23 April, 2019
Italiano
Home / Posts Tagged "church"

“The town looks solemn and powerful, with its doors, the main road and the church of San Francesco” (M. Tabarrini)

Monteleone di Spoleto, photo by Claudia Ioan

 

Set on a hill along the Corno river valley, Monteleone di Spoleto is among the most fascinating and characteristic villages of Valnerina. Over the centuries, thanks to its position, it gained the appellation of Lions of the Appennines. Its territory is part of one the most typical and uncontaminated environment of the central Apennines.
The city is like a small casket which has been keeping precious objects of history, art and architecture for centuries: in fact, Monteleone boasts very ancient origins, as evidenced by the numerous tombs found in the surroundings. About the ancient wars and battled fighted in the area, numerous testimonies remain. Among them, the famous chariot of the sixth century BC stands. It was found here in the early twentieth century. Inside the local Church of San Francesco is preserved a splendid copy, while the original one is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The town, since ancient times, appears solemn to the visitor in all its majesty; witness of its ancient vestiges, Monteleone shows off all the pride of its history to the traveler. The city, in fact, isolated among the bleak mountains of the Apennines, is rich in symbols and meanings. Such as the repetition of certain numbers: three are the city walls and, each of them, is provided with three doors, moreover, there are six towers and eight ramparts in the city. The castle, surrounded by solid walls, watchtowers and gates, preserves the typical medieval and renaissance appearence, with its houses, churches and noble buildings that overlook alleys and squares. Characteristic element of the whole country is the local white and red rock, which makes the architecture unique, able to recall the magical two-color of the ancient orders of chivalry. The territory has four residential areas (Ruscio, Rescia, Trivio and Butino), whose main activities were agriculture and sheep – farming. But the area was known due to the industrial activities too; such as the Ruscio lignite mines and the iron mines. From these mines according to the tradition, was exctracted the raw materials for the Pantheon gates in Rome.

 

The spelled, photo by Claudia Ioan

Excellence in Monteleone di Spoleto

To make Monteleone di Spoleto an even more wonderful town is the amber color that distinguishes its land: the spelled of Monteleone is among the excellences of Italy. Thanks to the efforts of local producers, it was possible to request and obtain the DOP brand (Protected Designation of Origin).

 

Monteleone di Spoleto, photo by Claudia Ioan

Church of San Francesco

Crossing the town’s walls, it is possible to discover, through pleasant alleys, important historical and artistic treasures.  The Church of San Francesco, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, is one of them. The church is the most remarkable and suggestive monument in Monteleone, because it has been witness of the most significative historical periods of the town.
Originally, the church was dedicated to Saint Maria or better Madonna dell’Assunta, but it has been always commonly known with the name of the poor of Assisi, since the early Franciscans settled there around 1280. The Franciscan order in Monteleone always used the Church for their functions and in every official act, a seal bearing the image of the Assumption abducted in heaven with the initials S (Which stands for Sanctae) and M (which stands for Mariae). Various frescoes decorate the church walls with devotional images probably painted by artists of the the Fourtheen Century Umbrian School

Church of St. Nicholas

The church is located at the highest point of the historical center; It dates back to the early Middle Ages, in fact the first documents date from 1310. It has a single nave with ten chapels with its own altars. The ceiling is coffered and covered with a tempera painted canvas with floral motifs. Among the several works of considerable value, we mention the decollation of St. John the Baptist between St. Anthony from Padova, St. Isidore and La Maddalena, attributed to the painter Giuseppe Ghezzi and the Annunciation, probably a work by Agostino Masucci.

Church of Santa Caterina

In 1310 five Augustinian nuns, coming from the Monastery of St. Catherine in Norcia, asked for a small church and a house in the lower part of Monteleone in order to build a monastery there. Both the house and the church were outside the circle of walls, and they had been built in 1265. The nuns remained there for almost five years. Of the eighteenth-century church, only the perimeter walls remain.

 

Church of Santa Caterina, photo by Enrico Mezzasoma

Church of Santa Maria de Equo

The interior of the church is typical of rural churches: in the center of the church there is an eighteenth-century altar, adorned with a wooden statue of the Madonna with Child; on the sides, inside two niches, there are the wooden statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. Along the left wall is the venerable Gilberto or Liberto, a hermit who lived here for many years.

