Christian Museum and Treasure of the Cathedral

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The Christian Museum of Cividale del Friuli is located in rooms adjacent to the cathedral, in a rectangular room created in 1946 between the courtyard and the wall of the right aisle, and houses some of the most representative evidence of early medieval sculpture, especially from the Lombard period.

Stanza 1 - Altare di Rachtis

Altar of the Duke Rachtis (Room 1)

The Stone Altar, known as the Ratchis Altar, is the most important monument of this sculpture. The front slab depicts Christ enthroned flanked by two cherubim, within a mandorla supported by four angels; the two side slabs contain the Visitation with the Virgin and St. Elizabeth in the act of embracing each other and the Adoration of the Magi with the Virgin on the throne holding her Son on her knees; in the back slab, decorated with crosses and geometric ornaments, is a small window corresponding to the opening of the reliquary.

Stanza 2 - Museo Cristiano

Treasure of the chapter of Cividale del Friuli (Room 2)

The second room is dedicated to the treasury belonging to the chapter of Cividale. There they find proper attention artifacts from the 10th to the 18th century that actually create a remarkable historical and artistic heritage. Among the various sacred objects on display, the chalice with paten or Ottonian chalice used for Good Friday services is noteworthy. It features burin-engraved evangelists on the base and on the handles and esse the figures of Melchizedek and Abel offerers.

In the same shrine is the 14th-century painted wooden pyx, on whose red background are painted figures of the Madonna, Christ, the Baptist and St. Martin.

The second shrine displays the two relic capsellae. The first (late 8th-early 9th century) is the oldest reliquary capsella of this type in Italy. A crucifixion is engraved on the front, and very curious is the iconography of the nativity scene placed on the back.

The second, 9th century, cottage-shaped, bears on its four facades a theory of twelve saints.

The third shrine displays the Grimani peace which was used before communion as a sign of reconciliation. The silver-gilt plaque depicts the deposition. Two cameos are set in it : the taller one is a work not later than the fifth century and depicts Daniel praying among lions.

The fourth display case shows the sword of Patriarch Marquard that is used during the Mass of the Broadsword on Epiphany Day.

In the center of the room is the patriarchal chair, an 11th-century work on which as many as 26 Aquileian patriarchs received solemn investiture from 1077 to 1412.

The reliquary of St. Donatus, made by Donadino di Brognone in 1374, finds its place in the fifth shrine. The reliquary is made of embossed silver and enamels and contains the head of St. Donatus, patron of Cividale.

The sixth shrine displays a curious 14th-century coconut pyx surmounted by a cross with the image of Christ on one side and the Agnus Dei on the other.

On display in the last shrine are some very interesting reliquaries: the reliquary statuette of St. Nicholas, a gift of Patriarch Nicholas of Luxembourg whose coat of arms is engraved at the top of the base. The reliquary of St. Elizabeth, 15th century, which contains a finger of the saint and three pins that , as per mention, had belonged to the nuptial hairstyle of the same saint. In the same shrine is the small statue of St. Blaise made in 1462 and belonging to the Cividale rectory of the same name.

Sala 3 - Museo Cristiano

Room 3

The third room displays a number of paintings from the churches of Cividale. A roundup of works ranging from the 16th to the 18th century. Surely the most important work is the apparition of Christ to Mary Magdalene "Noli me tangere" by Giovanni Antonio De Sacchis, known as "il Pordenone" , c. 1534, from the Cathedral. It is a singular painting in which Christ almost strides towards the genuflected Magdalene. On the right are glimpses of the angels in the Sepulcher, on the left a landscape rendered with quick touches. Kneeling behind Christ is likely the patron.

Two canvases by Paolo Caliari, known as "il Veronese" from the church of San Giovanni in Xenodochio, can be admired. Madonna and Child crowned by angels 1534 and St. Roch 1584 in which the painter may have wanted to leave a self-portrait. both paintings, according to critics, may have been finished by Veronese's collaborators. Hanging from the ceiling is the shaped canvas depicting "Glory of St. John," 1755-1760, attributed to Francesco Zugno and from the church of San Giovanni in Xenodochio. St. John stands at the feet of the Virgin in heaven.

Stanza 4 - Museo Cristiano

Hall 4

The fourth room displays sacred vestments belonging to the Chapter of Cividale; some sculptures, objects of liturgical use, and some manuscripts. In the cases on the left one can admire the Barbaro chasuble, which belonged to Patriarch Marcantonio Barbaro, whose family crest is embroidered on the back. The damasked bucket and basin, both precious pieces of 13th-century Islamic art in bronze with silver decorations. The basin between the friezes has engraved phrases from the Qur'an.

The last case on the right displays the mitre of St. Paulinus (14th century) on whose ivory background are embroidered medallions with figures of saints and applied precious stones.

Leaning against the walls are sculptures also from the churches of Cividale: crucifix 1566 by Orazio Liberale; Madonna and Child, Renaissance sculpture; Saints John the Evangelist and John the Baptist 1756, a wood carving by Mattia Deganutti that adorned a cupboard; Christ in Sorrow or Christ Passing, whose inscription mentions the Piccolomini family in Cividale from 1260; Madonna, which is a surviving element of an Annunciation scene. A 'special display case houses the manuscript codices of the Chapter Fund, dated between the 10th and 16th centuries.


Important to note that the museum does not have a bathroom.

CLICK HERE to view the full accessibility fact sheet (2020)

Virtual Tour

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IO CI VADO APS - C.F. 94144010306
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