Key to Umbria: Foligno

According to tradition, the Blessed Angelus of Foligno established the first church and Augustinian convent here.  He was originally a hermit in the community of Blessed John the Good, which joined the newly-formed Augustinian Order in 1254.  He lived at Foligno from 1248 to 1258 and may well have founded the convent during this time. 

In 1258, the friars received papal permission to receive from the public funds necessary for a new church.  The Blessed Angelus returned to spend his last years here and died here in 1312.  His relics are preserved [where ??].

The church was rebuilt in 1308, restructured in the period 1720-50 and reconsecrated in 1753.  It remained in the ownership of the Augustinians until 1810.


The facade of Sant’ Agostino was built in 1748-50.

A lovely Renaissance portal (late 15th or early 16th century) the right transept opens onto Piazza del Seminario, to the right of the church. 

The campanile, which you can see behind the transept in this photograph, survived the reconstruction of the rest of the church in1308.  It was built on foundations of a tower in the city walls of ca. 1240.


Madonna del Pianto (17th century)

This venerated statue, which was first recorded in 1647, is kept behind the altarpiece on the high altar, and is only visible during an annual commemoration, which still takes place each year on the Sunday nearest to the feast of the Madonna del Pianto (January 14th).   During the first mass on this day, the screen (with an image of the statue that was executed in ca. 1960, shown in this photograph) is lowered to reveal the statue itself.  The screen is replaced after the last mass of the day

This statue came from the nearby ancient church of San Leonardo, which was destroyed in the bombardment of 1943.  Its veneration became marked in 1703, when Foligno escaped the worst effects of an earthquake that happened on the feast day.  The statue was taken in procession for the first time some two weeks later.  The chapter of St Peter's, Rome paid for a crown of gold in 1713, and Archbishop Giovanni  Maria Mastai Ferretti of Spoleto (later Pope Pius IX) paid for the decoration of the niche in which the statue was kept in ca. 1830.

The statue represents the richly clothed Madonna and Child, seated on an elaborate gilded wooden throne.  The present throne is a modern copy of the original, which was destroyed in the bombardment.

Madonna della Cintura (1593)

This altarpiece on the 2nd altar on the left is signed by Felice Damiani and dated by inscription.  Another inscription indicates that it was commissioned by the Società di Santa Monica, an Augustinian confraternity otherwise known as the Confraternitas Cinturatorum.  It depicts the Madonna and Child seated on a cloud, with SS Augustine and Monica.  Angels hold the Madonna’s girdle (cintura) and members of the confraternity are depicted below.

Adoration of the shepherds (1610)

This altarpiece on the 3rd altar on the right is signed by Ventura Salimbeni and dated by inscription.

Crucifixion (early 17th century)

This altarpiece on the 4th altar on the right was badly damaged in the bombardment of the Second World War.  It was rediscovered by scholars in 1980 and attributed to Ventura Salimbeni

Charity of  St Thomas of Villanova (18th century)

This altarpiece on the 1st altar on the left is attributed to Domenico Valeri.  It depicts St Thomas of Villanova giving the Sacraments to a beggar.  He is assisted by two other Augustinian hermits: the Blessed Alonso de Orozco; and St John of St Facundas.

Cappella del Beato Tomasuccio

This chapel in the left transept is dedicated to the Blessed Tomasuccio

Vestiges of the original Gothic church, including some deteriorated frescoes, can be seen in the vaults and the upper part of the back wall.

The chapel contains the relics of Blessed Tomasuccio (to the tight) , who died on 15th September in an unknown year around 1400 at the Ospedale della SS Trinità and was almost certainly buried there.  The translation of the relics to Sant’ Agostino took place on 19th November of an unknown year, probably before 1444.  Their history in the church can be summarised as follows:

  1. The relics were presumably in the chapel dedicated to the Blessed Tomasuccio that was documented in a will of 1444. 

  2. Work on the reconstruction of this chapel in the left transept was nearing completion in 1452. 

  3. When Pope Sixtus IV venerated the relics during a visit to Foligno in 1475, they were on the high altar, presumably because the chapel mentioned above was in restoration.

  4. This restoration was completed in 1477, and the relics were presumably moved back there soon after.  They were certainly there in 1512, when the chapel was fitted with a grill, following an attempted robbery.

  5. They were translated to the Cappella del Crocifisso in the early 17th century.

Antonio Poggi rebuilt the original chapel  in 1661, and the relics were subsequently returned here.  The arms of Antonio Poggi appear in the chapel (under the entrance arch, in the stucco decoration and in the pavement) and on the gilded wooden reliquary in which the relics are now preserved.

The people of Nocera Umbra, the birth place of the Blessed Tomasuccio, seem to have regarded this chapel as the centre of his cult.  On November 18th 1744, during the War of Austrian Succession, Nocera came under heavy artillery attack from a Spanish army.  The Austrian forces billeted in the city were prevailed upon to surrender, and the city escaped relatively unscathed.  The citizens attributed its salvation to the Blessed Tomasuccio, on whose feast day the attack had ended.  They placed one of the Spanish cannonballs on this altar in Sant’ Agostino.  [Is it still here ?]  The Commune of Nocera wanted to rebuild the chapel at this point, but the Poggi family declined the offer.

Blessed Tomasuccio in Glory (ca. 1680)

The altarpiece on the altar in this chapel is attributed to Giovanni Domenico Mattei.

Scenes from the Life of the Blessed Tomasuccio (17th century)

These panels to the sides of the altar depict:
  1. the Blessed Tomasuccio foretelling of the imminent violent death of Trincia Trinci (illustrated here); and

  2. the Blessed Tomasuccio reviving a dead shoe maker from Lucca (not present in my last trip in 2016).


SS Felician and Emidius Protecting Foligno (ca. 1832)

This panel by Enrico Bartolomei depicts these saints protecting the city after the earthquake 1832.


The detour along the street to the left of the church takes you to the entrance to the ex-convent, with another view of the campanile.  The convent was suppressed in 1810 and housed the seminary (founded in 1649) from 1815.  It was destroyed in the bombardment of 1943 and rebuilt in 1948-50. 

The seminary owned the Biblioteca Ludovico Jacobilli from 1664, when Jacobilli died:  the collection, which is still available to the public, was kept in this building until June 2008, when it moved to Piazza San Giacomo (see Walk I).

Art from the Complex

Scenes from the Life of St Augustine (1678)

These 24 frescoes by Louis Dorigny in the cloister of Sant’ Agostino were lost during the bombardment of the Second World War.

Return to the page on Monuments of Foligno.

Return to Walk I.


Sant’ Agostino (1720-50) 

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