 


Bibliography: L’Umbria si racconta. Dizionario E-O, Foligno 1982 di Mario Tabarrini.

From a symbol of martyrdom to that of marriage: the curious story of the Torcolo di San Costanzo.

Studying the first centuries of Christian cult, it is easier to come across the so-called historical martyrologists, in which the names of the saints and the place of their death were reported. Later, to these lists was added the life – of the martyr or of the confessor – and a description of the death: the undoubtedly most famous document is the Geronimian Martyrology.

 

San Costanzo

The Antonines and the anti-imperials

In this ancient document, compiled in Rome in the fourth century, the name of San Costanzo appears, one of the three patrons saint of the city of Perugia together with San Lorenzo and Sant’Ercolano. Traditionally celebrated on January 29th and therefore called “the saint of the great cold”, to indicate the low temperatures of the period. The first Christians were persecuted for their anti-imperial attitude, responsible for a rather tense civil climate, in short, for political crimes. This is the case of Constantius, the first bishop and protector of Perugia.
The consul Lucio made him immerse in a cauldron of boiling water, from which the future saint came out practically unharmed; after being taken to prison, he managed to escape by converting the keepers. Arrested again, he was condemned to beheaded, a penalty that was imposed around 170 in Foligno, in a place known as Il Trivio. It seems that in this area – called the Campaign of Saint Costanzo, there was a church dedicated to him, demolished in 1527.
After martyrdom, Costanzo’s remains were moved to a place called Areola, outside Porta San Pietro in Perugia, and there they found burial. The church, named after him, was consecrated in that area in 1205. It is in that same building that the unmarried girls, every 29 January, asked the image of the saint about their possibilities to get engaged and to marry.
It seems that, for particular games of refraction, the Saint winks at girls destined for marriage, but only to those unmarried and virgins. For the others there was a consolation prize, necessarily donated by the engaged couple: the Torcolo di San Costanzo.

 

La luminaria, photo by Umbria24

Forms that speak

The shape of this bundt cake, enriched with tasty as rare ingredients, candied citron, raisins, pine nuts, aniseed seeds, recalls a wedding ring; but other interpretations state that it represents the crown of flowers affixed to the reconstituted body of Constantius: a necklace of precious stones untied during the decapitation. For some scholars, the shape of a donut would have only facilitated transport during fairs and markets: you could put several “torcoli” along simple poles. And perhaps, it is no coincidence that San Costanzo, in the official iconography, is represented with a stick. A further interpretation assimilates the hole to the cut neck of the saint, while the five incisions on the surface, which reveal the precious composition, recall the five entrance doors of the city of Perugia. Five are also the gifts donated, every year, by the civil authorities.
Symbols of concord, the laurel wreath from the Municipal Police, the candle from the Mayor, the incense from the Parish Pastoral Council, the “holy wine” and the “torcolo of San Costanzo” from the local artisans, are offered before the traditional illumination inside the Basilica. To follow the Great Fair takes place in Borgo XX Giugno and, of course, the tasting of the delicious torcolo.

 

The recipe (by Rita Boini)

Ingredients:

500 g of flour

125 g of sugar

100 g of  olive oil

75 g of candied cedar made into small pieces

125 g of raisins

50 g of pine nuts

12 g of aniseed seeds

30 g of brewer’s yeast

A pinch of salt

 

Preparation:

Pour the flour on the pastry board, place inside the yeast dissolved in a little ‘warm water, knead the whole flour with warm water in sufficient quantity to obtain a dough from the consistency of the bread and place it in a terrine capable. Cover with a clean cloth and keep it in a warm place away from drafts, at least until the dough volume is doubled. Pour it on the pastry board and add the other ingredients. Work well and give it the shape of a donut, which you will place in a greased pan. Let rise for two to three hours, then bake at 180 °and cook for 40-45 minutes.

 

The torcolo of San Costanzo was consummated in Perugia on 29 January, in the Patron Saint’s day, Sometimes it was prepared at home, but more often it was bought from bakers, as this is a typical baking cake. The girls from Perugia used to give one, as a gift, to their boyfriend on this occasion. The custom of the torcolo of San Costanzo is still felt in the city and, even now, that it is on the market all year round, on 29 January bakeries and pastry shops are filled with torcoli. Other similar cakes are the torcolo of San Biagio, in Pianello, where it is prepared on the saint Patron’day: 3rd February saint is prepared and the torcolo of St. Joseph, which is consumed in Montone. It differs from the first two only because of the lack of aniseed and due to the fact that it is not consumed for the feast of the patron saint.

