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  4. Basilica de San Vicente

Basilica de San Vicente, Avila

Photo © Zahorí. View all images in our Basilica de San Vicente Photo Gallery.
Photo © J. Gállego.
Photo © Hannah Swithinbank.
Photo © Jorge González.
Photo © Jorge González.
Photo © Jorge González.
Photo © Andrea Kirkby.
Photo © Andrea Kirkby.
Photo © Andrea Kirkby.

The Basilica de San Vicente (St. Vincent's Basilica) is an interesting Romanesque church just outside the walls of Ávila.


The Basilica de San Vicente stands on the traditional site of the martyrdom of St. Vincent at the hands of the Romans.

According to legend, a rich Jew laughed at the saint's execution, but afterwards he was nearly suffocated by a serpent that emerged miraculously from the rocks. He repented, converted, and built a church on the site.

The Basilica de San Vicente that stands today dates from the 12th century and is mostly Romanesque in style.

What to See

The 12th-century portals and portico of the Basilica de San Vicente are fine examples of Romanesque architecture. The interior is also Romanesque but with some later additions.

The basilica has three very high naves and three apses. The large nave has a triforium covered by a dome with Gothic fan-vaulting; the apses have pipe and bowl domes. The domes are supported by large cruciform pillars on cylindrical plinths.

The capitals are finely decorated with plant motifs as well as animals from griffins, lions, elephants, snakes, birds, wolves, and storks to fantastic creatures, centaurs, mermaids or human figures.

The tomb of San Vicente is sculpted with the gory events of the saint's torture and execution and in the crypt there is a rock said to be the site of the martyrdom and where the serpent appeared.

Quick Facts on Basilica de San Vicente

Site Information
Names:Basilica de San Vicente; Basilica de San Vicente, Avila; Basilica of St. Vincent
State:Castile and Leon
Faiths:Christianity; Catholic
Feat:Romanesque Sculpture
Dates:12th-14th C
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Avila, Spain
Coordinates:40.657942° N, 4.695947° W  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Basilica de San Vicente

Below is a location map and aerial view of Basilica de San Vicente. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.


  1. The Rough Guide to Spain 11, p. 179.
  2. The Romanesque - Avila Tourism
  3. St. Vincent - Catholic Encyclopedia

More Information

Article Info

Title:Basilica de San Vicente, Avila
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:07/19/2009
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/avila-basilica-san-vicente">Basilica de San Vicente, Avila</a>