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San Benedetto Po


San Benedetto Po is a town in the province of Mantua, located on the right bank of the River Po. The name, as the history of this village, is linked to the Benedictine monastery, founded in 1007 by Tedaldo of Canossa, that once stood on the island between the Po and the Lirone, and deconsecrated in 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte. Matilde of Canossa in 1077 donated the complex to Gregory VII who linked the monastery to the monastery of Cluny in Burgundy. The current complex is composed of three monasteries (the cloister of Seculars, the cloister of St. Benedict and the cloister of San Simeon), the Refectory, the Infirmary and the Basilica, altered by Giulio Romano in 1540 with a front porch and wooden carved doors. The artistic heritage is what rests from the looting during the French and Austrian dominion. Here is located the grave of Matilda of Canossa, an alabaster sarcophagus supported by four lions of red marble. Matilda's body is no longer in this tomb, as in 1633, it was transferred to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Interesting is the fresco by Correggio in the refectory.
Other sites of interest are:
- The Oratory of Santa Maria, dating back to the XI century with an aisle with a beautiful mosaic floor of 1151;
- The Bell Tower of the ancient Church of St. Florian (1050);
- The Church of Santa Maria in Valverde, dating from the XI century and left in ruins in the XV century;
- The Museum Polironiano, one of the largest ethno-graphic museums of Italy, with over 13,000 exhibits.
- The Abbey museum full of exhibits on the history of the abbey;
- The XVI century old cellars;
- The astronomical observatory in the village of Gorgo.

The surrounding area is countryside and here are located several oratories, villas and abbeys, churches entitled to Matilda, dairies and many agricultural courts, where the valuable work of reclamation of the monks is still visible from the cycle paths along the banks around the town, which, thanks to its dockside is the starting point for excursions to Mantua and barge along the Po.


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