Key to Umbria: Città di Castello

Santa Maria di Belvedere (1668-84)

Umbria:  Home   Cities    History    Art    Hagiography    Contact 


Città di Castello:  Home    History    Art    Saints    Walks    Monuments    Museums

The sanctuary was built to house a venerated terracotta statue of the Virgin from Santa Maria di Caprano (13th century).  By the time of the apostolic visit of 1594 by Monsignor Fabio Tempestini, this ancient church had been abandoned.  Monsignor Tempestini ordered that the statue should be restored.

The cult attached to the statue was revived in 1665, when it was seen to work a miracle, attracting large numbers of pilgrims to the ancient church.  In response, Bishop Francesco Boccapaduli approved the construction of the present complex to house it.  It was designed by the local architects, Antonio Gabrielli and Nicolò Barbioni.

The statue was taken in procession to the Duomo in 1703 to receive a golden crown that had been sent by the Vatican.

The cupola was destroyed in the earthquake of 1789, and the complex suffered further trauma at the hands of French soldiers in 1798.  The sanctuary was restored shortly before 1997, when it was transferred to the Capuchins.  The interior was restored in 2003-7.



                                                     St Pius of Pietrelcina                                    St Veronica Giuliani

There are two interesting statues in the lovely grounds of the sanctuary.

  1. A figure of St Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio, died 1968, canonised 2002) looks up the steps towards the sanctuary, with a magnificent landscape behind him.

  2. A figure of St Veronica Giuliani was erected in front of the sanctuary in 1997 to mark the third centenary of her stigmatisation.  She had recorded in her diary a visit to the new sanctuary here in 1677, while it was still in construction. 



The venerated image of the Virgin mentioned above is displayed on the high altar.

Martyrdom of St Vincent (17th century)

This altarpiece on the right, in which St Vincent is identified by inscription, is attributed to Gian Ventura Borghesi.

Saints (17th century)


                                               St Floridus                         St Amantius                 St Donninus


                    St  Crescentian                  St Ventura                            Bl James                    Bl Margherita

The series of statues in the niches around the church includes depictions of:

  1. the two most important patron saints of the city to the sides of the presbytery:

  2. St Floridus, with an angel holding the arms of Città di Castello; and

  3. St Amantius; and

  4. a number of other saints venerated locally, including:

  5. St Donninus;

  6. St  Crescentian;

  7. St Ventura;

  8. the Blessed James, who leans on a twisted column that he has sculpted; and

  9. the Blessed Margherita, who adores the cross.

Read more:

A. Ascani, “Storia di un Monumento: Santa Maria di Belvedere”, (1971) Città di Castello

Return to Monuments of Città di Castello.

Return to Walks and Excursions from the Historical Centre.