lunedì 22 dicembre 2014


I soci del Centro Studi San Claudio augurano a tutti i simpatizzanti e sostenitori dell'Associazione un Buon Natale ed un Felice Anno Nuovo

domenica 21 dicembre 2014



The discovery of the

TOMB and the BODY of

at San Claudio

Translation: Mr. Angelo Prati – Indianapolis - USA

Centro Studi San Claudio al Chienti – Corridonia – MC


The drawing up of this publication has two well-defined goals: to commemorate the 1,200th  anniversary of Charlemagne’s death that took place in Aquisgrana on January 28th, 814 and to inform the public of the discovery of the tomb of Charlemagne under the entrance archway of San Claudio in Corridonia, Macerata. The onsite technical readings were performed by geologist Massimiliano Mazzocca, owner of GeoPro, a company based in Perugia.
The research performed by prof Giovanni Carnevale over the past twenty years has by now ascertained that Aquisgrana and its Cappella Palatina are not in Aachen, Germany, but in the Picene region, in the Chienti Valley.

Charlemagne passed away 1200 years ago, on January 28th, 814 and the search for his tomb has always been centered in Aachen, however with no results.
All the sources available to us are in agreement in stating that the burial of the King took place in Aquisgrana, in the area of his new splendid Chapel that he had built around 790, even if someone, as reported by Einhard, had suggested to bring him elsewhere.
“Elsewhere” could not have meant anywhere but the nearby chapel of Saint Denis, present day San Ginesio , where his grandfather Charle Martel and his parents Pipin the Short and Bertrada were already resting.
The sources, as will be demonstrated, are very clear: Charlemagne’s tomb was outside the new Chapel and his son Louis the Pious built an archway over it, of which only poor remnants are left in the present archway of San Claudio.

Being born in Corridonia, where San Claudio is erected, I have always had a keen interest in the local events that took place during the early Middle Ages. I have always maintained a friendly relationship with prof. Carnevale, my own teacher during my high school years, and I have followed passionately his studies concerning the presence of Aquisgrana and the Carolingian kings in the Chienti Valley.
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my dear professor, whose advice and counsel, both as an archeologist and a historian, have been a huge help.
Getting back to Charlemagne, I believe that this job has a fundamental merit: the details of the sources, already well known to the scholars, take on a demonstrative strength, since they are supported by archeological data, meaning that the discovery of the tomb is in agreement with the statements in the documents consulted, particularly the Chronicon Novalicense.
Aachen no longer has the right to claim a title that it does not deserve.
Charlemagne’s tomb is located  at San Claudio. This detail supports the thesis that Aquisgrana is in the Chienti Valley, a thesis that was bravely and firmly maintained through many years of work and research by Prof. Giovanni Carnevale.
At the beginning of 2013, Morresi contacted GeoPro, a company owned by Massimiliano Mazzocca, in order to perform a search under the archway at the entrance of present day San Claudio using the georadar, with the goal of verifying the accuracy of written sources about the actual existence of Charlemagne’s tomb. The company gladly offered  their services at no cost given the historical and archeological importance of the project. The search was extended to the interior of the church. The results are detailed in the technical report which I will discuss in a future publication.
The misunderstanding that has placed Aquisgrana in Aachen has caused other major errors of historical nature, and that is to say that Charlemagne’s tomb was in Germany and that Saint Denis could only be the abbey in Paris.
Let me mention other inaccuracies that have upset the landscape and therefore the historical understanding of the early Middle Ages: the notions that Gallia was the same thing as France in the Picene region, that Urbs was synonym of ancient Rome and that the Papal Lateran was itself in Rome instead of being in the Picene region.
The georadar search performed by geologist  Mazzocca was extended to the interior of the church on the hope of finding possible signs of the burial of Otto III. It is documented that Otto III died in 1002 in Italy and was buried in the same Aquisgrana chapel where Charlemagne was already buried. The burial of the young emperor was never found in Aachen, however a very unlikely story tells that, in times after Barbarossa’s reign, the mummified corpse was placed on horseback and taken to Aachen by Saxon soldiers. This is another absurd misunderstanding that needs to be clarified.
The search with the georadar was performed on February 1st, 2013 with the permission of the new pastor, rev. Gianni Dichiara.
At first, the georadar targeted the landing area under the arch located just before the entrance of San Claudio and then proceeded  inside the abbey, scanning an area parallel to the facade that covered the first three spans of the church.
The search readings were performed by Dr. Massimiliano Mazzocca, owner of GeoPro, who has recently sent to us the full report that can be found in the appendix.


The search with the intent to locate the tomb of Charlemagne under the archway of San Claudio was given further purpose by the news divulged by ADNKRONOS (18.05.2010 : Germania-archeologi-smentiscono-leggenda-su-tomba-Carloma):
“Aachen, May 18th (Adnkronos/Dpa) – Charlemagne original tomb is not located in the atrium of Aachen cathedral as it was previously thought. The popular belief was dismantled by a group of archeologists who have spent three years looking without success for any trace of the burial of the emperor who died in 814 A.D.
Despite the meticulous research, the oldest traces found in the area under the atrium date back to the 13th century, 400 years after Charlemagne’s death. The question of the exact location of his original burial has been posed for centuries and starting in the 1980’s the prevailing theory among the experts was the atrium of the cathedral. Andreas Schaub, the archeologist who was leading the research, still maintains that "he is certain that Charlemagne was buried in Aquisgrana and certain that this took place in the area of the cathedral".
Charlemagne died in the morning of January 28th, 814 and was buried the same day. Approximately 250 years later, emperor Federico Barbarossa had the bones moved to an urn that has since been kept in the cathedral“.
On May 19th, 2010, the news were reported in major national newspapers, such as La Stampa in Turin and L’Avvenire in Rome, and that gave a major boost to prof. Carnevale’s theory. Mr. Alberto Morresi, an engineer and president of Centro Studi San Claudio al Chienti, decided to perform a search of the San Claudio area using the georadar. Once the search was completed, prof. Giovanni Carnevale was asked to participate in the compilation of this work, which is a collaboration of prof. Carnevale and Dr. Morresi.
Charlemagne died on January 28th, 814 in Aquisgrana and, according to all the sources at our disposal, the grave in which he was entombed was in the area of the Carolingian chapel in Aquisgrana.
The earliest news pertaining to the death and burial of the emperor are provided by Einhard in chapter 31 of his “VITA CAROLI IMPERATORIS”   :
The body had the ablutions and the care required in solemn rituals; with the deepest mourning of the entire population, it was brought into the church and entombed. At first, there was some uncertainty as to where it was supposed to be placed, since he never gave specific directions while he was still alive. In any case, everyone agreed that there was no more deserving place for his burial than the basilica that he himself had built at his own expense in the same village, for the love of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of His holy and eternal Virgin mother. And that’s where he was buried on the same day of his death and over the burial site a golden arch was erected, with a portrait and an inscription.
The obvious error made by Andreas Schaub, was to mistake Aachen in Germany with the true Aquisgrana. Aquisgrana was located in the Chienti Valley as demonstrated in a series of publications written by prof. Giovanni Carnevale  starting in 1992  .
There were some doubts as to where the body of the deceased emperor should be buried.  Some would have liked to bury him in the new Palatine Chapel, known as sancta Maria Mater Domini, as reported by Einhard. Others were thinking of a different site, most likely the nearby primitive carolingian chapel named Saint Denis, present day San Ginesio, where his grandfather  Charles Martel and his parents king Pipin the Short and queen Bertrada were buried. Those tombs were recently discovered still in perfect state, as described in the book by prof.  Giovanni Carnevale, Giovanni Scoccianti and Marco Graziosi

