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Abbazia di San Domenico a Sora

The foundation of the Abbey of S. Domenico dates back to 1011. In 1030 the son of Rainerio, Pietro il Maggiore, Lord Steward and Governor of Sora and Arpino, donated the abbey, along with other gifts, to the Benedictine monk Domenico di Foligno (St. Dominic, 951-1031). The monastic complex stands where the paternal villa of Cicero was located, statim, near the confluence of the rivers Liri and Fibreno. Today, the abbey exhibits a somewhat sober façade with three entrances and an attractive central rose-window. The jambs of the left door and the left hand jamb of the portal are consist of coarse rectangular blocks, in limestone, which probably embellished the vaulted rooms of Cicero's villa. A semicircular marble slab, of Greek origin, rests over the main portal.

The right jamb of the portal, made of a limestone block embellished by bas-reliefs with floral decorations and rustic scenes, probably served once as an architrave in an old villa. Internally, the church is divided in three aisles bounded by a double row of pillars which enclose the columns of the original church. The crypt is similar to an oratory or small chapel with three aisles divided by 16 columns in differing style. The fifth column is of great interest since it consists of a Roman milestone dating from the period of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (306-312 AD). Tradition relates the crypt to the death of St. Dominic, who is said to have died just beside one of these columns (not identifiable), after having been laid on a bed of ashes, in accordance with Benedictine custom. The mortal remains of St. Dominic are interred within the altar of the crypt.

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