 


Sources:

www.stradadeivinicantico.com

www.turismo.comune.perugia.it

www.santiebeati.it

  1. Trotta, Diary (gastronomic) of Umbria, Perugia, Aguaplano, 2011.

Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, 1764, in https://www.scribd.com/doc/98861647/Voltaire-Dictionary

Known by most as the town of the steel, as a working town, almost completely destroyed by the bombings, Terni still hides in itself a small treasure. The Universal Judgement, by Bartolomeo di Tommaso painter from Foligno and precursor to the Umbrian Renaissance, survived to the devastation of the Second World War. To jealously guard it, there are the walls of the Cappella Paradisi which opens at the end of the right nave of the Church of Saint Francis.

 

The cycle currently visible, is perhaps the most important pictorial witness of the Fifteenth century, yet its critical history began late. Indeed, the local historians could not speak about it until the Nineteenth century because the conventual monks, to whom the Church belonged, used that room as a warehouse for the convent’s wood and walled up the archway. The frescoes came to light again only in 1861, thanks to the work of the architect Benedetto Faustini.

A Controversial Attribution

Before the problem of the attribution, the critics faced the one of the controversial iconography. At first all the critics talked about illustration of the Divine Comedy. Actually, in 1872, Marino Guardabassi read in it «the deep concepts of Alighieri», and this reading seemed to be comforted by the attribution to Bartolomeo di Tommaso because the first printing production of the Dante’s Poem has been made in the town of Foligno.
In 1977 and 1978, Bruno Toscano and Pietro Adorno took care of the iconographic study, which having failed to find timely correspondence with the Dantesque Terzines, directed their research to another road which refers to the social and religious climate that the city lived in the mid-Fourteenth century and to the ties of the painter with the Franciscan Order and with Giacomo della Marca, travelling preacher. San Giacomo was certainly in Terni in 1444 and often preached in the Church of San Francesco against the vices he had observed. Terni, therefore lived under the spiritual guidance of this friar who one year later brought his oratory also to Foligno, profoundly influencing Bartolomeo di Tommaso.
It should be also considered that who commissioned the work in 1449 was Monaldo Parisi, a figure particularly linked to the Observance and the reform statutes that were wanted by San Giacomo.
Actually, the Last Judgement is a constant in the preaching of the friar, and one of the Sermones Dominicales, the De Judicio Extremo, seems to correspond step by step to the paintings of Bartolomeo di Tommaso, as if the painter had faithfully followed it by transforming the images into words. Thus Giacomo della Marca turns out to be the inspirational main source of the painter.

 

Universal Judgement

The decoration of the Paradisi Chapel lies in an imposing and terrible Universal Judgment. It begins in the entrance soffit with six quadrilobate frames framing the busts of the prophets who announced the return of Christ: Jeremiah, Daniel, Malachi, Isaiah, Jonah, and Abdia. Inside the Chapel, above the entrance arc, you will find two additional figures of semi lying prophets inserted in a woody and rocky landscape, the only naturalistic note of the fresco. The other walls are horizontally framed by a painted frame that divides them in half.
The action winds from left to right starting from the lower register where the space is divided into caves and a capital sin is assigned to each cave. Only five of those caves remain and in each of them there is an angel leaning forward his arms to the souls to lift them and point them upward.
In the upper register we find the figure of Christ with the red banner, darting figures are leaning towards the Christ.
Also in the central wall we find again the figure of the Son of God represented as Christ Judge in the Mandorla, sourrounded by the Baptist, by a Virgin with curiously oriental features, and three groups of angels and Patriarchs.
St. Peter opens the door of Paradise surrounded by the 12 apostles, Paul and Barnaba. Below the Archangel Michele, around him are the figures of the Chosen ones, among them a magistrate with the red cap is identified as Giovanni Paradisi, founder of the principals whose coat of arms is seen at the feet of the Archangel.
The wall on the right, however, is more damaged due to the fall of plaster. We can see the representation of the sinning souls falling to the hell pulled down by chains to the neck and violently struck by the angels that bring them into the spells. In the lower register a gigantic Satan stands framed by rings of fire. Some demons beside Satan give him the souls that he grasps and mauls. Fire springs are raining everywhere.

