Key to Umbria: Spoleto

Sant’ Alò (12th century ?)

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This tiny church, which was originally known as San Biagio (St Blaise), was originally subject to San Nicolò

This was the last home in Spoleto of a community of nuns that had had a long history in the city: the community was first documented in 1007 at San Paolo inter Vineas; moved to Sant' Agata in 1395; and to Sant' Ansano in 1855; before its suppression in 1868.  The nuns were able to regroup at St Alò in 1885. 

The community merged with that of Santa Lucia, Trevi in 1965 and the remaining nuns at Sant' Alò moved there in 1974 when the complex was sold. 

Through all of these moves, the nuns managed to hold on to a collection of relics and a precious icon that Pope Gregory IX had given them in 1234. 

  1. The relics are contained in painted reliquaries (ca. 1300);  and

  2. the icon is in a silver reliquary (18th century). 

These were moved to Trevi in 1974.  The Commune managed to acquire these reliquaries in 1982 and they are now in the Museo del Ducato di Spoleto (see below).

The complex has now been adapted for residential use.  A lovely terracotta relief (1885) of the Virgin wearing a crown survives above the portal of the ex-church.

Art from the Church

Martyrdom of St Blaise (12th or 13th century)

This relief was removed from the external left wall of San Nicolò in the 19th century.  It probably came originally from San Biagio (later Sant’ Alò), which belonged to San Nicolò.  It is now in Room 9 of the Museo del Ducato di Spoleto

Reliquaries (late 13th or early 14th century)

These two double-sided reliquaries (the double-sided Crucifix illustrated here and a reliquary made from the two panels below it) contain relics that Gregory IX also gave to the nuns of San Paolo inter Vineas in 1234.  The reliquaries were first documented in Sant’ Alò, and the painted images on them are the autograph works of the Maestro di Sant’ Alò.   The nuns took these precious objects to Trevi when they moved there in 1965, but the Commune managed to acquire them in 1982.  They are now Room 12 of the Museo del Ducato di Spoleto.

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