The San Sabino Church in Spoleto was built in the 12th century. It is dedicated to a bishop who died a martyr’s death in the year 303. It is connected to a legend concerning Saint Francis and a message from the Lord.
San Sabino Church Spoleto
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Chiesa di San Sabino is loc. San Sabino, 06049 Spoleto (tel. +39 0743261177). Opening times: Unkown. Admission: Free.
According to legend Sabino was persecuted for being a Christian. His hands were cut off and he was imprisoned. In prison he managed to give a blind man his sight back, after which he was bludgeoned to death.
In 954 the then Duke of Spoleto, Corrado, had the martyr’s remains brought to Ivrea. The duke’s father lived in that city and the duke had fled there in order to escape an epidemic of the plague. (According to an alternative hypothesis, Sabino‘s remains are still in Agliano Terme, where they were taken toward the middle of the 17th century by order of Pope Innocent X.)
Before the church was constructed, there used to be a cemetery in this spot. From the 6th century onward ever grander churches were built. The present church is the result of a 12th century reconstruction.
In the 18th century an earthquake caused damage and a restoration was deemed necessary.
The facade and the portal are only sparsely decorated. The interior consists of three naves and five bays. The presbytery is higher than the rest of the church. The crypt has four naves and is similar to the ones of the San Ponziano and San Gregorio Maggiore Churches.
The apse frescoes depict the “Angel, the “Madonna with Child and Sant’Anna” and “Madonna and Child”.
In 1205 Saint Francis visited Spoleto and stayed in a building belonging to the Santa Sabina Church. He was on his way to Puglia to help Pope Innocent III in his fight against the rebellious Diopoldo da Acerra. In a dream the Lord came to him and asked him:”Who is more useful, the boss or the servant?”. “The boss”, Francis replied. To which the Lord answered: “So why are you following the servant?”, and Francis returned to Assisi.