Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863- 1938) loved the Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria, in Abruzzo: he describes the magnificent 9th-century monastery in his novel, “The Triumph of Death”, as
full of very old memories, where there is a great candelabra of white marble, a marvelous work of art by some unknown artist.
In that passage, D’Annunzio is speaking to his dead mother and refers to an ancient artifact from the late 4th century, placed inside the church:
Erect on the candelabra, in the silence, you will illuminate with your face the meditations of my soul.
Built from 871 for Emperor Louis II the Younger (825-875), the Abbey of San Clemente – in the small town of Castiglione a Casauria, in the province of Pescara – has a white portal, a historiated ambon, and a reliquary where Louis collected the bones of the Saint Pope to whom the church is dedicated. This precious monument of ancient art has survived over the centuries through ransacking, earthquakes, and long periods of abandonment.
After a seism in April 2009, the site was closed for a couple of years, but today the abbey is open again, for anyone who loves beauty – like D’Annunzio did – to see.