Muggia Vecchia and the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta / Assumption
Muggia, a small city located at the most south south-eastern corner of Italy, directly adjacent to the border to Slovenia, has a long history. Founded as a Roman Castellum on a hill site, with a view that reaches far into the Gulf of Trieste, it gave shelter to a settlement that developed around its walls. During the 14th century, when Muggia placed itself under the protection of the Venetian Republic, the municipality was relocated to the coast and Muggia Vecchia/the Old Muggia, was abandoned. Nowadays Muggia Vecchia has been transformed into an archeological park. Its only remaining buildings belong to the basilica Santa Maria Assunta, a church that still radiates the mystic atmosphere of the Middle Ages.
That Santa Maria Assunta is a popular church for weddings is almost self-explanatory: its location above the Bay of Muggia is most beautiful; the church is detached from surrounding buildings and therefore an ideal place for the inevitable photo-shoot. Built out of sandstone, the basilica has a friendly, warm appearance and moderate dimensions. Furthermore, the narthex of the basilica offers an open, yet protected, shadowy vestibule.
When entering the church, the eye has to adapt little by little to the subdued light. Thereupon the visitor starts to perceive the colored walls with the many frescoes that contrast with the masonry works made out of light stone. The choir screens with their wickerwork ornamentation are spolias from an older church and date to the 8th or 9th century. There is a fragility in the appearance of the pulpit with the lectern, which is supported by four thin columns. Frescoes from the 13th and 14th century adorn the smooth walls of the nave and the side aisles. They tell the story of the Mary, the virgin Mother of God, completed by depictions of the Evangelists, of prophets and saints.
Although the basilica Santa Maria Assunta was first mentioned in writing in the 13th century, the technique of its construction and its style give reason to presume that the church is older. A similar style can be found throughout the Istrian peninsula from the 10th century AD on. Even after Muggia Vecchia was abandoned, the church was the only building that remained in use. Over the centuries next to nothing was changed and Santa Maria Assunta can be considered one of the few architecturally almost completely intact relics from a long time ago.
It’s good to know:
Basilika Santa Maria
53, Salita Muggia Vecchia
34015 Muggia (TS)Tel.: 0039 - 0402 - 71164
As it is custom in Italy, all churches are closed between 1 and 4 pm.