Key to Umbria: Spello

Monuments of Spello

Umbria:  Home   Cities    History    Art    Hagiography    Contact 


Spello:  Home    History    Saints    Art    Walks    Monuments    Museums 

The images below  link to detailed pages on the most important monuments of Spello.

Return to the home page on Spello.

Important Monuments in Spello

The most important churches in Spello are the two collegiate churches: Santa Maria Maggiore and San Lorenzo.  The Franciscans, who were the only one of the new mendicant orders to settle in Spello in the 13th century, had two early foundations in or near the town:

  1. Sant’ Andrea, one of the earliest parish churches to be administered by the Franciscans; and

  2. Santa Maria di Vallegloria,  one of the earliest Franciscan nunneries in Italy.

Santa Maria Maggiore

(11th century, rebuilt in 1644)

1025 - church documented as a possession of Abbazia di San Silvestro (below)

1187 - Emperor Henry VI took it under his protection and installed a college of canons

1285 - church restored

1500-1 - priorate of Troilo Baglioni: he commissioned Pinturicchio to paint Cappella Bella

1513 - church re-consecrated after further renovation

1644 - church rebuilt: façade moved forward at expense of original portico

1783 - relic of St Felix translated to Altare di San Felice

1860 - community of canons suppressed


San Lorenzo (ca. 1120)

1120 - Emperor Henry IV lifted a siege of the town: church built soon after

1160 - Pope Alexander III installed a prior and six canons

1228 - Pope Gregory IX consecrated church

1239 - church damaged by soldiers of Emperor Frederick II

1281-5 - church rebuilt and extended; aisles added

1498 - Gentile Baglioni became Prior

1528 - Leone Baglioni became Prior

1534 -40 - roof vaulted and facade re-modeled after visit of Pope Paul III

Sant’ Andrea (1253)

1025 - first documented as a possession of San Silvestro (below)

1240 - passed to the diocese of Spoleto 

1253 - passed to Franciscans, who built present church and adjoining convent

1860 - Franciscan community suppressed

1982 - Franciscans bought back the 1st floor of the convent and began the restoration of the church


Other Monuments

Cappella Tega

(14th century)

Chapel of Confraternita dei Disciplinati di Sant’ Anna

1362 - confraternity first documented

1461 - date of frescoes, which are attributed to Nicolò di Liberatore, l' Alunno and Pietro di Giovanni Mazzaforte

1571 -confraternity suppressed: chapel later put to secular use

1911 -  frescoes rediscovered  by the owner, Pietro Tega

1970 - chapel restored


Chiesa Tonda


1373 - Commune confiscated this site from the rebel Vico di Chiatti and built a tabernacle here to house an image known as the Madonna del Vico

1514 - image reported to have performed miracles: Gian Paolo Baglioni commissioned the present church

1515 - Commune installed a community of Servites

1539 - Servites took possession of church

1652 - Servite community suppressed

Church closed; recently restored ex-convent now used for functions


Collegio Vitale Rosi (1869)

Site of Chiesa and Ospitale di San Giacomo (14th century) - see below

1821 - seminary moved here

1832 - destroyed in earthquake

1869 - rebuilt and re-opened as the Collegio Vitale Rosi

1959 - college closed; complex was adapted as a school

2007 - Biblioteca Comunale installed in ex Chiesa di San Giacomo


Domus di Sant’ Anna (early 4th century AD)

2005 - remains of part of a villa or public building discovered here; polychrome mosaics in two of its rooms have been excavated


Medieval Gates

(14th century)

ca. 1360 - medieval walls built to enclose new suburbs to the north

1534 - Pope Paul III largely destroyed these walls but its gates survive


Oratorio di San Biagio (14th century)

1430 - documented as seat of a confraternity that administered a hospice

1460 - last surviving documentary reference to the hospice

1979 - oratory, which now belongs to San Lorenzo (above), restored


Oratories and Hospices

This page describes the following oratories:

  1. Santa Croce;

  2. Santa Maria della Misericordia, illustrated above;

  3. Osteriaccia and San Giacomo;

  4. San Michele Arcangelo; and

  5. San Bernardino;

  6. dell’ Ospedale;

  7. Sant’ Antonio; and

  8. della Morte.