The final preference, at least temporarily, was the new splendid Chapel, built by the emperor himself in the lower Chienti Valley, located in the area named Palatium  The definitive decision was probably made by his successor, his son Louis the Pious, once he returned from Aquitaine back to Aquisgrana.
After the funereal march, from the imperial Domus to the Chapel, attended by all the people, the body, lotum et curatum, and that is to say embalmed, was entombed right away, on the same day of his death.
Einhard reports that he was entombed in the basilica, so to suggest a tomb inside San Claudio as it is today. However, in 814 there used to be an atrium or xistum on the outside just before the entrance which was an integral part of the basilica itself. As confirmed by the results of the georadar search, Charlemagne was entombed in the ground at the right of the entrance, and therefore inside or in the atrium of the church, which is defined as xistum by Widukind in his book Rerum gestarum saxonicarum libri tres. So, the burial took place in the church proper.
Louis the Pious, on his return from Aquitaine, approved the existing burial, but he added a golden arch, arcus deauratus, to the facade, supra tumulum, as explained by Einhard, even if this grandiose archway is called a solium in other sources because today it is surmounted by the throne in Aachen.
Thietmar  ( 975 - 1018), in his Cronaca , book IV , chapter 29,  reports that Otto III in the year 1000, 186 years after Charlemagne’s death, started looking for his remains inside the church but ended up finding them in solio, and that is under the outside archway: “ haec in solio inventa sunt regio”
In Chronicom Novaliciense , Book III,32, is the tale that Count of the Palace Otho of Lomello, who was present at the reopening of the tomb ordered by Otto III, related to the monks of Novalesa, pertaining to the discovery of which even Thietmar reported in the year 1000 in his Cronaca IV,29.
Here’s how the tale from the Count was recorded in Chronicom Novaliciense:
 “We entered Charle’s place. He was not lying down as is customary with the bodies of other dead people, but he was seated on a throne as if he were alive. He had a golden crown on his head and held a sceptre in his hands covered by gloves which his fingernails, as they grew, had perforated.
In the upper part, the tugurium  was connected (compositum) very skillfully with (an arch) of marbles and stones. When we reached the tugurium where Charle was, right away we made an opening breaking down the wall. And when we entered we smelled a very strong odor. We honored him by promptly bending our knees to the ground. Otto III quickly put a white robe on him, cut his fingernails and cleaned up around him. His limbs had not decomposed yet, only the tip of his nose was slightly corroded which he had promptly repaired with gold, and after extracting a tooth from his mouth, he had the opening in the small tugurium (tuguriolum) closed and then left.”
It is important to point out that if Charlemagne was buried the same day of his death, the small tugurium described by the Count of the Palace Otho of Lomello must have been built on the same day as well.
As a matter of fact, the Count of the Palace Otho of Lomello certainly does not describe a regal tomb, instead he tells us about a very small setting that could be built in just a few hours, surmounted by a posh archway or solium that was added later.
Geologist Massimiliano Mazzocca gives us the dimensions provided by the georadar which lead us to envision a setting similar to a cube as described in the footnote.
The data provided by the georadar seem to match perfectly with the description in cronicon novalicense
The tiny room could have been built very easily in just one day and, considering the room at the base and the curved covering over the head, it was perfectly suited to contain the seated body of Charlemagne, just like an elegant marble coffer.
The tomb of Charlemagne, as we can see, remained untouched until the year 1000 when Otto III had it reopened.


Once Charlemagne was dead, the imperial power was transferred to his son Louis the Pious. With him the empire entered a period of crisis, since during his reign, it became increasingly difficult to face the attacks from the Arabs along the coastlines, as described in the antopodosis of Claudio from Turin. Furthermore, the local officials, known as fideles during Charlemagne’s reign, claimed their right of inheritance and caused the breaking up of Picene France into fiefdoms.
Following the inevitable weakening of the central power, which was still located in Aquisgrana,  in the territory know as Palatium, Louis the Pious reacted by strengthening the abbeys and in particular the structures of political and ecclesiastical importance in central and southern Italy. Besides Rome, the seat of the papacy, the most relevant abbeys iuris palatii were in Farfa, Montecassino and San Vincenzo al Volturno.
Louis the Pious died in 840 and the crisis deepened. The Arabs, once Sicily had been conquered, permanently occupied the towns of Taranto and Bari, and set their sights on expanding north, moving up the old Appian road. The papacy moved their seat from Rome to the Lateran in Aquisgrana, while the two abbeys iuris palatii located south of Aquisgrana were sacked by the Arabs in 881. In the same year, Picene France along with Aquisgrana was attacked and sacked.
In 898, Farfa, completely isolated, was abandoned by the Benedictine monks that had built in Picene France the fortified abbey Santa Vittoria in Matenano.
Lothair arose to power in 840 and inherited an empire in shambles, by now divided in three parts, Germany, Gallia and Italy, which still today make up the base of western Europe.
In 915 the alliance of pope John X and Alberico the Old, who was identified  in the documents of that era as Rex (king, evidently of the Romans),  brought the elimination of Arab presence on the Italian peninsula after the definitive defeat of the Arabs, in the battle at the estuary of Garigliano.
On August 7th, 936, Otto I had himself crowned king of the Romans on the tomb of Charlemagne, who had by now become a mythical figure, and marked the beginning of a new setting of the empire in the Picene region, with a Saxon dynasty.
Relating to his crowning on the solium, we have a very interesting description made by Widukind in his book: Rerum Saxonicarum libri tres . I will quote some of the most meaningful passages, from the translation given by prof. Giovanni Carnevale in his book “La scoperta di Aquisgrana in Val di Chienti”, Macerata 1999 p. 111:

“After the death of the very good Henry, father of the motherland and greatest among kings, all the Franks and the Saxons chose as their new leader his son Otto, who had already been picked as successor by his father and all those who had a right to the proclamation of the successor wanted the chosen location for the common acclamation to be the Palace of Aquisgrana…..
…..Once arrived there and once all the Greats of the kingdom and all the other chiefs had gathered, and the leaders of the army, in the gallery (in sixto) in front of the Chapel of Charlemagne, the king-elect was placed on the solium that was built there, was acclaimed as king and, - according to the Saxon ritual – they shook his hand, they swore loyalty to him, they pledged their help against all enemies.
While the Greats and all the other chiefs were doing this, the bishop with all the clergy and the people were in the basilica below waiting for the entrance of the new king…...
When the new king came down from the solium and entered the church, Bishop Ildiberto walked with him to the center of San Claudio  where everyone there could see them.
Then, facing the people who were standing all around, in the spaces (deambulatoria) of the storey below and in those of the storey above (the women’s gallery of the basilica) that is built in rotundum  (and that is to say a central floorplan with the spans covered by vaults shaped like a cross)…

From the center, after the acclamation of the Franks, they proceeded to the altar.
“… once the consecration in lawful accordance of the ritual norms was completed, the king was led on the solium by the bishops. One could gain access to it by climbing a spiral staircase, it was built between two columns of outstanding beauty and from up there the king could see everyone and could be seen by everyone”.