 


Bibliographic references: P. Mostarda in Arte e territorio. Interventi di restauro, Terni, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Terni e Narni, 2001

 

More on Terni

Attics always hide great secrets. Sometimes you just have to look up and go up to find hidden treasures. The church of San Domenico is well known, but what has been hidden in its attic?

The attics of San Domenico, photo by engineer Alessandro Polidori

The tour between the attics

Few have ventured up there, but today we bring you to those rooms, thanks to engineer Alessandro Polidori who, together with architect Giulio Ser-Giacomi, wants to valorize this important site of Perugia. A place that will allow you not only to walk through the story, but also to enjoy a breathtaking panorama.
«The attics of San Domenico are a very special place, full of historic elements, each one deserving careful observations and reflections – explains Engineer Polidori -. Every single stone has something to tell. Not only a beautiful panorama to be seen from the top of the bell tower, climbing and walking on the extrados sometimes makes you realize how majestic and magnificent the 14th Century church could be.»
The vaults that you can admire today were built in the mid-sixteenth Century by Architect Carlo Maderno  who reconstructed them after the collapse of the early Gothic times, recreating them precisely as we see them today, with the exception of the lateral chapels, added in the 18th Century, and of the apsidal part of the church that had not collapsed: the choir and the four side chapels.
«The attic of San Domenico hides the signs of these modifications – continues the engineer – By visiting them you can observe the ancient medieval pillars emerging from the present vaults, the extraordinary shape of the capitals and the openings that once granted natural light».

 

Courtyard of San Domenico, photo courtesy of engineer Polidori

The project of valorization

To make this visible to the public, there is a project under formulation, which involves the creation of three possible routes. «We start with the basilica tour, then we will go to the sacristy, after admiring the reconstructions of the 14th Century plant thanks to Ugo Tarchi’s watercolors and, thanks to the air spaces , we will climb up to the height of the attic – illustrates Polidori – Above the vaults, the paths unwind between the two aisles’ vaults, the nave vault, the chorus’s one, the apsidal chapels’ ones and sacristy’s, and then go upstairs to the fifth floor of the bell tower: a real panoramic terrace overlooking the Umbrian valleys and an unusual and beautiful view of the historic center of Perugia.»
The idea of ​​valorization and visibility of the attic and bell tower came from various ideas and saw the friars working together, in particular Fr. Mario Gallian, from the early 1990’s, with architect Giulio Ser- Giacomi and the Cultural Center San Tommaso D’Aquino; then architects Ser-Giacomi and Maria Carmela Frate, who dealt with the restoration after the 1997 earthquake, and finally the latest proposal, with engineer Alessandro Polidori helped by architect Ser-Giacomi. For more than twenty years now, San Domenico has been the subjected to valorization projects..
«Someone has proposed to create a museum path in the attics – concluded Polidori – to show the true basilica’s “heart” and allow visitors to reach the highest point of the bell tower to enjoy a 360-degree panorama of Perugia. To do this, further work is needed to make these sites safe and accessible to the public, so that visits can be carried out in total safety and be accessible to everyone.»

 

san Domenico

San Domenico basilica photo courtesy of engineer Polidori

Invisible place

For now, a visit is only allowed during special events, as will happen on Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm thanks to the Invisible Places 2017 initiative, which will give everyone the chance to admire palaces, towers, attics, places of worship and industrial archeology sites closed to the general public. Among them there are the attics of the imposing church of San Domenico, secret spaces born almost by chance from a 17th Century renovation; a place that preserve the traces of the original Gothic church.

 

More on Perugia

A Day for Custody of Creation; a journalistic information forum to find new ways to narrate Creation; a path, along the Francis’ Way, to follow the steps taken by the Saint during the long and stiff winter of 1206. 
A tripartite celebration, from September 1st to 3rd, which has primarily the aim to spread sustainable tourism, but also to protect the cultural heritage and the landscape beauty in which these monuments, like us, are plunged. The common denominator is the Saint of Assisi, Italy and Ecologists Patron Saint: who better than Francis, who had wandered in these lands abducted by their magnificence and perfection, could have been the symbol of a renewed attention to the environment? 

