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Abbazia di San Crispolto

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The oldest documentary evidence of the existence of a Benedictine monastery in the Bettona area concerns the Abbazia di San Crispolto della Piana, dating back to 1014, although the actual foundation date is unknown. The abbey, known as Badia, is in the town of Passaggio, near the point where the rivers Topino and Chiascio merge, in an area that was inhabited in Roman times, but which subsequently underwent gradual transformation to swamp land.

The abbey was built with waste materials obtained from Roman buildings and guarded the body of the patron saint of Bettona, San Crispolto: according to legend, the saint was martyred on the very spot where the abbey was built. In 1238 it became a dependency of Santa Maria Farneta, with the disagreement of the monks who experienced a downsizing in their political power. In 1265 the body of San Crispolto was transferred inside the city walls, to the new church of San Crispolto headed by the Conventual Franciscans. This event marked the beginning of an irreversible crisis in the Benedictine Order, whose importance was gradually reduced by the spread of the mendicant orders during the 14th century.

The abbey then remained the property of local prelates, who lived there until the mid-19th century, when the building was given over to farming purposes. Today the complex is a private residence, but the owner has lovingly restored the entire building: the original crypt, the apse above – one of the oldest in Umbria – and parts of the cloistered courtyard remain.

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