There is no doubt that the description of the basilica given by Widukind matches many of the features of present day San Claudio which is rotundum facta as well.
Just like in the old times, today’s coverings are still in the shape of a cross, even if they are no longer the original ones.
The modern day church is divided in two storeys, however the central cross-shaped vault, that today separates the entire building into two storeys, is completely different and more recent than the remaining vaults especially when you examine its building technique. Originally, the upper floor housed only the deambulatory for the women’s gallery, from where one could follow the celebrations taking place on the floor below. The gallery for the women could be accessed only from the outside through two towers with spiral staircases that can still be seen for the most part in their original integrity. The space of the atrium in front of the church, the xystum from which the Saxons acclaimed their king, still exists but the ancient porticos that flanked its sides are no longer there. The archway without the solium, now found in Aachen, still exists but it is not the original one.

The recent search with the georadar has revealed that underneath the archway of San Claudio there is a small space. Its dimensions and covering coincide with the description of the tomb given in Cronicon Novalicense. Even the building, described by Widukind, where in 936 Otto I was crowned king of the Romans, considering the many particular details that were provided, matches without a doubt the church of San Claudio as it is today.
Also to be considered is the fact that in the year 1000 Otto III, after attempting in vain to locate Charlemagne’s tomb inside the church, ended up finding it on the outside under the solium, just like Thietmar wrote and how revealed by the georadar.
When Otto III died, his successor Henry II moved the seat of the empire from Italy to Bamberg, and from that time on in Germany there was very little interest for Italy until the advent of Frederick I Barbarossa.
Frederick I Barbarossa was elected king in Germany on March 4th, 1152 and five days later he was in Aquisgrana to be enthroned as king of the Romans on the tomb of Charlemagne, as stated in one of his letters to Pope Eugene III.
Barbarossa’s political and military activities in the following years are well documented. As for the tomb of Charlemagne, in 1165 Barbarossa, after defeating Milan, decided to declare Charlemagne a saint.
He searched for his tomb, but found that the remains of the emperor were no longer there. Someone in the imperial party had to tell him that the remains had been hidden elsewhere, as told by Barbarossa himself, for fear that they could fall in the hands of the enemy (of the empire) at the time of the Second Council of the Lateran when the Lateran was still in the Chienti Valley.  As a matter of fact, that council was attended by Sugier, a very powerful cistercian at the court of Paris, who had arrived in the Chienti Valley with a fleet and a host of Templars and who left with the beautiful columns that had adorned the regal domus of Charlemagne, in order to bring them to Paris in the royal chapel of the new Saint Denis. During that council Pope Lucius II had asked Saint Bernard to send right away a permanent community of Cistercians to the Chienti Valley.  The enemy to whom Barbarossa is referring, could not have been anyone else but the French Cistercians who actually arrived in the Chienti Valley in 1140.
Barbarossa relays that after having found Charlemagne by divine inspiration, he had him canonized by his antipope Pasquale III at Christmas of 1165, and one year later, on December 29th, 1166, as confirmed by Annales Aquenses , the remains were moved from Italy to Germany, perhaps in Cologne awaiting for the Aachen Chapel to be built.

This chapel was completed a few decades later, as demonstrated by the oldest traces found in the underground of the atrium that date back to the 13th century.
From that time the remains of Charlemagne rest in Aachen, and the myth surrounding the emperor attracts great crowds of pilgrim tourists every year.
The destiny of the authentic Palatine Chapel in the Chienti Valley was very different. Ten years after moving Saint Charlemagne (described in the Annales Aquenses as translatio santissimi Caroli imperatori), Barbarossa decided to move the empire as well (translatio imperii).
The defeat in the battle of Legnano (1176) against the Lombard League, that was supported by Pope Alexander III, resulted in the permanent loss of control of Italy for Frederick I Barbarossa and it encouraged him to execute the move of the empire (translatio imperii) from Italy to Germany.
The desire of revenge against the Pope pushed him to destroy Fermo and its cathedral (1176).
His devastating fury was unleashed as well on the superb ancient Carolingian Chapel of Charlemagne. After all, its destruction was politically necessary in order to accomplish the translatio imperii. The columns that Charlemagne had taken from Ravenna and Rome, the bronze pinecone that adorned the fountain in the atrium, the seven bronze barriers of the presbytery and of the upper women’s gallery, the bronze door at the entrance, the bronze panels of the doors of the cylindrical towers, all of these are now found in Aachen, many of them reused to beautify the new octagonal Imperial Chapel.
The vaults of the Aquisgrana Chapel in Italy were quickly and rudely rebuilt by local bricklayers and the solarium or covering terrace was replaced with a truss-like roof. The building was meant to replace the cathedral that was destroyed in Fermo until emperor Frederick II, grandson of Barbarossa, had it rebuilt with blocks of stone from Istria that were transported to the Fermo coastline by the imperial fleet.
The new bond that was established between the chapel that had by now become San Claudio parish and the bishops of Fermo has lasted up to our days since the title of pastor of San Claudio has been held continuously by the Archbishop-Prince of Fermo until 1986, as evidence that this small countryside church had, in reality, an immense historical relevance and an extraordinary economic importance.


The first Carolingian chapel in the Chienti valley was built by Charles Martel at Saint Denis, present day  San Ginesio. In 741 maiordomus Charles Martel was buried there   and his son king Pippin the Short and his spouse queen Bertrada were buried there in 768.  When Charlemagne died in 814 it would seem logical for him to be buried at Saint Denis as well, where his grandfather and his parents were already resting. Einhard reports that the new Chapel was chosen instead; in one of his letters from England, Alcuin had called it novam cappellam inter vineta, built by Charlemagne himself in Aquisgrana in the lower Chienti valley. It was certainly more beautiful than the older chapel on the hillside and in order to build it, around 790, Charlemagne invited qualified workers from the Middle East, at the time Syria, who were left jobless since the Umayyads had lost their power and the new Abbasside caliphs had moved their residence from Damascus to Baghdad.
The nova Cappella presented an absolutely new architectural feature, already tried in the frigidarium of Khirbat al-Mafjar near Jericho, where an Umayyad, caliph of Damascus,had built one of the famous residential palaces in the desert. The frigidarium of this palace was structured with a square plan. Four pillars divided the square base into nine bays. The coverings featured the first cross-shaped vaults of Syria which the Romans had never seen and that had arrived in Syria from nearby Iran after the Arab conquest.
Nine bays, four pillars and the use of the cross-shaped vault were also the characteristics of the basilica that Charlemagne had wanted in the Chienti valley. It had however a new feature when compared to Kirbet Al Mafjar. Inside, in order to build the women’s gallery, the same basic scheme of the nine bays was reproduced. At the center of the gallery however one of the bays was missing so that the ladies could view from the gallery all the celebrations taking place in the presbytery below. The covering of the building was a balcony, also supported by cross-shaped vaults. A dome was erected at the center of the balcony; although the dome and the balcony are no longer there, the same construction style can still be seen at the Carolingian church San Vittore alle Chiuse. The women’s gallery and the balcony could be accessed via two spiral stairways that were inside two cylindrical belltowers, which are practically intact. In front of the building there used to be a  xistum  or a courtyard surrounded by columns; at its center was a fountain of lustral water. Recently, the piping of the fountain were found during the deprecated excavations done to have a more modern access to the church.
The first modification to the original aspect of the Chapel came from Louis the Pious, Charlemagne’s son, who supra tumulum of his father the emperor, built an arcus dearatus. Essentially, the archway is still there with its essential structure, but it is without the front portal that was transported to the entrance of the duomo in Fermo by Frederick II as a replacement of the portal imported from Capodistria that was destined for the cathedral of Fermo but was instead used as the portal of today’s upperi San Claudio.
All this leads us to realize the enormous prestige that this old Carolingian building must have had during the high middle Ages. The myth of Charlemagne and his tomb in the ground below the archway, the presence of the throne or solium at the top of the archway, where the Roman kings and future emperors were consecrated, must have given the church and its  entrance archway the highest meaning  in the collective imagination of the people.If in the high Middle Ages, the empire founded by Charlemagne had its center in the old Palatine Chapel in Aquisgrana, the area and the church took on additional sacred meaning when the Popes moved to Aquisgrana and transformed the Chapel of Charlemagne into the Basilica Lateranensis, so that the old imperial Chapel took on a new function.
A second modification took place in 936 when a throne or solium (now located in Aachen) was placed over the’ arcus deauratus , between two magnificent columns. On this throne, from 936 until 1152, and that is to say from Otto I up to Frederick Barbarossa, all of the successors of Charlemagne were acclaimed as kings of the Romans and future emperors.
The architecture of the building as a whole, as Charlemagne had wanted it in 790, remained unchanged in the following centuries. In1002, Otto III, the last emperor in the Chienti valley, searched for and entered the tomb of Charlemagne that was still intact under the entrance archway.

