The preroman and roman art in Villaviciosa

A huge heritage

The council of Villaviciosa has the greatest number of preroman and roman art monuments in Asturias, being its most famous treasure the Coventín of Valdediós.

This municipality must be understood without its patrimony heritage. On this route we are able to visit more than twenty architectonical jewels of best cultural interest.

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In the Cistercience monastery of San Salvador of Valdediós, for instance, it is clearly shown the architectonic evolution during three centuries of Medieval Times. By the beginnings of the 13th century, the Church of Santa Maria was built, a three floor building with wide ships supported by three strong columns and windows of mid point. It has been awarded the title of Humanity Heritage. It has also received the title of Historical-Artistic patrimony as well as the church of Santa Maria of the Oliva (located in the urban center of Villaviciosa) and we can also find more than ten other historical monuments in this area, as for instance, the unique church of San Salvador of Priesca built during the 10th century, and later declared national heritage by the year 1913. This temple, famous for the richness on its architecture and its unique decoration still preserved today, is one of the last splendorous examples of the preroman art in this country.

In addition, it is also splendorous the church of San Juan of Amandi, located closely to the capital of this council. Its richness is widely shown in the very part of it, but even more remarkable on the double floor of columns which support well the ulterior wall and the apse.

The ornamental richness of the patrimony of Villaviciosa is found on its every part: on its triumph arches, porticos, capitels ... an iconographic variety that shows monstrous images, minstrel scenes, knights tournaments, lapidary scenes or even mercy images altogether. The indoors of these properties can show the simplicity of those times and the austere of the Baroque style at the same time. All of them tell about a long period of time: wars and famine that were followed by happiest times or we can be told about different stories of teachers, architects, priests, local people, lords, servants and even kings.

On the altars we can appreciate the unique details that made the profane character of them into a more religious one. On the faces we see the lack of expression on some carvings or religious scenes, on other churches we find wonderful baptism sinks as the one of Santa Eulalia of Selorio and some inscriptions that have proved to later reform.

Even in the last samples of the roman art, when the gothic style was starting to flourish, the sculptures and the decoration still remained the first patterns of the roman period.

Through those temples we observe the passing of many centuries after, and today they are well conserved thanks to the many generations which have looked after them and open their doors for those parishioners in search for an ancient culture.

Text: © Ramón Molleda for

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