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La Croce della Chiesa di Santa Maria a Mare, isola di San Nicola, Tremiti

According to a legend, one day the people of the Tremiti islands saw a small boat in the sea, with no traces of crew, sails or oars. Mysteriously, arriving from the east this boat ended up ending its journey by docking on the island of San Nicola.

Above they found only a large crucifix, with bright colours.

At that point the locals called the canons of the abbey of Santa Maria al Mare, who carried the artefact up to the entrance of the church.

They had to stop there because the cross, given its size, did not fit through the entrance.

It was evening and it was decided to continue the transport for the next day.

Yet, there was no need: in the morning the canons of the abbey found the large cross already affixed, and even today tourists can admire it on the left side of the entrance to the church.

In particular, what they will observe is a wooden cross dating back to the 12th century, about 3 and a half meters high, depicting John the Evangelist, Christ and the Virgin Mary.

San Nicola Island Tremiti

However, the greatness of this work does not lie in its size, but in the fact that it represents a unique example of Byzantine iconographic archaic painting, without the presence of any decorative frieze.

For this reason, it can be dated as antecedent to all the other iconographic crosses present on the Italian territory, such as those present in Tuscany or Umbria.

More information on this beautiful crucifix can be found in the given link, while to learn more about the Island of San Nicola and its history, read this article.

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