With Otto III, the situation in the Chienti valley had gone through a deep transformation. The baculari (Vergari) ,heads of the local Roman clans, had taken up arms and eliminated the young Otto III from the political scene. His successor, Henry II moved the seat of the empire to Bamberg and the old imperial Chapel lost much of its importance.
In order to safeguard the interests of the empire, even if it was absent from this area by now, Henry II conferred the title of Prince to the bishop of Fermo  and a succession of four Germanic popes took place in the Chienti valleyi: Clement II (1046-1047) , Benedict IX (1047-1048), Damasus II (1048) and Leo IX (1049-1054).
By this time, the future of Picene France resided in the upcoming power of the free rural Communes, whose development was supported by the papacy.
To the French lords who were abandoned by the local farmers, Pope Urban II proposed the crusade for the liberation of the Holy Sepulchre.
Led by Godfrey of Bouillon, lord of Camerino, in the year 1100 the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem.
It is evident that Germany had been completely excluded from Picene France, center of the empire.
In 1112 the first Lateran Council took place there, in a revitalized atmosphere due to the prospering communes and the presence of the  veteran crusaders who had conquered Jerusalem.
The second Lateran Council took place there in 1139; among the participants were  Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, founder of the Cirstencians and of the Order of the Templars, who came from Paris with the Cistercian Suger, plenipotentiary of the French dynasty.
Starting in 1152 Frederick Barbarossa attempted to bring back the prestige of the empire.
He was elected King of the Romans on March 4th, 1152, and ten years later he destroyed Milan in the spring of 1162.

After destroying Milan and with plenty of resources, even financial ones, available to him, Frederick Barbarossa attempted to bring back the old Palatine Chapel in Aquisgrana as the center of the imperial authority in Italy.
He conceived the idea of proclaiming Charlemagne beatus, that is to say saint,, founder of the Empire and then transform the Roman Empire into the Holy Roman Empire.
To that extent, on Christmas 1165, in the old Carolingian Chapel, Barbarossa’s antipope Paschal III proclaimed Charlemagne saint, whose bones had been found by Barbarossa, by divine revelation, not in the tomb but in a hiding place.
Those who witnessed the solemn celebration, as they entered the Chapel, could see that a large chandelier was attached and hanging under the small dome, in the shape of a crown with a diameter of  4,34 meters (about 14 and a half feet). In regard of the chandelier, which is now in Aachen, encyclopedia Treccani states that  Barbarossa donated the round chandelier in or about 1165. Obviously, the chandelier had a symbolic value since it had the shape of an imperial crown. Placing it inside a Basilica that once belonged to emperor Charlemagne and that was later transformed into Basilica Lateranensis by the popes that had moved from Rome to Aquisgrana, meant that  Barbarossa considered himself at the top of the “Roman Empire” and now “Holy”, however no longer politically dependent from the power of the Pope.
The conflict with the Communes and Pope Alexander III, however, had not been resolved with the destruction of Milan.
We quote from the encyclopedia Treccani:
The surrender of Milan in 1162 had led Frederick Barbarossa to think that no further threats could come from Italy and that his authority had been strengthened. But the Communes were growing bolder to the point that they helped Milan rebuild its walls In  1164 Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Venice pledged allegiance to a league for their common defense against the emperor.
The canonization of Charlemagne to sainthood was the bold reply that Barbarossa gave to the Communes as they were starting to rear their heads.
In 1166 Barbarossa was again in the Chienti valley, but as he entered the old Carolingian Basilica he was met with an appalling sight: the old small dome, of which only a minor portion used for the large external stairway by Frederick II is still visible, had not withstood the enormous weight of the chandelier and possibly a few earthquakes. It had crashed to the ground along with the chandelier itself, destroying in the process part of the balcony and the women’s gallery.  It was not possible to keep Saint Charlemagne and the Persephone sarcophagus in which he  lay in a church that was half destroyed. Barbarossa decided the removal to Germany which took place on December 29th, 1166.
Given the precarious political situation in Italy, the plan was expanded to include the translatio imperii as well, which in real terms implied the rebuilding of the imperial Sancta Maria Mater Domini not in Italy, but in Aachen. The Holy Roman Empire was no longer going to have its center in Italy, but in Germany.
Odo of Metz was ordered to start right away the new building using all the components, rich with history, that had arrived from Italy. The seven bannisters of the women’s gallery and presbytery (the eighth was cloned in Aachen), the bronze door, the eight portals of the four doors of the belltowers, the pinecone of the  fountain in the xistum, the solium or throne on which the kings of Rome were acclaimed, the papers from the archives, including the annales aquenses, the relics of the church, possibly the columns of the xistum and the very chandelier that caused the collapse of the dome and that Barbarossa had wanted to include in the new building in Aachen, all of these were transported to Germany in 1167.
Odo ofi Metz, in order to avoid the collapse of the new dome, conceived the completion of the entire building as a massive monolith sculpted in the shape of a dome that could not crumble under the weight of the chandelier. He realized however that the weight of the chandelier added to the weight of the monolith, could compromise the stability of the exterior walls. Instead of the square plan, he preferred a more stable octagonal plan and strengthened the exterior walls of the entire octagon by inserting iron hoops connected with cross bars. This was the first “reinforced” building in history.

