Key to Umbria: Cesi

Monuments near Cesi

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Eremità degli Arnolfi (1230)

According to tradition, this was the site of the hermitage in which St Volusianus welcomed St Proculus in the 4th century and St Francis obtained the use of an oratory on the site early in 1213 and is said to have found seclusion here on a number of occasions.

The Blessed Pietro dal Poggio is said to have built the first Franciscan convent here in 1230.  In 1291, Pope Nicholas IV granted indulgences to those visiting it. 

The hermitage was among the four specified by Pope Clement VI in 1350, at the behest of  Brother Gentile of Spoleto, “to observe inviolate ... the Rule [of St Francis] in that purity and primal simplicity in which he wrote it”.  However, Pope Innocent VI revoked this concession in 1355, when Gentile da Spoleto was accused of heresy and imprisoned.  The Blessed Paoluccio de' Trinci seems to have been here at that time, and he was now forced to return to Foligno.

Blessed Paoluccio de' Trinci established at San Bartolomeo di Brogliano in 1368, and it seems that a similar community was re-established at the Eremità at about this time.  Pope Gregory XI approved the way of life of eleven hermitages, including those at Brogliano and at the Eremità, in 1373.  The friars of this movement became known as "the brethren of the family of the observance" or the "Zoccolanti" (because they wore wooden clogs). 

The friars were forced to leave the convent in 1867 and it fell into decay.  Brother Bernardino Greco moved back here in 1991 and has organised the complete restoration of the complex. 

For more detail, go to this page in “Medioevo in Umbria”.

Sant’ Erasmo (12th century) 

This might have been the site of a church dedicated as San Salvatore: a document at the Abbazia di Monte Cassino records that “Albertus et Arnulfus germani” gave a church of this denomination that was “in monte super Cese, in loco .. Civitella” to Abbot Richerius in 1052.  

The present church originally formed part of a Benedictine monastery.  Its dedication to St Erasmus suggests that the site had previously been associated with the pagan cult of Castor and Pollux.

Pope Nicholas V gave the abbey in commendam to Angelo Geraldini of Amelia in ca. 1450.  His father, Matteo Geraldini commissioned Giovanni Fiorentino to paint a series of frescoes here in his honour.  (See the page on the Geraldini family).

Only the church survives: its portal and “inverted” rose window are original.

Temples of Monte Torre Maggiore (3rd century BC)

The remains of these two ancient temples survive on the summit of Monte Torre Maggiore.  They were built on what had been a cult site from the 6th century BC.  

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