The diocesan benedictine museum of sacred art
The Museum is located in the abbatial palace, to the south of the church, connected to it, at n. 3, via Marconi, inside the buildings of the ancient monastery. A part of this Museum preserves some beautiful works of art that come from the churches of the Archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola. The head of the Museum is the “Abbey Treasure”: here we can find unique medieval works of art, like the stauro-case containing the wood of the Holy Cross (X cent.), the stauro-case of Double Cross with Saint Elena and Constantine (XI cent.), silver arm relic with the relic of the arm of Saint Sylvester Pope (1372), silver coffer with the skull relics of the Saints Senesius and Theopompus (XII cent.), ivory relic chest (XII cent.), astylar cross, gift of the abbot Angelico Fanti of Morimondo (XVI cent.), and exceptional tissues dated VIII century, coming from the imperial factory of Constantinople . Then, the ancient manuscripts, handmade by the monks in the scriptorium: the manuscript called Acta Sanctorum (X-XII cent.), that binds together a few texts dealing with the Saints worshipped in Nonantola, the Gradual or Cantatorium (XI cent.), one of the most ancient musical manuscripts with the typical Nonantola notation, and the Gospel known as “of the Countess Mathilda of Canossa” (XI cent.), that contains 10 large miniatures with episodes from the life of Christ and make it one of the most precious Medieval manuscripts in the world. A part of the Museum shows the famous parchments: the principal two are a donation of Mathilda of Canossa, dated 1108, with her characteristic signum, and the parchment of Charlemagne of the year 798, bearing the well-known monogram K of the founder of the Holy Roman Empire . From the abbey church we can see marvelous paintings, as the polyptych by Michele di Matteo Lambertini (1460), on a golden background with the Crucifixion and Madonna enthroned with Child, surrounded by Saints: John the Evangelist, Michael, Peter, Paul, Lucy and Anselm on the top, and Bernard of Clairvaux, Martin, Sylvester, Hadrian III, Benedict and Scholastica on the bottom. A canvas of Ludovico Carracci shows the Saint Carlo Borromeo baptizing an infant during the plague (1613-1616).