase souvenirs from their small shop at the end of the tour.
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