Palazzo Comunale Vecchio (1270)

1270 - Podestà, Giacomo del Mastro commissioned the this palace

1567-75 - extended and re-modelled

1972 - municipal government moved to nearby Palazzo Urbani (below)

1997 - restored after the earthquake; now houses: part of the Civic Archeological Collection; and the Emilio Greco Collection


Patrician Palaces

This page describes:

  1. Palazzo Diamantis(1589-1601);

  2. Palazzo Venanzi Preziosi (1602); and

  3. Palazzo Urbani (ca. 1605), which has housed the municipal government  since 1972 (illustrated above)



This page describes the remains of three fortresses in Spello:

  1. Cassero del Pianello (ca. 1239); and

  2. two fortresses commissioned by Cardinal Albornoz in ca. 1358:

  3. -Rocca Albornoz near San Severino, illustrated here; and

  4. -Rocca Baglioni in what is now Piazza della Repubblica, which Adriano Baglioni adapted as his palace in 1561-4 


Roman Aqueduct

(1st century AD?)

The long stretch of the Roman aqueduct survives from Collepino to Porta Montanara. 


Sant' Anna 

(early 13th century)

Belonged to Confraternita dei Disciplinati di Sant’ Anna

1362 - confraternity first documented

1571 -confraternity suppressed


San Claudio

(12th century ?)

1178 - first documented as possession of San Silvestro (below)

1236 - San Silvestro suppressed: San Claudio disappeared from recorded history until  ...

ca. 1389 - “French” fair  instituted here: San Claudio became a civic church

1997 - damaged in earthquake; subsequently restored

2001 - remains here of the Roman baths and a medieval cemetery excavated


San Girolamo 


1472 - Braccio II Baglioni built this church and convent for Observant Franciscans

1866 - Franciscan community suppressed

1885 - Commune acquired the orchard here for civic cemetery

1965 - convent passed to the Piccoli Fratelli di Jesus Caritas


Santa Maria Maddalena (ca. 1314)

1314 - community of Augustinian nuns first documented

1497 - commnity merged for short period with Santa Lucia, Bevagna

1810-5 - community  suppressed 

1816 - nuns of of San Giovanni Battista moved here

1860 - combined community suppressed

The nunnery is now again in the hands of a community of Augustinian nuns


Santa Maria della Consolazione di Prato

(13th century)

1291 - Cappella di San Lorenzo documented here as a possession of San Lorenzo (above)

1321-9 - restored

1365 - Confraternita dei Raccomandati di S. Maria di Prato, which used the chapel, first documented

1770 - interior restored

1808 - facade restored

1860 - confraternity suppressed: church passed to Commune

1997 - damaged in earthquake; subsequently restored

2009 - re-opened; now houses an exhibition of medieval musical instruments


San Severino


7th century - perhaps site of first parish church of Spello

1178 - documented as a possession of San Silvestro (below)

1180 - inscription records construction

1187 - placed under protection of the Emperor Henry VI

16th century - church fell into disuse; subsequently became private chapel of the Venanzi family

1622 - passed to Capuchins, who built the adjoining convent

1647 - re-consecrated

1866 - Capuchin community suppressed

1897 - friars able to return

1989-93 - church restored


San Silvestro

(ca. 1025)

1025 - first documented

1150 - Pope Eugenius III placed it under the jurisdiction of the Camaldolesian Order

1178 - Pope Alexander III took it into papal protection

1187 - Emperor Henry IV removed Santa Maria Maggiore and San Severino from its control

1240 - Pope Gregory IX suppressed the community; church passed to the diocese of Spoleto

