Key to Umbria: Spello

Braccio II Baglioni built this church and convent following the preaching of the Obervant Franciscan, Cherubino da Spoleto.  The complex passed to a community of ten Observant Franciscans two years later. 

The community was suppressed in 1798 and again in 1810.  The Commune ordered its re-opening in 1824 because of the presence in the church of a Crucifix (see below) that was particularly venerated.  The community was suppressed again in 1866, although the friars managed to delay their departure until 1886. 

In 1885, the Commune acquired the orchard here and it became the civic cemetery. 

In 1965, the convent was passed to the Piccoli Fratelli di Jesus Caritas, a religious order formed by the missionary and explorer, Charles de Foucault (died 1916).  He was a Trappist monk who lived as a hermit in North Africa and was assassinated in French Algeria in 1916.  [See also the Abbazia di Sassovivo, Foligno].  Brother Carlo Carretto, who moved to Spello in 1965 to establish the new community, died at San Girolamo in 1988: Piazza Carlo Carretto (see Walk I) is named for him.

Portico (1473)

This portico runs along the front of the church, at right angles to a loggia that runs along the side of the adjacent convent.  This loggia covers the entrances to two chapels (see below):

  1. the Cappella dell’ Annunciazione, in the middle of the long side; and

  2. the Cappella del Sepolcro, opposite the entrance to the church.


The following frescoes are under the portico along the facade of the church:

St Job (1502)

This fresco is by a follower of Pierantonio Mezzastris.

Frescoes (1498)

These frescoes, which are attributed to Pierantonio Mezzastris, depict:

  1. the Blessed James of the Marches holding a vial of the Holy Blood of Christ (dated 1498 in the inscription along the bottom that also identifies the Blessed James); and

  1. St Francis receiving the stigmata (on the right, above the arch that leads to the cemetery and the convent).

Frescoes (16th century)

These frescoes, which are attributed to Lorenzo Doni, depict:

  1. St Clare ;and

  2. St Frances renouncing his inheritance, in which the Bishop of Assisi covers the naked St Francis as he gives back all his possessions to his irate father.

Proclamation of the Portincula Indulgence (16th century)

This frescoes depicts St Francis (on the far left) and a number of bishops outside the Portiuncula (Santa Maria degli Angeli, outside Assisi) as one of the bishops announces that Pope Honorius III has granted the Portincula Indulgence.


The church, which has a single nave and an apse, was decorated in the Baroque style in the 18th century. 

Marriage of the Virgin (ca. 1500)

This fresco in the apse is attributed to Rocco Zoppo, a follower of Perugino (search for “Rocco Zoppo” in the Perugino page).  It is illustrated in the website of the Commune.

Virgin and St Anne (1677)

This altarpiece, which is attributed to Carlo Lamparelli and dated by inscription, is on the 1st altar on the left. 

  1. In the lower part of the composition, St Anne attends to the education of the young Virgin Mary, flanked by

  2. St Liborius (identified by the gallstones on a plate held by an angel: the relics of St Liborius were deemed to cure gallstones); and

  3. St Rose of Viterbo. 

  4. In the clouds above, above, a number of Franciscan friars adore the figures of the Trinity

Evangelists and Virtues (early 18th century)

These stucco figures on the high altar are by a follower of Agostino Silva.

Cappella dell’ Annunciazione

Annunciation (ca. 1500)

This fresco fragment, which is signed by Valerio de’ Muti, is the only survivor of a series that covered the walls of the chapel.  The figures of the Annunciation flank a frescoed niche that must originally have contained a statue (perhaps a Crucifix), with St Jerome on he left and another saint on the right. 

Cappella del Sepolcro

Adoration of the Magi (ca. 1500)

This fresco above the altar is variously attributed to Valerio de’ Muti or Rocco Zoppo, a follower of Perugino (search for his name in the Perugino page).

Art from the Church

Crucifix (15th century)

An inventory made of the works of art in San Girolamo after its suppression in 1798 described a miraculous crucifix on the high altar that was taken in procession in times of adversity.  There was a painted backdrop (presumably a panel) that depicted the grieving Virgin and SS Jerome; Francis; and John the Evangelist. 

  1. The inventory attributed the panel to “Onorio Nicolai di Foligno”: Giorgio Vasari had attributed it to Nicolò di Liberatore, l’ Alunno in the early edition of the “Lives of the Artists”.   This panel subsequently disappeared. 

  2. The crucifix, which was still on the high altar when it was attributed to Giovanni Tedesco in 1994, was unfortunately stolen in 2004.

Madonna and Child with saints (16th century)

This detached fresco is now in the Cappella del Crocifisso, Santa Maria Maggiore.  It depicts of the Madonna and Child with SS Jerome and Sebastian.  The artist was a follower of Tiberio d' Assisi.

Return to Monuments of Spello. 

Return to Walk II.

San Girolamo (1472-4)

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