The Martyrdom of San Pantaleone (1638) by Gerolamo Imperiali
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
July 27th is the feast day of San Pantaleone, patron saint of Ravello. According to tradition, the Christian physician was beheaded (c. 305) during the Diocletian persecutions in Nicomedia, and that a woman collected his spilled blood. The ampulla holding the saint's blood reached Ravello in the eleventh-century after a storm at sea transported the monks of Saint Basil, guardians of the phial, from the East. It is believed the relic chose the town for shelter.
In honor of the martyr, I would like to share a few photos taken during my 2010 pilgrimage to beautiful Ravello—arguably the most bedazzling jewel gracing the Amalfi Coast—and its fabulous Duomo, home to the saint's relic.
Tradition says Orso Papiro, the first bishop of Ravello, founded the Duomo in 1086. It was initially dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, but later consecrated to San Pantaleone. Major renovations were done in the twelfth- and seventeenth-centuries.
The Cappella di San Pantaleone houses the phial of solidified blood. Every July 27th the faithful gather to see the miraculous liquefaction and receive its blessings.
Traces of Medieval paintings can be found in the transept.
A spectacular thirteenth-century marble pulpit supported by six twisting columns and lion pedestals dominates the central nave.
A church organ sits above the famous twelfth-century bronze doors cast in Constantinople by Barisano da Trani. One of Duomo's many highlights the door's relief panels depict warriors, saints and biblical scenes.
The Museo del Duomo, located in the crypt of the Cathedral, is a must see. It is home to many precious objects, including (L-R) the Bust of Sigilgaida Rufolo by Niccolò di Bartolomeo da Foggia, the reliquary of Santa Barbara and an ornate crozier. Unfortunately, the bust of Sigilgaida was on loan to Germany at the time, so I scanned a postcard purchased from the museum. Depicted as the goddess Fortuna, Sigilgaida was the wife of Nicholas Rufolo, treasurer of King Charles of Anjou. The sculpture is considered one of the most significant masterpieces of thirteenth century Italy.
Perched high on the cliffs of Monte Cerreto world renowned Villa Rufolo offers some of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast and the Bay of Salerno.