The Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral in Spoleto is one of the main tourist attractions of the city. Highlights are the facade with the five arches and the mosaics and the works of art by Filippo Lippi, Annibale Caracci, Pinturicchio and Giuseppe Valadier decorating the interior. Continue reading “Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral Spoleto”
The San Pietro Extra Moenia Church was originally built in the 5th century and is located outside the Spoleto city walls. The biggest attraction of this church is the magnificent facade, decorated with dozens of reliefs and cosmatesque designs. Continue reading “San Pietro Extra Moenia Church Spoleto”
The San Gregorio Maggiore Church is located in the Piazza Garibaldi in Spoleto. The biggest attractions of this church are the crypt and the medieval frescoes in the presbytery.
San Gregorio Maggiore Church Spoleto
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Chiesa di San Gregorio Maggiore: Piazza Garibaldi – 06049 Spoleto (tel. +39 074344140). Opening hours: From 08.00 till 12.00 and from 15.30 till 18.00 . Admission: Free.
Before the San Gregorio Maggiore Church was built in 1079, another church, dedicated to the same saint, occupied the same spot, which was near a Christian burial space. The dedication of the present church took place in 1146.
In the course of the centuries the church underwent several reconstructions and renovations. In the 14th century the 12th century façade of the church was made higher, following the example of the city’s cathedral. The portico was added in the 16th century.
The facade was restored in 1907 and after World War II the interior was also redone.
The interior consists of three naves. The, slightly raised, presbytery is above the crypt.
The crypt itself also consists of three naves, separated by reused medieval and Roman capitals.
The 12th century bell tower stands to the right of the facade. It is built with reused materials from ancient Roman ruins. Toward the end of the 15th century it was raised.
The three arches on the upper part of the facade were added in the 14th century.
The portal was added in 1597.
The chapel to the left part of portico is called Cappella degli Innocenti. It was built in the 14th century. The frescoes decorating it are probably painted by Angelucci di Mevale and depict “events from the life of Santa Abbondanza”, such as “Santa Abbondanza having the church built in order to bury the martyrs” and “Martyrdom of Saints thrown from the Ponte Sanguinario”. In one scene you can see 14th century Spoleto, with all its monuments, in the background.
Saint Abbondanza herself financed construction of the church and is buried there probably in the sarcophagus in the left apse of the crypt.
A plaque near the entrance claims that 10,000 martyrs, having been moved from the Christian burial place, are buried in the church.
The architrave is decorated with a cross between two lions and plant and peacock-motives.
The 20th century restoration caused the removal of several baroque decorations, which brought the original frescoes back to light. The oldest ones were painted in the 12th century and can be seen on the interior wall of the facade and in the central apse.
Several of the other walls and columns inside the church show 12th to 14th century frescoes.
The columns in the presbytery were taken from Roman ruins.
The “Madonna with Child and Angels with Eve” in the presbytery was painted by Maestro della Dormitio, a 14th-15th century artist from Terni.
The cloister was constructed in the 16th century and is surrounded by two levels of arches supported by octagonal pillars.
Near the San Gregorio Maggiore Kerk
- The Monument for Giuseppe Garibaldi can be seen on the square in front of the church.
San Gregorio Maggiore Church – Piazza Garibaldi, Spoleto
The San Filippo Neri Church in Spoleto was built in the 17th century by the local architect Loreto Scelli. Highlights are the marble bust of San Filippo Neri and the paintings by Sebastiano Conca and his school.
San Filippo Neri Church Spoleto
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza Mentana – Spoleto. Tel: +39 0743 44140. Opening hours: Unknown. Admission: Free.
The Church of San Filippo Neri is dedicated to the Florentine saint, who died in 1595 and was canonized in 1622. Construction of the church started in 1640 and ended in 1671, with the completion of the impressive dome. The nave was already completed in 1653.
Construction of the church was financed by two Spoleto-born men, called Ugo Alberici and Loreto Vittori, both living in Rome at the time. The architect, Loreto Scelli, was also from Spoleto.
The adjacent Filippini convent was built in 1674. In 1860, when religious orders were forbidden after the Unification of Italy, the convent became a school. Three years later it was turned into a judicial court, a function it still holds.
In 2014, after a long restoration, the church reopened.
A short set of steps leads to the entrance of the church. The interior consists of three naves, separated by pillars. The dome is above the part where the cental nave and the transept cross each other.
Gaetano Lapis painted the “Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple” and the “Crucifixion”. Lapis (1706-1773) was a late baroque painter who born in Cagli, but moved to Rome where he worked in Sebastiano Conca‘s studio.
Conca himself painted the “Holy Family”.
The local artist Francesco Refini was responsible for the “San Francesco di Sales Tramples Heresy” in the left transept.
Lazzaro Baldi painted the “Descent of the Holy Ghost”. Baldi (1624-1703) was another baroque painter who spent most of his life in Rome. Tere he workled first for Pietro da Cortona before perfecting his art in the Accademia di San Luca.
The high altar was made in the 19th century.
Alessandro Agardi sculpted the marble bust of San Filippo Neri in the presbytery (1650).
Most of these works of art were moved to the Museo Diocesano for the restoration and are still there at the moment.