Eremo di San Piero in Vigneto

Eremo di San Piero in Vigneto

The Pilgrimage

At its ninth edition, the 50 kilometers pilgrimage from Assisi to Gubbio is an opportunity to enter in the atmosphere of this celebration. It is, in fact, the route made by Francis after his dispossession, the gesture of the radical rejection of the comforts he had been used to, a sort of prelude of a rather symbolic clothing, not only because the bag that he will be gifted will become the symbol of his Order, but also because nudity will allow him to wear the Eden’s splendor, the emblem of an harmonious world.
It is precisely on this assumption that the path begins, articulated not only on the places the Saint actually visited, but also on the unique value they have had for the elaboration of his doctrine, borrowed from the beauty, simple and essential, of Creation.
Starting from Assisi, the first stop is in Pieve of San Nicolò and then in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta; then you will arrive at Biscina Castle and at the Church of Caprignone, where the Saint proclaimed itself, in front of some bandits, «the Herald of the Great King». After being beaten, Francesco found a shelter at the Abbey of Vallingegno, another stage of the pilgrimage, that we reach after having been supplied with drinking water at San Piero in Vigneto, a Benedictine hermitage similar to a fortification. In Vallingegno, Francesco was welcomed reluctantly, and he was reduced to a simple scullery boy; he will come back several times, testifying its love for animals.  
Undoubtedly, however, the most famous episode concerns the wolf, the beast that Francis managed to tame near Santa Maria della Vittorina, the last but one stage of the pilgrimage before the goal. Gubbio stands indeed not too far, among the silvery olive trees, ready to welcome the hikers in the Church of St. Francis, whose unfinished façade reflects the statue of the saint with the wolf, a character of primary importance in the definition of the holy figure.
But if every church and every corner of Assisi shines out of the aura of Francis, it is in Gubbio that the most significant biographical turns have taken place. Here Francesco worn the habit for the first time, here he found his friend Giacomo Spadalonga, a mate during the imprisonment in Perugia after the defeat of Collestrada. And it is always in Gubbio that the Bishop granted Franciscans their first cenobia, at least according to the proto-biographer Tommaso da Celano. 

 

I pellegrini arrivano a Santa Maria della Vittorina (edizione 2016)

Pilgrims arrive at Santa Maria della Vittorina (edizion 2016)

The Forum

A similar path, though dedicated to communication experts, is also the novelty of the annual Catholic Information Forum for Custody of the Creation. Starting from the new – and emblematic – Sanctuary of the Dispossession in Assisi, the forum will first reach the village of Valfabbrica, where will be presented the new Horse Slow Way (Ippovia), whose main aim is to improve this part of the route along the Francis’ Way. Indeed, is  many women and men, perhaps accompanied by trusted friends on a leash, had embarked on this route both on foot and by bicycle, the part dedicated to the equestrian tourism was not sufficiently valued so that they often encountered slippery asphalted tracts and scattered points of refreshment. Hence the idea of ​​strengthening the Horse Way – according to an integrated project between the municipalities of Valfabbrica, project leader, Assisi, Gubbio and Nocera Umbra, supported by Umbria Region and Sviluppumbria – with farriers, assistance and food refreshment points for riders and horses: the path from Gubbio to Assisi will stand as a symbol of slow tourism, a perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the landscape around us.
The Forum, organized by the Greenaccord Onlus Association, will then route to Gubbio where, among artistic and spiritual hot points, they will discuss the responsibilities of the Press on news sharing after the post-emergence, in order to help affected areas’ rebirth. Within this articulated dialogue, those journalists who have distinguished in the spreading articles on issues will be awarded the honorary title of “Creation Sentinel”. 

 

Pilgrims on horseback

Pilgrims on horseback

The Word Day of Custody of Creation

Each of these paths will find its epilogue on September 3rd, with the solemn liturgical celebration for the Creation Day, broadcasted live on Rai Uno. Travelers in God’s Land – the theme chosen for this twelfth edition – is nothing but the summit of the two experiences previously described. It is the perfect title of a story of inner growth, which is based on respect for the surrounding world; is the perfect prelude to the World Tourism Day of September 27th, which is also geared to sustainable tourism, one hundred percent. 

 


 

The article is promoted by Sviluppumbria, the Regional Society of Economic Development of Umbria