Valvisciolo Abbey is a Cistercian monastery in the province of Latina, central Italy. It is an example of rigorous Romanesque-Cistercian architecture.
It is supposed that this abbey was founded in the 12th century by the Greek monks and occupied and restored by the Templars in the 13th century. When in the 14th century this order was dissolved, the Cistercians replaced them. A medieval legend narrates that in 1314, when the last Templar grand master, Jacques de Molay, was sent to the stake, the architraves of the churches broke. Even today, watching carefully the lintel of the main portal of the abbey, it is possible to see a crack. The clues of the Templar presence consist of some characteristic crosses: one in the first large step of the floor of the church, another in the ceiling of the cloister and the most famous of all, it is carved in the left part of the eye center of the rose window, appeared in the early century restorations.
The church has three naves divided by pillars and columns and bare walls as the Cistercian “memento mori” tradition that avoided the architectural splendor because it was not important the materiality but rather, the spirituality. The Chapel of St. Lawrence is at the bottom of the left aisle. It was frescoed in 1586-89 by the painter Nicholas Circignani known as Pomarancio, commissioned by Cardinal Enrico Caetani and Onorato IV. This cycle of frescoes was made on the occasion of Pope Sixtus V’s visit in Caetani’s domains. Inside the chapel, there are many self-congratulatory signs referring to the ducal title that in 1586 was granted to Onorato IV.
Today it is possible to visit the church, the cloister and the museum.