The old glorious Palatine Chapel of Charlemagne remained in ruins for ten years, from 1166 to 1176. In that year, Barbarossa was defeated by the Lombard League in the battle of Legnano, and he took revenge on Pope Alexander III by destroying the cathedral in Fermo and the majority of the city with it.
With the Peace of Venice in 1177, the papacy and the empire were reconciled. Not having the means to rebuild their own cathedral, the Diocese of San Claudio in Fermo decided to restore as best as they could the cross-shaped vaults of the women’s gallery and covered the whole thing with a trussed roof and not a balcony.
For twelve years the Diocese of San Claudio had a temporary cathedral in the Chienti valley that ended up being named church of San Claudio.
The cathedral in Fermo will be sumptuously rebuilt with stones from Istria by Frederick II.
The last transforrnation of the church was completed by Frederick II. After rebuilding the Cathedral of Fermo for the church, he kept San Claudio for himself as his own imperial residence or personal domus. He separated with a new cross-shaped vault the storey of the women’s gallery from the one below. The access to it, after a large stairway, was through a portal in stone from Istria that was originally destined to the cathedral in Fermo (the Capoana door of Vasari). Frederick II preferred to keep it for his own domus, sending to Fermo the old Carolingian portal of Charlemagne tomb as a replacement. There were also several decorative statues (as reported in gesta romanorum) that were destroyed after the fall of Frederick II. The last reference to the pillaged domus is in the document of Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254) in which  domum quam habuit inimicus Dei et Ecclesiae Federicus is given as a present to the commune of Montolmo.

lunedì 27 ottobre 2014

venerdì 26 settembre 2014

Indagini con telecamera/sonda a San Claudio Corridonia - Comunicato stampa

Dal 17 al 19 settembre si sono svolte le indagini con telecamera/sonda nella Chiesa di San Claudio al Chienti al fine di verificare i target individuati dalle operazioni con GeoRadar effettuate nel 2013 dal Centro Studi San Claudio al Chienti. Tali indagini sono state realizzate grazie alla nascente collaborazione tra il Centro Studi e l'International Research Institute for Archaeology and Ethnology (IRIAE) che si è offerta di realizzare tali controlli attraverso l'utilizzo della telecamera/sonda messa a disposizione da uno dei suoi principali collaboratori, La Macchina Del Tempo. I risultati delle indagini hanno identificato un'area ipogea, la cui funzione nel passato è ancora ignota, oggi riempita da terra incoerente ed un ossario all'interno della chiesa stessa. Le indagini per cui si è ottenuta l'autorizzazione della Soprintendenza non sono sufficienti a comprendere la funzione o la datazione di tali target ma di certo lanciano lo spunto per ulteriori approfondimenti futuri.


sabato 20 settembre 2014

San Claudio Immagini dei lavori relativi alle indagini con telecamera sonda


E’ giunta al termine la prima fase delle ricerca archeologiche nel Piceno che ha l’obiettivo di verificare archeologicamente le tracce lasciate dalla frequentazione dei franco-carolingi e sassoni nel Piceno. La ricerca, fortemente voluta e sostenuta dal Centro Studi San Claudio al Chienti, che ha grazie alle sue ricerche, effettuate lo scorso anno con l’ausilio del georadar, ha consentito il rilascio delle autorizzazioni delle Soprintendenze ai Beni Archeologici ed Architettonici delle Marche. La Soprintendenza ai Beni Archeologici di Ancona ha seguito con interesse i lavori di indagine ed ha confermato il suo supporto al Centro Studi San Claudio al Chienti di Corridonia. Non appena saranno disponibili le relazioni sul materiale estratto nel corso del carotaggio effettuato sarà nostra cura comunicarlo.

Ultimo libro del Prof. Giovanni Carnevale

giovedì 7 agosto 2014


31 luglio 2014

Alberto Morresi
Riccardo Garbuglia
Giorgio Rapanelli
Alvise Manni
Gianni Dichiara
Gianfranco Baleani
Domenico Antognozzi
Stefano Giombetti
Roberto Carradori
Zita Kershbammer
Adriana Stefoni
Piero Giustozzi
Ennio Mancini
Adriana Stefoni
Piero Giustozzi
Ennio Mancini

giovedì 17 luglio 2014

L'Università di Camerino riconosce la tesi del prof. Giovanni Carnevale su Aquisgrana in Val di Chienti

Mercoledì, 16 luglio, si è tenuta nella Sala degli Stemmi del Palazzo Ducale di Camerino, organizzata dall’Università di Camerino, una conferenza dibattito su “I Carolingi nel Piceno”. L’ipotesi della presenza di Carlo Magno in questa zona, dove era la sua capitale Aquisgrana, La Cappella Palatina e l’Urbs, ossia “la nuova Roma”, da lui fondata, e non ad Aachen in Germania, argomento “storico” della conferenza, è stata tratta dai libri del professor Giovanni Carnevale, nei quali descrive - per primo al mondo in senso assoluto - le sue tesi. Queste dovranno essere verificate scientificamente. Ecco, allora, il ruolo fondamentale dell’Università di Camerino, che utilizzerà le sue strutture scientifiche per provare la veridicità delle tesi del professor Carnevale. Gli altri interventi di docenti universitari, relatori al convegno sulla geoarcheologia e alle tecniche diagnostiche chimiche, si indirizzano in tal senso. La domanda che da venti anni ci si pone tra le giustificate polemiche è la seguente: l’attuale Abazia di San Claudio è la storica Cappella Palatina di Carlo Magno? i ruderi della cosiddetta Urbs Salvia, sono di una città romana, come si crede ancora oggi, oppure appartengono alla città fatta costruire da Carlo Magno nei pressi di Aquisgrana? E’ ormai assodato che ad Aachen non c’è la Cappella Palatina, né Aquisgrana, né la nuova città di Carlo Magno. Sono allora qui nel Maceratese? Su questi argomenti i documenti carolingi parlano chiaro. Si tratta oggi di dimostrare concretamente ciò che essi indicano. Intanto,seguendo le ipotesi del professor Carnevale, The International Research Institute for Archaelogy and Ethnology e il suo presidente, l’archeologo Daniele Petrella, sono fortemente interessati a indagini in tal senso. L’IRIAE ha diversi cantieri archeologici aperti nel mondo. Ma la sua notorietà l’ha avuta soprattutto per la scoperta subacquea nel Mar del Giappone dell’intera flotta inviata da Kublai Khan per la conquista del Giappone, che, come è noto venne distrutta da un tifone, ma non si seppe mai dove si fosse inabissata. Adesso lo sappiamo. Giorgio Rapanelli.

