Key to Umbria: Orvieto

Monastero di San Lodovico (1746)

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The original church here, which was documented in 1350, seems to have belonged to the Poor Clares of San Lorenzo delle Vigne, as did the church of Santa Chiara.  They took refuge here during the wars that ravaged Orvieto in the late 14th century.  In 1436, Bishop Francesco Monaldeschi moved them permanently to San Lodovico and Santa Chiara.

The church was rebuilt in 1746, at which point its orientation was changed so that its façade, which originally faced the cliff, now faced Piazza Ranieri.   This view from the car park in the Campo della Fiera shows the back of the new church and the nunnery to the right of it (i.e. to the left in the photograph above).

In 1834, the nunnery passed to the nuns of the Order of the Company of Mary Our Lady (which St Jeanne de Lestonnac founded in Bordeaux in 1607).  The nuns offer accommodation in the nunnery (Istituto San Lodovico).

The church closed for restoration in 2000 and re-opened in 2005.  Ring the bell at the entrance to the convent to ask the sisters to open the church.  You can also see their lovely cloister.


Crucifix (ca. 1300)

This small sculpted wooden Crucifix, which is to the left of the apse, is attributed to Lorenzo Maitani.

Christ in glory adored by innocents (1410)

This extraordinary altarpiece, which is dated by inscription and attributed to Andrea di Giovanni, is on the altar on the left.  The altarpiece, which might originally been a processional banner,  depicts the young Jesus and the lamb of God in a mandorla, with:
  1. saints to the sides;

  2. Christ the Redeemer above;

  3. the symbols of the Evangelists above and below; and

  4. two groups of young people looking up at the heavenly scene.

Madonna and Child with St Louis of Toulouse (1637)

This altarpiece, which is signed by Girolamo Nebbia and dated, is on the high altar.

Art from the Church

Crucifix (13th century)

A  wooden painted Crucifix that was transferred from San Lodovico to the Museo del Opera del Duomo probably belonged originally to the Poor Clares of San Lorenzo delle Vigne.   It depicts the dead Christ on the Cross, with the grieving Virgin and St John the Evangelist to the sides and Christ the Redeemer in a mandorla at the top.  The panel is attributed somewhat tentatively to the Spoletan artists Simeone and Machilone or their followers. 

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