In the 12th century, wooden doors, iconostasis screens, altars, thrones, and chests were carved and painted in Lazio, Campania, and the Abruzzi, following a tradition that had probably first developed in the previous century at Montecassino under Desiderius. Indeed, in his Chronicle, Leo Marsicano proudly describes the various different materials and techniques which Desiderius used and where, in addition to marble and precious metals, wood seems to have played an important role. The iconostasis, for example, consisted of a wooden beam that was splendidly carved and decorated with silver, gold, and purple but which did not survive the earthquake of 1349. A scaled-down version of this survives in the church of Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta, which had belonged to Montecassino since 1064.
It is similarly of interest to note the wooden doors at the Greek abbey at Grottaferrata, at Santa Maria in Cellis and San Pietro in Albe, all of which show evidence of an awareness of Muslim forms and of work from the opposite side of the Adriatic Sea in the first half of the 12th century. Analysis of these works, especially in the light of recent discoveries, illuminates the close relationship that existed between the Abruzzi, Campania, and Apulia in this period.
In a similar vein, work that can be associated with the workshop of Ruggero, Roberto, and Nicodemo will be considered. This workshop was responsible for stucco ciboria and pulpits (at San Clemente al Vomano, Santa Maria in Valle Porcaneta, and Santa Maria del Lago a Moscufo) decorated with elaborate scrolls and imaginative ornamental motifs that reveal long-range influences.