giovedì 10 luglio 2014


Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione ____________________________________________________________________________________ Facoltà di Scienze della comunicazione e dello spettacolo Corso di Laurea in Scienze Turistiche La difficile collocazione dei luoghi del mito: l’esempio di Aquisgrana in Val di Chienti. Relatore: Tesi di Laurea di Prof. Roberto Lavarini Chiara Morresi ______________________________________________________________________ Anno Accademico 2003 - 2004 ................................ DAL Capitolo III della tesi di laurea .............................. ..... LE STRUTTURE ARCHITETTONICHE CAROLINGE ................. In Val di Chienti, agli studiosi di storia dell’arte si presentavano grosse difficoltà, nella classificazione cronologica di molti edifici. Non potendo fare alcun riferimento all’epoca carolingia dovettero perciò anticipare al I secolo dopo Cristo gli edifici carolingi della Nuova Roma e posticipare al secolo XI la costruzione molte chiese delle Marche e soprattutto di S.Claudio, cioè della carolingia Cappella di Aquisgrana. Edifici contemporanei venivano separati da un intervallo cronologico di ben mille anni. In S.Claudio c’è già in nuce tutto il futuro romanico. La genialità e l’originale semplicità di questa architettura che, giustapponendo una serie di moduli uguali poteva variare a piacere il volume complessivo dell’edificio, conquistò l’Europa e la prima documentata imitazione di S.Claudio-Aquisgrana fu Germigny des Près presso Orleans.(IX secolo) Germigny des Près La struttura di San Claudio appariva, ad esempio, rispettosa della sezione aurea nel rapporto tra le dimensioni della base e quelle dell'altezza. Lo si può riscontrare dall'annesso grafico dell'edificio. L'utilizzazione edilizia della sezione aurea aveva largamente contrassegnato l'architettura classica, ed era stata codificata nel "De Architectura" di Vitruvio. Dopo le invasioni barbariche, nel generale decadimento culturale che coinvolse anche le tecniche edilizie, il ricorso a un tale principio geometrico scomparve totalmente nel nostro Occidente, anche perché comportava scientifica competenza in fase progettuale e sicure conoscenze delle leggi della statica in fase esecutiva. Furono gli architetti del Rinascimento italiano che, in seguito al sistematico studio e recupero delle tecniche edilizie della classicità, ne reintrodussero l'impiego nelle costruzioni rinascimentali. È storicamente inimmaginabile che nel Piceno dell’ XI, conteso fra Papato e Impero e dilacerato dalle locali contese di forze anarchiche feudali, si fossero create le condizioni culturali perché potesse sorgere quella specie di "cattedrale nel deserto" che è San Claudio-Aquisgrana e che presenterebbe l'incredibile reviviscenza della sezione aurea nell' edilizia del sec. XI. L'annesso grafico dimostra che l'architetto che progettò l'attuale San Claudio era in possesso di qualificata professionalità progettuale, ai fini della realizzazione tecnica ed estetica dell'edificio. Oggi la cupola non c'è più, ma vi sono sicure tracce della sua esistenza. Inoltre la sua struttura è caratterizzata da nove campate quadrangolari coperte da volte a crociera. Questo lo accomuna ad alcune altre chiese dislocate nel contiguo territorio. S. Claudio al Chienti Il gruppo di edifici piceni a nove campate costituisce un unicum che non ha riscontri in altre zone d’ Italia, né in passato sono stati segnalati in Europa edifici gemelli di quelli del Piceno. L’impossibilità di stabilire oggettivi confronti costituiva per gli studiosi, un’ulteriore difficoltà per districarsi nel difficile problema della loro datazione. Oggi che la Cappella di Aachen si è sicuramente rivelata un edificio voluto dal Barbarossa, Germigny assume un’importanza basilare per poter finalmente configurare gli archetipi architettonici della Rinascenza carolingia, almeno per quanto riguarda l’edilizia sacra. Germigny ha in sé una forza probante superiore anche a S.Claudio, che ne è il prototipo, perché della sua origine carolingia non si può dubitare. E’ documentato con assoluta certezza che lo fece costruire all’inizio del secolo IX, Theodulf, un dignitario ecclesiastico della corte di Carlo Magno. Theodulf afferma anche che questa sua cappella , o meglio oratorio privato, era stato costruito “instar eius quae in Aquis est” : era stata costruita sul modello della Cappella Palatina fatta costruire da Carlo Magno in Aquisgrana. Se Aquisgrana fosse davvero Aachen, l’oratorio di Theodulf in Germigny avrebbe dovuto rassomigliare alla Cappella di Aachen; ancora oggi essa è unanimemente e ufficialmente riconosciuta come Cappella Palatina di Carlo Magno; ma il raffronto tra Germigny ed Aachen, portò però alla costatazione che non è possibile stabilire un parallelismo tra i due edifici: non hanno nulla in comune, né nella pianta né nell’alzato. Appare invece nettissima la somiglianza tra Germigny e S.Claudio. al di là delle Alpi non ci sono edifici carolingi che possano essere paragonati con Germigny, che ha invece costruzioni gemelle proprio nel Piceno, quali S.Vittore alle Chiuse, Santa Maria delle Moie, Santa Croce dei Conti e naturalmente San Claudio. S. Marie delle Moie Santa Croce dei Conti Sull’origine carolingia di queste costruzioni picene “gemelle” di Germigny, non si sapeva nulla fin’ora, anche perché nessun storico dell’arte si era accorto che tali edifici erano strutturalmente analoghi a Germigny. Li si assegnava genericamente al secolo XI per via degli elementi “romanici” in essi presenti, vale a dire campate coperte da volte a crociera. Se si prescinde dagli edifici del Piceno, non ci sono in Europa altri edifici sacri accostabili alla carolingia Germigny, né questo deve stupire: l’influsso e l’attività edilizia della corte di Aquisgrana si attuava nel Piceno in modo più determinante che sugli altri territori dell’Impero. Un esempio della difficoltà della datazione è data dallo studio su S. Vittore alle Chiuse, l’unica abbazia che disponga di una documentazione. Per P. Favole, il primo monumento del monastero di S.Vittore risale al 1007, un atto di donazione di terre vicine, pubblicato negli “Annales Camaldulenses”. S. Vittore alle Chiuse Per il Sassi, nel 1011 la chiesa di S.Vittore esisteva già ed è questo un “ante quem” di molto valore come quello che stabilisce un punto fisso nell’incerta disputa intorno all’età della sua costruzione. Non solo, ma non sembra arrischiato affermare che esistesse nella forma attuale; il fatto che nessuna traccia di riedificazione è dato trovare nei documenti posteriori, ma soprattutto la menzione particolare dei tre altari principali corrispondenti alle tre piccole absidi del fondo e di altri altari laterali, l’accenno a reliquie, celle, libri, ornamenti, stanno ad indicare una grandiosità che soltanto ad un simile edificio può convenire. Il Benedettoni infine, sulla base di una pergamena del IX secolo, aveva retrodatato a quell’epoca S.Vittore. Ma queste considerazioni sono ormai superate perché, avendo potuto documentare in Val di Chienti la Nuova Roma, il Palatium, la Nuova Cappella di Aquisgrana, il Campo Maggio, la suddivisione del territorio in Ministeria, Curtes, Villae, in analogia con quanto descritto dal Capitolare de Villis, gli edifici del Piceno “gemelli” di Gernigny, completano il quadro di quanto la Rinascenza carolingia realizzò nel Piceno. Si aggiunga che il toponimo “alle Chiuse” che accompagna “ab antiquo” l’edificio di S.Vittore è ulteriormente conferma dell’origine carolingia della chiesa. Sull’autorità dello storico Perenne, il toponimo “clusa” è carolingio e indicava uno sbarramento doganale per il transito delle merci, costituendo così un cespite di entrate per la corte di Aquisgrana. Particolarmente interessante è ciò che è emerso dallo studio degli scritti di Eginardo, biografo di Carlo Magno; egli narra che il sovrano coralingio aveva stretto rapporti d'amicizia col califfo di Baghdad, l'abbasside Harun Al Raschid. Gli abbassidi avevano eliminato da Damasco i precedenti califfi ommayadi, ed Arun Al Raschid erano ora impegnati a far sorgere sulle rive del Tigri la nuova, splendida capitale di Baghdad. Dovevano trascorrere molti secoli prima di verificare in maniera indiscutibile la veridicità del racconto di Eginardo, infatti pochi anni dopo la fine della seconda guerra mondiale, a Khirbet Al Mafjar, un'oasi nei pressi di Gerico, in Palestina, una missione d'archeologi inglesi aveva dissepolto dalle sabbie del deserto un complesso edilizio risalente all'epoca dei califfi ommayadi: si trattava di uno dei "palazzi del deserto" che i califfi Ommayadi avevano fatto costruire, prima che gli Abbassidi li privassero del potere, obbligandoli a riparare nella Spagna islamizzata. Faceva parte del Palazzo anche un complesso termale, la cui parte centrale presentava gli stessi moduli architettonici di San Claudio: nove campate di base e coperture a crociera. Coll'appoggio del califfo di Baghdad l'abbasside Harun Al Raschid, Carlo Magno poteva facilmente reclutare in Medio Oriente, come riferisce il suo biografo Notker, maestranze da utilizzarle nella costruzione della sua Cappella Palatina ad Aquas Grani, cioè ad Aquisgrana. Le indagini sulla Cappella di Aachen, la chiesa di San Claudio e l'oratorio di Germigny des Prés potevano così giovarsi dello studio su un quarto edificio come elemento di comparazione fondamentale per le cronologie e la classificazione architettonica, il complesso termale ommayade di Khirbet Al Mafjar, fatto costruire dalla dinastia ommayade verso la metà del sec.VIII. Frigidarium di Khirbet Al Mafjar L'edificio di Khirbet Al Mafjar è essenziale punto di riferimento per datare gli enigmatici edifici piceni, tra cui San Claudio. Tale edificio fu costruito nell'Oriente islamico a metà del sec. VIII e presenta sorprendenti analogie strutturali sia con Germigny des Prés, sia con con gli altri enigmatici edifici piceni similari a Germigny, con pianta a nove campate e coperture a crociera. Poiché Notker dice che Carlo Magno fece affluire maestranze edili dall'Oriente in Europa, l'edificio ommayade nei pressi di Gerico si pone dunque come prototipo, sia per la carolingia Germigny, sia per i similari edifici piceni di enigmatica datazione. Ai fini delle indagini, si è creata quindi la situazione seguente: - L'oratorio di Germigny des Près era storicamente databile come carolingio, perché certamente costruito da Theodulf all'inizio del sec. IX, sul modello della Cappella Palatina in Aquisgrana. I suoi costruttori appartenevano dunque, con tutta probabilità, alle stesse maestranze che Carlo Magno aveva reclutato in Oriente alla fine del sec. VIII, per la sua Cappella di Aquisgrana. - La storiografia ufficiale additava in Aachen la Cappella palatina d'Aquisgrana, ma ciò era in contrasto con almeno due notizie fornite dalle fonti: doveva essere simile all'edificio di Germigny des Prés, il che non è assolutamente vero; doveva essere stata costruita da maestranze di orientali, ma il suo architetto è un occidentale e se ne conosce con precisione il nome: Odo di Metz perciò si avvalora la tesi che l’odierna S. Claudio è Aquisgrana. In una vasta area delle Marche sorgono chiese costruite sul modello di S. Claudio e databili al IX secolo. ..................................

