Key to Umbria: Terni

Confraternita di San Nicandro

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This confraternity counted the richest men of Terni among its members and played a major part in the provision of social services in the city for centuries.  It was originally known as the Confraternita della Beata Maria Vergine:

  1. It was also known as the Confraternita di Santa Maria di Platea, because its oratory and hospice in Platea Columnarum (Piazza della Repubblica) were both dedicated to the Virgin.  This oratory may have been the religious building referred to as “ecclesia columnarum Santae Mariae” in a document of 1102. 

  2. The earliest surviving documentary reference to it dates to 1291, when Bishop Tommaso agreed that the should acquire the church of San Nicandro.    

Tristano di Joannuccio left money to the confraternity in his will in 1366 for a hospice "per i poverelli di Cristo" (for Christ’s poor).  This act is considered to mark the foundation of the hospital movement of Terni.  (The road that leads to the Ospedale Santa Maria a Colle Obito, the modern hospital founded on the outskirts of Terni in 1956, is named for Tristano di Joannuccio).

The confraternity participated in the establishment of the Monte di Pietà of Terni in 1467.

In 1739, Monsignor Martino Innico Caracciolo undertook the reform of the provision of social services in Terni (as he did in other cities of Umbria).  This initiative involved the closure of the other confraternities of Terni and the transfer of their goods and their charitable activities to Confraternita di San Nicandro. 

The Confraternita di San Nicandro continued to administer the hospital of Terni until 1860, when its charitable responsibilities passed to the newly-formed secular Congregazione di Carità di Terni.

Buildings in Piazza della Repubblica

The confraternity’s oratory and the hospice here occupied an “island” next to what is now Palazzo Comunale, separated from it by a narrow alley that was later known as the Vicolo del Moro (see Walk I).  The complex was rebuilt in 1440-60.

The Osteria del Moro was installed in the ground floor of the complex in 1588.   This inn, which was rebuilt and rebranded as the Albergo della Grande Europa in 1787, became popular with visitors on “the Grand Tour”, who were attracted to Terni by the spectacle of the Cascata della Marmore. 

The hospice was moved to the present site of the Politeama Lucioli in 1739 as part of the reform of the provision of social services in Terni under the auspices of Monsignor Martino Innico Caracciolo (see above).  It moved again to a site outside the city after a typhoid epidemic in 1816.

San Nicandro (13th century)

This church in Via San Nicandro (see Walk II), which was first documented in 1231, was probably dedicated in honour of St Nicander of Egypt, a physician who ministered to imprisoned Christians and was martyred in the reign of the Emperor Diocletian.  As noted above, the church passed to Confraternita della Beata Maria Vergine (which thus became known as the Confraternita di San Nicandro) in 1291.  The church was demolished in 1950.

San Cleto and the Ospedale dei Pellegrini

The church of San Cleto in or near Piazza Corona (see Walk II) was dedicated to Pope Anacletus I.   It belonged to a community of Lateran Canons and was used by the Confraternita di San Nicandro, which owned the adjacent Ospedale dei Pellegrini.

The San Cleto Triptych (ca. 1400), which was documented in this church in 1726, is now in the Pinacoteca Comunale.  It is usually attributed to the Maestro della Dormitio di Terni. Pope Anacletus I (ca. 79-91 AD) is depicted in it holding a cross, an allusion to the fact that he was credited with the formation of the Order of Crosiers: this order, like the Confraternita di San Nicandro, was dedicated to the care of the poor and of pilgrims.

(There is a painting (16th century) of St Anacletus founding the order in the Oratorio dei Crociferi (13th century) in Venice).

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