The entrance and statue of St. Michael
The most impressive aspect of the abbey is facing us. The solidity of the façade (41 meters high) is emphasised by the steely-grey colouring of the blocks forming the foundation which contrast with the sweeping curves of the greenish church, crowned by the central apse with its impressive gallery of little arches (the “Loggia of Viretti” ) which is among the best surviving examples of Romanesque apsidal loggias.
The Benedictine monks undertook the major task of building the foundations in the first half of the twelfth century, so as to raise above it the enlarged church with its five apses.
On 24 September 2005, on an outcrop of rock between the “Old Monastery” and the basement of the church the statue of St. Michael the Archangel was positioned. Created by the sculptor Paul dë Doss-Moroder (click here for more info), a Tyrolean artist, whose most important works are found in Italy, Germany and America, it is without doubt a new and original interpretation of the Archangel Michael, being a work of impressive proportions (height 5.20 m. plus 1.80 m. for the wings, weight 3400 Kg approx). The statue of Saint Michael won the national competition organized by the Sacra for the creation of a contemporary representation.
The artist describes his work in this way: “Saint Michael was the Archangel of Good, who defeated evil: my statue seeks to reflect this above all, in our world unfaithful to Peace. The work consists of two parts: in one, St. Michael the Archangel is on a solid rock, the same as that on which the Abbey is erected , victor of Good, emissary of Peace and Bearer of the Word of God; in the other, the wings of the defeated Angel of Evil plunge into darkness at the foot of the protruding rock. The Archangel is also the gatekeeper of the Kingdom of God, which symbolically opens in the wall behind the sculpture.”