venerdì 6 giugno 2014

Note sulla riunione del Centro Studi del 5 maggio

Nella riunione del Centro Studi di giovedì 5 giugno 2014 il presidente Alberto Morresi ha illustrato la visita del corrispondente della Bbc Marco Merola ad Aquisgrana e alle località carolingie del maceratese. Come è noto la visita del Merola e dell’archeologo Daniele Petrella dell’IRIAE è stata sostenuta finanziariamente dalla Regione Marche. Il nostro Centro Studi ha dato un supporto logistico, facendo visitare al corrispondente della Bbc alcune chiese dalla inconfondibile architettura carolingia. Pur non significando che sia stato Carlo Magno a costruirle, esse, insieme alla notevole quantità di ruderi della Nuova Roma di Urbisaglia, dimostrano che abbiamo le prove “vive” a suffragio della ipotesi che Aquisgrana fosse e non ad Aachen. L’archeologo Petrella è sempre più convinto che il professore Carnevale, Elisabeth de Moreau d’Andoy , il professore Enzo Mancini ed altri autori, abbiano ragione. Durante la visita ad Urbisaglia ha dimostrato molto interesse alla vasta estensione archeologica. Il fatto che il corrispondente della Bbc avvalorerà l’ipotesi che la Val di Chienti fosse effettivamente l’Aquisgrana di Carlo Magno è una ulteriore dimostrazione che la “rivoluzione storica” iniziata dal professore Carnevale continua. Adesso attendiamo che ci siano i permessi per trovare ulteriori testimonianze sotto il pavimento dell’Abazia di San Claudio, ossia della Cappella Palatina di Carlo Magno. Nella riunione del 5 giugno si sono presi impegni di creare una archivio ove salvare testimonianze, foto, articoli di stampa sulle scoperte archeologiche dell’epoca di Carlo Magno, dato che già esistono, e in abbondanza, le testimonianze dell’epoca romana e medievale.

giovedì 29 maggio 2014

Commenti del noto giornalista Mario Merola che, nel 1200° della morte di Carlo Magno , per la BBC History, ha intervistato il prof Giovanni Carnevale.

Nel 1200° della morte di Carlo Magno BBC History invia il noto giornalista Marco Merola per una intervista al prof Giovanni Carnevale

Civitanova: il noto giornalista Marco Merola ricevuto in Comune L'assessore all'Ambiente Cristiana Cecchetti ha ricevuto mercoledì 28 maggio, in Comune, il giornalista Marco Merola, scrittore per diverse testate nazionali quali Venerdì de “La Repubblica”, Sette del Corriere della Sera, BBC History. A completare l'evento vi erano anche Alberto Morresi, presidente Centro studi di San Claudio; Daniele Petrella, presidente Istituto internazionale di ricerca archeologica ed etnologica; Anna Maria Vecchiarelli e Alvise Manni dell'Archeoclub. Accompagnato da un fotografo e archeologo, il giornalista è in visita alla nostra Regione per realizzare un servizio per la BBC riguardo a Carlo Magno nelle Marche. Il suo intento è raccontare la storia di questo famosissimo personaggio nell’anno del suo 1200° anniversario, sottolineando il suo legame con il territorio marchigiano. Oggi sono ospiti del ristorante Miramare, prima di partire alla scoperta di San Claudio al Chienti e dintorni, San Vittore alle Chiuse, San Ginesio, Rambona e Urbisaglia. “Gli studi su Carlo Magno nelle Marche – ha detto Cecchetti – destano grande attenzione. Anche la storia può fare da volano all'economia e al turismo, ed in questo senso è importantissimo il vostro lavoro per far conoscere le bellezze e la cultura del nostro territorio, ancora poco noto”.

mercoledì 16 aprile 2014

Dalla rivista KORAZYM - Marche: nell’Abbazia di San Claudio la tomba di Carlo Magno. Simone Baroncia

