A visit to Basilique in Second Life

Basilique, July 2019

Basilique is perhaps one of the more well-known public regions in Second Life. It has been popular among SL photographers, as well as once being the home of the Basilique Performing Arts Company.

In more recent times, ownership of the region has passed to Niccoli Sweetwater, who has taken it on with the aim of maintaining and extending the region’s arts ties, as she stated to me recently, “My goal is to restore Basilique and share it with the SL arts and live music community. This place is truly a labour of love.”

Basilique, July 2019

As a part of this, Niccoli has not dramatically changed the ground-level design of the region, which still retains its town-like feel and presents a welcome feeling of the familiar. Those who have visited the region whilst under its prior ownership will recognise the long form of the Basilica, modelled after the San Pietro Martire, in Murano, Italy.

Once a centre of productions by the Basilique Performing Arts Company, the Basilica has been restored to its role as a church, its triple nave dominated by two huge frescos. The pews and candles here are interactive, and the church is now offered for weddings and ceremonies.

Basilique, July 2019

Other familiar locations remain as well: the domed basilica, now the Galleria di Basilique, a ground-level art gallery; the pier and the appropriately-named Bar Moderna sitting in its corner terrace with fish still “flying”. But what now draws them together is a history and tour guide that has been written for the region by Niccoli. This both places the setting as an island community located on Lake Garda and traces the town’s story from 1292 as a fortified defensive location, through more recent times.

A group of deserting French knights founded Basilique in 1292, when they fled seeking refuge from the Mamelukes after the fall of Acre. The knights chose the island for its defensive position and established a stronghold, soon intermarrying with the local population. Over time the legions increased fortifications, but a fire destroyed the original structure in 1457 at which time the remaining inhabitants constructed the foundations for the modern town around the only remaining edifice – the stone tower that was at the centre of the old fort.

– From the “History of Basilique

Basilique, July 2019

The guide also points out the smaller locations in the region, including the Member’s Club, host to wine tastings, and incorporated within the old bathhouse alongside the island’s gardens, the pier with is rezzable rowing boats and the Taverna Fico Bar.

A new addition to the region is the Palazzo  di Basilique, a gallery space located in grounds of its own up in the sky. It is intended to offer “an elegant venue with a huge dance floor and dinner tables for a romantic night out listening to some of SL’s most talented artists.” Outside of this is a terrace café and gardens  to be enjoyed.

Basilique, July 2019

Still a photogenic region with much to offer, Basilique remains an engaging destination for visitors old and new. Just do please note that the house on the island to the north-east is a private residence that is not open to visitors.

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