Capo di Ponte
Pieve di San Siro and Monastery of San Salvatore
'One should not fall in love with mermaids: they know the future and the past but not the present!'
So the elders were saying - tell us the guide of ProLoco of Capo di Ponte.
Perhaps it is no coincidence: to Capo di Ponte the presente tends to melt between the petroglyphs of the Bronze Age geographical uniqueness of places and medieval remains. And the sirens watch over the magic of this place Valcamonica from the portal of the church of San Siro and the capitals of the monastery of St. Salvatore.
The Pieve of San Siro, built shortly after the year 1000, overlooking the village of Capo di Ponte.
The church has the apse facing east and the facade ... simply missing: there was no room because the church is leaning against the mountain.
On the south side (the side of the living ...) a beautiful entrance portal bears the inscription on the lintel "HINC DS INTRANTES AD TE BNDIC PROPERANTES" (God Bless those who come here and hasten towards him).
To the right and left of the portal, two capitals: one decorated with bicaudate mermaids and the other with "anfisbene" (sort of winged serpents with two heads).
Winged animals and plant motifs run on the portal (there is also a lizard on the right just below the lintel).
The roof arches is decorated with human heads and animals at the base of the arches. The church is divided into three naves which are born directly from the living rock of the mountain, supported by columns and arches.
The arches between the naves are not equal but decreasing gradually as you move away from the altar. The trick makes the church, views from the altar, it looks much bigger than it actually is. Moreover, the living rock prevented a greater depth of the aisle ...
(a medieval "tromp-oeil" !).
Survive pictorial decorations including a John the Baptist baptizing a woman ....
The crypt bears witness to what was probably a pre-existing church of the Lombard period.
From San Siro you can see, about a kilometer, the Monastery of San Salvatore, on the other side of the valley.
The church of San Salvatore Monastery is a splendid example of Romanesque architecture.
The monastery was home to monks of Cluny (the order was given by Charlemagne when he defeated the Longobards). The monastery is mentioned for the first time in a papal document of the 1095.
Absolutely remarkable and well-preserved capitals inside.
The first left four mermaids bicaudate with hair in the wind and intertwined tails to remember the water, on the other there are eagles (air), other anfisbene (ground), dragons (fire) and character represented horizontally rich dressed and with a palm tree in the hand.
Around the church a pleasant "Giardino dei semplici" with medicinal herbs recalled that the monks had an important role in preserving and transmitting knowledge of botany.