1254 - monks returned, but their old power was lost

From 16th century - San Silvestro served as the parish church of Collepino

1534 - Pope Paul III destroyed the monastery

1972 - Piccole Sorelle di Maria built the Eremo della Transfigurazione here


Santa Maria di Vallegloria

This page describes the original nunnery and also its later site within the town walls:

  1. Santa Maria di Vallegloria Vecchia (ca. 1220)

  2. ca. 1220 - Balvina, a niece of St Clare, founded a community of Poor Clares on the site of an ancient female hermitage here that belonged to the nearby San Silvestro (below)

  3. 1236 - Pope Gregory IX suppressed San Silvestro and granted part of its patrimony to the Poor Clares;

  4. 1320 - nuns moved nearer to Spello: the original nunnery abandoned

  5. Santa Maria di Vallegloria (1320-38)

  6. 1338 - work on new nunnery completed with the construction of the campanile

  7. 1360 - wall of nunnery fortified and incorporated into the new town walls

  8. 1477 - nuns from Santa Maria di Monteluce, Perugia sent to reform the community

  9. 1560-87 - programme of restoration of the complex

  10. 1866 - nunnery suppressed, but Poor Clares were subsequently able to return


San Ventura

(12th century)

12th century - St Ventura Spellucci joined the monastic order of the Crociferi; built a church dedicated to Santa Croce, together with an adjoining convent and a hospice; St Ventura buried in Santa Croce; miracles reported at his tomb; relics preserved under high altar

1265 - Pope Clement IV referred to the church as  “San Ventura”, although St Ventura  was never formally canonised

15th century - soldiers damaged complex; hospice destroyed 

1625 - church restored

1656 - order of the Crociferi suppressed; church entrusted to the Franciscans of Sant’ Andrea (above)

1960 - façade rebuilt


Small Churches

This page describes:

  1. Santa Barbara (1571), illustrated above;

  2. Sant’ Ercolano (11th century);

  3. San Gregorio Magno (1573);

  4. San Martino (12th century);

  5. San Rufino (ca. 1178) and San Filippo (ca. 1610) above it;

  6. San Sisto (13th century); and

  7. San Venanzio (12th century)


Teatro Civico


1789 - a house here transformed into a theatre

1799 - theatre rebuilt after an earthquake

1880 - restored, but subsequently fell into disrepair and was abandoned

1995 - restored and re-opened as Teatro Subasio


Nunneries of Spello

This page describes:

  1. Monastero della Povera Vita (15th century);

  2. Santa Chiara (13th century);

  3. SS Giacomo e Margherita (1258-9), which stood near Torre di Santa Margherita (illustrated above); and

  4. San Giovanni Battista (13th century)


Roman Gates

(ca. 41 BC) 

This page describes  the following gates in the walls of the “Splendissima Colonia Julia” :

  1. Porta Consolare (illustrated here);

  2. Porta Urbica;

  3. Porta Venere;

  4. Porta dell' Arce; and

  5. Arco di Augusto


Santa Maria del Mausoleo (1595)

Built on the site of a Roman mausoleum near Spello to house a fresco (14th century) of the Madonna and Child that performed a miracle in 1592 


Villa Fidelia

In ca. 1600, the Urbani family built a suburban residence on site of an Umbrian/Roman sanctuary (below).  The property passed to the Principessa Teresa Pamphili Grillo  in 1736; to Gregorio Piermarini of Foligno (who re-modelled the villa) in ca. 1830; and to Decio Costanzi in 1923.  He commissioned Cesare Bazzani to restore the villa in 1923.  The main part of the property passed to the Provincia di Perugia in 1974, while the site of original Urbani residence passed to the Suore Missionarie d' Egitto.

Related pages reached from here relate to: 

  1. the Umbrian/Roman Sanctuary mentioned above;

  2. the small church of San Fedele; and

  3. two related inscriptions (ca. 335 AD) found here:

  4. the Rescript of Constantine; and

  5. the inscribed base of a statue Caius Matrinius Aurelius Antoninus.