Link: 12 aprile 2014 ____  Cultura _____ di Simone Baroncia ____________________ “A poca distanza da qui, in luogo ancora non identificato, 1200 anni fa moriva Carlo Magno. Subito ne lavarono il corpo e lo mummificarono. Poi lo rivestirono da imperatore con una corona d’oro sulla fronte e venne un corteo che su di un trono lo portò fino alla Cappella Palatina dove lo seppellirono. I muratori intanto avevano lavorato in tutta fretta per realizzare il casotto dove fu fatto entrare il trono con il corpo dell’imperatore”: in questo modo, a 1200 anni dalla morte di Carlo Magno avvenuta secondo le fonti il 28 gennaio dell’814, lo storico salesiano don Giovanni Carnevale ha ricostruito ciò che sarebbe successo nei dintorni di San Claudio dodici secoli fa, ritenendo, insieme all’ingegner Alberto Morresi, che la bellissima abbazia di San Claudio, in provincia di Macerata (Marche), sarebbe la vera Cappella Palatina di Aquisgrana, ipotesi che dal luglio scorso sarebbe suffragata dal rinvenimento, grazie al georadar, del punto preciso dove si trova una mummia che sarebbe quella di Ottone III. I due studiosi hanno concentrato la loro attenzione sull’arcata centrale d’ingresso dell’abbazia dove ipotizzano possa essere stato tumulato Carlo Magno. Le rilevazioni hanno evidenziato un’area dalle dimensioni di un tuguriolum, proprio come nel Chronicom Novaliciense dal conte di Palazzo Ottone di Lomello (presente alla riapertura della tomba voluta da Ottone III). Questi appunto raccontò che Carlo Magno era seduto in trono con una corona d’oro in testa e dal riflesso più bianco delle analisi si nota come il parallelepipedo sia sviluppato in altezza con una base distante circa mezzo metro dal fondo, appunto come se qualcuno vi sia seduto. L’ipotesi si è tradotta in un volume, scritto dai due studiosi, intitolato ‘Il ritrovamento della tomba e del corpo di Carlo Magno a San Claudio’, nel quale don Carnevale precisa: ”Io stesso, da insegnante di storia, ho sempre riportato la storia nella sua versione ufficiale, ma sono troppe le contraddizioni. Anzitutto qui nella nostra zona abbiamo varie chiese quadrate simili a quella d’Orleans che è documentata come carolingia. Sostenere ancora Aachen come Aquisgrana Carolingia è solo un comprensibile atteggiamento nazionalistico tedesco e non una realtà sostenuta da prove archeologiche o storiche. Ci hanno assicurato il loro patrocinio l’Università Pontificia Lateranense di Roma e il Comitato di Scienze Storiche della Santa Sede. E’ importante che si capisca che la nostra tesi è quella giusta perché la ricerca di fonti combacia con le rilevazioni”. In un colloquio avuto a Macerata lo studioso salesiano mi ha spiegato il legame tra Carlo Magno e la valle del Chienti: “Il legame nasce dal 715, quando arrivano i franchi profughi dall’Aquitania, perché era assediata dai saraceni. Essi, in base ad un accordo tra l’abate di Farfa, Tommaso di Morienna, e il duca di Spoleto Faroaldo, furono dislocati in Sabina, lungo la Salaria, e nel Piceno, lungo il diverticolo che dalla Salaria percorreva per tutta la lunghezza il Piceno con il nome di Salaria Gallica. Quest’area fu denominata ‘Francia’, quando ancora quella comunemente conosciuta con quel nome era ancora chiamata Gallia”. Poi mi ha spiegato che la Cappella Palatina di Carlo Magno ha le caratteristiche della chiesa di San Claudio al Chienti: “Il DNA architettonico di San Claudio è identico a quello di San Vittore alle Chiuse nel Piceno, a Germigny des Prés nei pressi di Orleans e alla struttura del Frigidario omaiade di Khirbat al Mafjar, presso Gerico. Tutti questi edifici hanno in comune una pianta di base quadrata, suddivisa in nove campate. La campata centrale è sormontata da una cupola. Le otto periferiche restanti hanno per copertura una terrazza sorretta da otto crociere sottostanti. Gli edifici dell’oriente e di Germigny sono perfettamente databili: quello della Palestina fu eretto da un califfo omaiade di Damasco e quello di Germigny da Theodulf, un dignitario ecclesiastico della corte di Carlo Magno. Per i due del Piceno non c’è documentazione. La chiesa di Germigny fu costruita ‘instar eius quae in Aquis est’, cioè simile alla Cappella Palatina di Aquisgrana, ma non rassomiglia affatto alla Cappella Palatina di Aachen: non è quadrata ma ottagonale, non ha crociere a sostegno di una terrazza di copertura ma una cupola copre tutto il vano sottostante. Germigny rassomiglia invece in tutto agli edifici piceni e San Claudio ha in più un matroneo per le matrone della corte. Altri matronei esistevano solo a Costantinopoli e a Ravenna. La conclusione che San Claudio è la Cappella Palatina di Carlo Magno si pone con tutta evidenza”. E a prova di questa ricerca mi ha ribadito che anche Pipino il Breve, padre di Carlo Magno, è sepolto nella Collegiata di San Ginesio, documentato in un’apposita pubblicazione edita nel 2010 dal titolo ‘Il rinvenimento delle sepolture di Pipino il Breve e di sua moglie Berta nell’attuale Collegiata di San Ginesio’: “Precisiamo che nelle fonti carolingie e sassoni il termine Aquis Grani non fa mai riferimento ad un agglomerato urbano ma ad un territorio irriguo. Ancor oggi per i francesi Aquisgrana è Aix la Chapelle, cioè le acque termali presso cui sorgeva la Cappella palatina. Le guerre condotte dai suoi predecessori e da lui stesso avevano concentrato nelle sue mani un bottino di guerra costituito da una grande massa d’oro. Egli impiegò parte di quest’oro per ridare all’occidente una nuova capitale”. Inoltre l’identificazione d’Aquisgrana in Val di Chienti permette di localizzare nel Piceno anche la ‘Nuova Roma’ costruita da Carlo Magno, come riferiscono le fonti dell’epoca: “Ad Aachen il solo edificio che sia ritenuto carolingio è la cosiddetta Cappella Palatina, Duomo dal 1931, ma abbiamo già detto che l’edificio risale al Barbarossa. Invece, ciò che le fonti dicono sulla ‘Nuova Roma’ carolingia trova riscontro nell’ambiente geografico e nei vistosi resti urbani antichi della Val di Chienti. Troviamo le rovine d’una città antica con le caratteristiche della ‘Nuova Roma’ descritta da Angilberto: un’arx sulla sommità del colle, un teatro, terme, balnea o piscine, un anfiteatro, resti d’altri edifici. Le rovine coprono un’ampia zona e mostrano caratteri propri dello stile bizantino–orientale. La cultura ufficiale, fuorviata da Aachen, le ritiene rovine dell’antica città romana di Urbs Salvia e le fa risalire al sec. I dell’era cristiana, benché la popolazione locale mantenga vivo il tradizionale, antico nome di Roma… Oggi le imponenti rovine della Nuova Roma carolingia coprono nelle Marche la più estesa zona archeologica pervenuta dall’antichità. Abbiamo sicuri indizi che ancora dopo il Mille le rovine della città erano praticamente ancora in piedi: a partire dal 1140 i Cistercensi vi attinsero i materiali per costruire la loro abbazia ‘ad Aquas Salvias’, oggi abbazia di Fiastra”.