Key to Umbria: Assisi

San Rufino: Facade

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San RufinoMain page       Earlier churches       Facade       Roman cistern 

                                       Cappella del SS Sacramento       Cappella della Madonna del Pianto

The Romanesque façade of the present church was probably completed in the early 13th century.  It was beautifully restored after the 1997 earthquake.

The facade is divided into vertically into three, and horizontally into three storeys with a row of blind arches between the first two storeys.  Its design seems to have been significantly modified during construction:

  1. The outer bays in the second storey were probably originally roughly triangular. (This is almost certainly why the outer rose windows in these bays are set low down).

  2. The tympanum in the third storey was probably originally lower, extending over only the central bay.

  3. The niche in the re-modelled tympanum was probably designed to take a mosaic, but this plan was never carried out. 

The symbols of the Evangelists surround the fine central rose window, which is supported by three extraordinary figures standing on unidentifiable animals.

All three portals are richly sculpted with geometric designs and figures of uncertain significance.

  1. Two lions, one eating a man and the other clutching a ram in its claws, guard the central portal.

  1. The red marble relief in its lunette depicts Christ enthroned beneath the moon and a star, with the Madonna del Latte to the left and a bishop, probably St Rufinus, to the right.

  1. The reliefs above the side portals depict:

  2. two leopards drinking from a vase, on the left; and

  1. two peacocks drinking from a similar vessel, on the right.

Read more

F. Cristoferi, “La Facciata”, in Santucci (Ed.), "La Cattedrale di San Rufino in Assisi", Assisi (1999)

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