Key to Umbria: Città di Castello

St Ventura of Città di Castello (7th September)

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Detail: Martyrdom of St Ventura (17th century)

by Gian Ventura Borghesi

Chiesa del Seminario

St Ventura was a priest at San Bartolomeo at Centoia, near Valdipetrina in ca. 1250.  He was murdered by a mule driver with whom he had remonstrated after the latter had committed an act of vandalism.  His body was found under a heap of stones shortly after a dove had rung the church bells to alert the local farmers to the tragedy.  He was buried in the church, which became a centre of pilgrimage.


The cult was revived after Bishop Giuseppe Sebastiani formally recognised the relics in 1684.  They were transferred to a gilded wooden coffin donated by Filippo Bufalini and translated to the high altar of the Chiesa del Seminario, where they offered a good example of priesthood to the students. 

Bishop Giovanni Battista Lattanzi rebuilt the Chiesa del Seminario in 1752 and dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, and SS Floridus and Ventura.

In 1952, Bishop Filippo Maria Cipriani transferred the relics to a new coffin that remains in the church.  The front panel of this coffin, which can be detached to reveal the relics, carries an inscription that records their translation to the church in 1683.

This standing figure of St Ventura appears in a series of statues (17th century) of local saints in Santa Maria di Belvedere.  He is depicted with the axe with which he was murdered still embedded in his skull.