No sooner have we entered the Basilica than our attention is captured by the colours and the stories depicted by the frescoes. The magnetism of these portrayals has lasted since the C13th.
At that time the people of the countryside were mostly illiterate, but they knew the stories told in the Scriptures and the lives of the saints, and therefore knew how to interpret the message conveyed in each of the scenes portrayed.
In the central nave, on the wall to the right, remain fragments of the stories of Christ, while on the wall to the left there are four scenes that represent the death of Mary and her Assumption into heaven.
On four central pillars are painted the four Evangelists, together with their names.
Under the penultimate arch on the right there is a striking image of the Madonna and Child in the act of blessing in the manner of a typically Byzantine iconography.
Two other pictures are particularly eloquent: Santa Caterina d’Alessandria on the first pillar on the left, which is superimposed upon the frescoes of the C10th, indicated by the bust of a saint whose hand is glimpsed higher up, to the left of Santa Caterina’s. The other noteworthy picture is the great San Cristoforo portrayed on the first pillar in the right-hand nave. The saint carries on his left shoulder the Child with the globe, and in his right hand holds the palm of the martyr. In the panel below there is a prayer in Latin to protect those who invoke the saint. San Cristoforo was, in fact, the protector of pilgrims who were particularly numerous here, as is testified by the many graffiti in Latin and in Glagolitic, the oldest Slavic alphabet, which appear on the frescoes. Similar incisions have also been noted in the church of Santa Maria della Salvia in Prosecco.