“Alpine Road of Romanesque Art - Stairway to Heaven" is a transnational project (South Tyrol and the Canton of Grisons) that focuses on cultural-historical Romanesque sites such as forts, castles, churches, chapels, picturesque villages and medieval towns in different cultural and natural landscapes. The Alpine Road of Romanesque Art focuses on both small and unknown, as well as large well-known cultural sites such as Tyrol castle, Convent of St. John in Müstair and the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Maria/Marienberg. Currently, the network, consisting of 25 partner sites, unites Romanesque culture and art with their symbols and characteristic building elements.
The arch is generally symbolic of Romanesque art. Ancient Roman architecture already used and perfected this form: the wedge-shaped stones are placed radially against each other, the keystone at the apex of the arch stabilises the form, the weight of the stones and the loads above them are directed downwards over the semicircle, so that the arch can withstand high loads.
The Romanesque style is based on an antique model. The semicircle and square resulting from the pillars or columns supporting the arch become the ideal measure for the Romanesque period. These two geometric forms determine the layout and elevation of buildings: the crossing square, the width and height of naves, the division of storeys, the height of columns, pilasters or pillars and last but not least the shape of the vault.
It is no coincidence that the arch symbolises the “Alpine Road of Romanesque Art - Stairway to Heaven." It is a symbol of the Romanesque, forms a connection between the province’s Romanesque cultural sites, stands for the building of bridges, and acts as a unifying common denominator. Where Romanesque sites (towns, forts, churches, chapels and monasteries) were built along important trade and pilgrimage routes that led across the Alps, cultural centres developed. Their architecture and paintings still hold an almost uniquely preserved treasure of Romanesque art.