San Filippo Neri Church – Piazza Mentana, Spoleto
The castle towering above Spoleto is called Rocca Albernoz and is one of the main tourist attractions of the city. It was constructed in the 14th century and is the present seat of the Museo Nazionale del Ducato di Spoleto.
Rocca Albernoz Spoleto
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Rocca Albernoziana – Piazza Campello, Spoleto (tel. +39 0743224952 of 3405510813). Opening hours: Tuesday till sunday from 09.30 till 18.30. Closed: Mondays. Admission (castle + museum): 7,50 Euros. 65+ and ages 15 to 25: 6,50 Euros. Children ages 7 to 14: 3,50 Euros. Free for children younger than 6.
The 14th century Rocca Albernoz is located on the Colle Sant’Elia, just outside of the center of the city. Construction started in 1359 and finished in 1370. Pope Innocent VI, awaiting his return from Avignon, in those days had severla castles built in the area.
The fortress is named for the Spanish cardinal Egidio Albernoz, who was in charge of the actual construction. The architect was Matteo di Giovannello da Gubbio (aka il Gattapone). The same architect was also commissioned by Albernoz to built the castles of Narni and Urbino.
The site for the castle was chosen because of its strategic location close to the Via Flaminia.
From 1817 to 1982, the Rocca Albernoz was used as a prison. Unfortunately a great deal of the frescoes and other decorations were damaged or destroyed during this period.
After restoration works 15 of the castle’s rooms are occupied by the Museo Nazionale del Ducato di Spoleto.
The Rocca Albernoziana is square and has two courtyards, the Cortile delle Armi and the Cortile d’Onore.
The Cortile d’Onore is lined by a double loggia, the arches of which are decorated with the coats of arms of the most important regents during the middle ages. The center of the courtyard is taken up by an octagonal well.
Several of the regents actually lived in the rooms around the courtyard. The most famous one was Lucrezia Borgia, who was supposed to have had a corridor built from the fortress to the Ponte Sanguinario. That way her lovers could visit her in secret.
The two courtyards are separated by a pointed arch. The frescoes decorating this arch depict the six cities forming the Papal State.
The Salone d’Onore is the biggest room in the castle. It was here that banquets were held.
The most important one of the six enormous towers is the one on the city side of the fortress. This tower is sometimes called Torre della Spiritata. The Camera Pinta in this tower is decorated with 14th and 15th century frescoes depicting the lives of the knights.
Parco and Giro della Rocca
The Parco della Rocca is free to visit. There is a pedestrian entrance near the Piazza Campello, but it is also possible to take an escalator at the end of the short gallery along the Giro della Rocca.
The Giro della Rocca is the walking path all the way around the fortress. The short (1 kilometer) path offers beautiful views over Spoleto and the famous Ponte delle Torri.
Rocca Albernoziana – Piazza Campello, Spoleto
The Roman Theatre is one of the better preserved ancient monuments in Spoleto. It was only excavated in the second half of the 20th century. Nowadays it is used for a veriety of cultural events.
Roman Theatre Spoleto
Address, opening times and admission
Address: Teatro Romano – Via di Sant’Agata 18\A – Spoleto (tel. +39 0743223277). Opening times: 08.30 till 19.30 uur. Closed: 1 January, 1 May, 25 December. Admission: 4 Euros; 18-25 years of age: 2 Euros; younger than 18: Free. Spoleto Card: Valid.
History and description
The Roman Theatre was constructed in the 1st century BC. Although Giuseppe Sordini in 1891 had already pointed out the presence of the theatre, the excavations only started in 1960. Sordini had deduced the presence of the monument from an old 6th century drawing, which placed the theatre near the present Sant’Agata Convent.
The Teatro Romano is now part of the complex of the National Archaeological Museum.
The entrance is in the Via Sant’Agata, but to get an idea of the monument’s structure it is best to view it from the west side of the Piazza della Libertà.
Teatro Romano – Via Sant’Agata, Spoleto
The Ponte Sanguinario in Spoleto is a bridge with a history. The name, “Bloody Bridge”, derives from the past, when the decapitated martyrs’ heads were thrown from the bridge into the river.
Ponte Sanguinario Spoleto
Address and opening hours
You can reach the Ponte Sanguinaria from the Piazza della Vittoria by walking through the Porta Leonina, along an iron railing on the east side of this square. After crossing a gate you need to go down a short set of stairs.
History and description
The Ponte Sanguinaria was built in the 1st century AD. It is made of huge square blocks of travertine marble and consists of three arches. It has a length of 24 meters and is 4,47 meters wide.
The reason the bridge was built was to facilitate travelling north along the Via Flaminia.
When the river Tessino changed its course and moved north the Ponte Sanguinaria gradually came to be covered with earth. Though found back in 1817, it is still partially covered.
According to legend, the patron saint of Spoleto, San Ponziano, is supposed to have been beheaded at the bridge. When his head was thrown down it bounced three times. At the spot where it came to rest a well appeared. It goes without saying that the inhabitants ended up building the San Ponziano Church in that exact spot.
Another legend mentions a long corridor from the bridge to the Rocca Albernoziana. It is through this corridor that Lucrezia Borgia‘s lovers are supposed to have visited her while she was in Spoleto.