This was an inner courtyard that we just looked into – it was closed.  Most of the monastery was off-limits because it’s still being used, and maybe because it was also off-season.  (taken 3.1.2015)


This is part of the entrance cloister, which was the site of an old Apollo temple.  When St. Benedict built the original monastery, he renovated this section from a temple to the cloister.  (taken 3.1.2015)


The statue of St. Benedict is the original (from 1736) and pretty much withstood the WWII bombings.  A statue of St. Scolastica was on the right (that one was a copy because it was destroyed).  (taken 3.1.2015)

IMG_3074This is a look at the Bramante cloister, the central one.  It’s very beautiful, as you can see, and in the background it looked over the Liri Valley and over the Ausoni Mountains.  (taken 3.1.2015)


Moving into the actual basilica, whose doors are absolute works of art, the fresco The Glory of St. Benedict adorns the wall above the central door.  It was very colorful and my favorite fresco.  (taken 3.1.2015)


As you can see, there are no frescoes on the ceiling, and most of the walls, because of the bombing.  But they used to cover everything, as in many Italian churches and basilicas.  (taken 3.1.2015)


These two angels are the only ones that were not destroyed by the bombing in 1944.  They are from the sixteenth century.  (taken 3.1.2015)


On our way into the crypt, these beautiful mosaics with stars reminded me of Ravenna.  In fact, the entire crypt with its mosaics reminded me of Ravenna.  (taken 3.1.2015)


This is just another one of the little courtyards in the monastery.  (taken 3.1.2015)


And here are some lovely doves – which I’ve never seen before – just standing around on the steps.  (taken 3.1.2015)

It was an absolutely amazing experience and perhaps my second favorite place I have visited here (after Arcevia) – very peaceful and perfect.  It was also a rather nice day and not too cold even though it was rather high up.  I would definitely go back if I ever got the chance.